So I won’t be a Commission official

The results of the concours for administrators are now out, and – surprise, surprise – I did not manage to pass. Here’s the extract of the letter:

The selection board for the above competition has now finished marking the pre-selection tests in which you participated. I regret to inform you that although the marks you obtained in these tests were above or equal to the pass mark, you were not amongst the top 630 candidates.

Point B.1 of the competition notice stipulates that only those candidates with the 630 highest marks in the pre-selection tests would be asked to submit a full application with a view to their possible admission to the competition.

Your marks are as follows (1):

Test a): 38.333 /60 (pass mark 30)
Test b): 15.263 /20 (pass mark 10)
Test c): 30.769 /40 (pass mark 20)

Total: 84.365/ 120

For your information, the candidates who obtained the 630 highest combined scores had at least 92.611 points.

I would add that the Selection Board’s decision does not preclude you from taking part in any future competitions organised by the European Personnel Selection Office.

It’s beyond me how one can get 15.263 / 20 when there were 40 questions, but anyway, c’est la vie. All the best to all the geeks who know who won the Sakharov prize in the year X or other equally useful everyday facts.

Blog commenter ‘viking’ has made some new test files available for download, and he had also supplied the manual for electronic Reserve Lists. Some additional test files have been provided by Sorina (see comment #1003) – download 342kb, ZIPped. Enjoy!

If anyone is a member of Facebook there’s the ‘So I won’t be a Commission official’ Facebook Group, and the EU Integration Traveler IQ challenge (you need to add the Traveler IQ Facebook application) – a more fun way to revise for the concours…

Due to such an enormous number of comments here I have had to divide the comments function. The latest few hundred comments are below, and all the older comments are archived here. All should work technically now.

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  1. Bill      

    @ EV

    Greek text was harder than French, and the French one was more difficult comparing the sample test in epso web

  2. EV      

    @ Bill

    sorry, I found few samples for translators in EPSO.

    Would anyone could suggest anymore sources of preparation for written test for translators, any samples anywhere, or anyone else could share their experience of translators’ tests and preparations? thank you

  3. Ben Hook      

    Hallo Niccolo. I guess a degree in accounting or finance or even economics would fit the situation. I believe you should not think of it anymore. Keep on rocking

  4. EV      

    @ Bill

    Thanks a lot for the info Bill. Could you specify where could I get the samples for the preparation as I surfed EPSO, could not locate your advised samples. Where the both, french and greek texts, similar in dificulty?

    thanks again

  5. Stefano      


    We had this discussion with a person from DG ADMIN who came to visit us. The contract is the same all over all the EU institutions.An exception is ECB and EIB which have their own contracts, all the rest is harmonized to the Staff Regulation of the EU Commission.
    The only difference is that some agencies apply the full set of rules (for example, DIGIT had a sort of overtime allowance which is not applied in any other place, the Counsil has something similar for IT, plus a sort of remote working emendament) some others have light changes.
    But in principle every body has the same rights about salary, sick insurance and pension plan. Renewal depence a lot from the place, usually if you are useful it is renewd, but in Ispra I know there are a lot of problems and Trade Unions are doing an hard work trying to understand what is the future of a lot of actual and potential colleagues (eg. CAs which applied for some posts).


    Take care and good luck.


  6. Salex1066      

    Alex, you probably won’t know everything about your salary until you start. Sometimes there are reasons that only the Commission knows why you get what you do. Further, most additional benefits cannot be given until you have proved your entitlement to them to the Admin teams, i.e. family allowance, child benefit, etc.

    Paolo, the deal is thus: 1st contract limited duration, 2nd contract limited duration, 3rd contract should be a permanent contract with pension rights, but don’t hold your breath. First renewals are due soon for 3a’s and everyone is waiting to see if they are renewed. I don’t know anyone as a CA that has been given a 5 year contract or a renewal as yet. ISPRA, OLAF and so on maybe allowed to offer different contracts of such length due to the specialised nature of the work, I am not 100% sure.

  7. paolo      

    Hello everyone,

    My question it’s probably very frequent within this Forum.

    I have passed the EPSO CAST 27 exam as Scientific Adviser and I will have an interview for a position of Contract Agent in Ispra.

    My question is the following. In case of being hired is there any possibility (in the future) to be stabilized with a permanent contract?

    In the web-page of the EU commission I found this:

    As a contract agent of this type (contract staff “3a”) you would enjoy longer-term employment prospects, with an initial contract running for a maximum period of five years and renewable for a maximum of five years. The contract can be converted into a contract of indefinite duration.

  8. alex      

    Hello to all,

    I ‘ve been placed in a reserve list for temporary agents. Does anyone know what are the following steps in case the decide to recruit me? For example, i know that at first the send a letter of intent to see if you are willing to accept the offer. What follows next ? At which stage do they tell you what your final net salary will be including all the allowances and deductions?
    Thank you in advance !!

  9. Poniboy      

    Hi everybody,

    I have been invited to the written tests for the OHIM/AST/02/07 and I have no idea about the kind of questions they could be… Anyone in this exam too?

    my e-mail: daniel_amoros (at) yahoo (dot) com

    Thanks in advance

  10. AD      

    @ EPSO is going to use all my patience…

    For me it was exclusively telephone.

  11. rc      

    I am invited for interview at RCA, project officer position (contract agent)

  12. damawand      


    Could you also please share type of employment – contract or temporary? thanks

  13. marina      

    Could you share with us for which post is your interview?
    thank you in advance.

  14. Elena      

    @ EPSO is going to use all my patience…

    They always contacted me per e-mail.

  15. EPSO is going to use all my patience...      


    What is the usual way to contact a candidate for an interview? Phone, e-mail, via notification in EPSO profile… ?

    Thank you in advance

  16. rc      


    Could anyone give me some advices for the interviews at Executive Agencies.. I am invited for the interview at Research Executive Agency..

    Thanks in advance

  17. obnoxious      

    Well, stefano, as I mentioned earlier I wouldn’t mind a job in a developing country, even an unstable country like Myanmar would be fine.
    I’m just not that interested in Central Africa and I thought that by taking this job, I would lose the opportunity to get a job in another delegation for at least three years…

  18. mat      

    I would be interested in Audit QCM of previous european competitions if possible
    Many thanks

  19. Netprince      

    thanks i hope so… :))

  20. Eduardo      

    @ ICT AD or AST reserve lists laureates,
    @ EPSO/AST/41/07 candidates,

    – Are there many ICT AD or AST reserve lists laureates, from previous general concours, still waiting to be recruited? How long have you been waiting for?

    – Does anyone of you knows (friends of insiders) if results of the written test for EPSO/AST/41/07 will be published in July as expected?


  21. RIS      

    I cannot say anything about the Comp part -I did not take the Operational Officer test, but could we compare the common part of the FG3 competition?

    EU test

    1. c
    2. c
    3. a
    4. d
    5. a
    6. c
    7. b
    8. a
    9. b
    10. b
    11. a
    12. c
    13. c
    14. c
    15. d
    16. c
    17. c
    18. d
    19. a
    20. a
    21. a
    22. d
    23. c
    24. d
    25. b


    26 b
    27 c
    28 c or a
    29 d
    30 b
    31 c
    32 a
    33 c
    34 b
    35 c
    36 a
    37 d
    38 b
    39 a
    40 a
    41 c
    42 c
    43 b
    44 d
    45 d

    46) c)
    47) a)
    48) d)
    49) a)
    50) c)
    51) d)
    52 c)
    53 a)
    54) d)
    55) b)


  22. Kiwi      

    @ Elena
    Thanks, that’s really helpful. I am married with 2 children and would get expat allowance, so I guess it’d all come to more than the basic salary.
    There are still a few more hoops to jump through yet though!


  23. gb      

    @ Stefano
    how is the recruitement process in Barcelona, do you know if they have already filled all seats for IT Assistants ? Thanks

  24. Stefano      


    For sure no one will notice if I fly in Business or Economy class, the problem is that in the Commission there are also people who doesn’t like to earn miles on the skin of the taxpayers, but which just flight for business.
    About salary in the UN and in the EU commission I got an offer from the UN for the equivalent of an IT Assistant: 48.952 Euro vs 58172 Euro in the Commission. Do you really think is better to go abroad with the UN in a war area (this offer was Timor Leste, Indonesia)?
    I don’t think so, to be honest, but it is my impression.

    Thanks anyway for your comments.


  25. AD      

    @ Stefan

    How does one prove that one’s family has come to Brusses to live with them?

    My real question comes down to this — if someone starts working in Brussels, and thus is entitled to the daily allowance (and the establishment alloawance, etc)., but doesn’t bring his family with him for a couple of months, does he get the family household allowance and the larger subsistence allowance, or the smaller until his family come?


  26. matt      

    @ AD

    Thanks for showing some interest!

    1. My medical examination was a month after the interview. On that same day I had to provide all the documents needed for the administrative file (diplomas, certificates, etc.)

    2. It is for TA (3 years contract – 2 x 1,5 year)

    3. I had OK from the Head of Unit. Then, DG ADMIN said that everything’s fine with my documents and we just wait the results from the medical. They even started explaining me how much will be my salary and how many days of holidays I will have and so on. But no one ever said – you are engaged. We always speak about “possible recruitment”. DG Admin said that if everything’s OK I should receive by email/post the official offer from the EC.
    That was more than a month ago!
    Is it possible to stop the recruitment process without alerting the candidate?

  27. RIS      

    Hallo to all Relex candidates,

    Do you happen to have experience from previous Relex competitions?

    How do they compare with the other (“non-relex”) competitions?

    – It looks they are paper exams; the usual Cast competitions are computerized mcq,
    – Relex does not allow calculators for the numerical reasoning. Are we allowed to do the calculations on the provided paper? Are the mathematical problems adjusted for a mental calculus (easier than in the classical CAST)?
    – Does the EU knowledge test concern more the Foreign Policy aspects of the EU?

    After the exam you can take your Relex tests home with you, I believe. Does somebody know where could I find some examples from the CAST 27 Relex exam?

    Many thanks and good luck!

  28. Sophie      

    Hi Im sitting the CA test (Good Governance) in July and was wondering if anyone has access to an electronic copy of the – 250 mcq on europe and european policies – I bought a 2007 edition copy but this has been stolen from me at the office and now I see that it is sold out in the bookshops and the 2008 edition will only be available at the end of June. My email address is ssakalis {at} yahoo(.)com – many thanks

  29. matt      

    Hi guys,
    I’m sorry for the weird question but does anyone has an experience in the recruitment process and could tell me how much time it takes after the medical examination to receive your results/contract. I was invited to have a medical examination on 20th of May + submitting all documents needed for my administrative file. Since then, I haven’t heard anything from them. Does this mean that there is a problem with my file? Any ideas?
    Thanks in advance!

  30. ProEU      

    i hope governments will understand EU needs a huge communication budget and the right to talk directly (above government’s head) to all european citizen.

    Together logo with bob sinclar song would do no harm if it could be heard everywhere this summer :-)

  31. ProEU      

    by halving the pay, you’ll have less of whatever you’ve got by seleting with concours (which was not my point) versus more idealistic people.

  32. frustrated      


    Fair enough… enjoy the rush of victory. I do believe comps for translators are staged with an actual and straightfroward need in mind and luckily you guys are less easily interchangable…. so it should be a more realistic ambition for you guys to get in.

  33. Daniel      

    @ frustrated

    I am happy today that I passed these tests and I feel really proud of myself. I would like to think that one day they will call me for an interview.

    Having said that I must admit that after months reading your posts it has helped me to put things in perspective and be prepared for being in a list and never being called (=i dont know anyone inside, i have the wrong passport etc etc)

    I have a job now which is alright so I can wait. If it has to happen it will happen. 😉

  34. frustrated      

    Hope dies last… I see throngs of fresh and hopeful recruits have joined the ranks of our army of desperation.

  35. Margarita      

    To the Translators who passed :)

    Congrats to all! I got above 60 for the EU and numerical and verbal but I have HORRIBLY low marks on the competency test. Have no idea why :) I might have “forgotten” my mother tongue… I got 29.5% on that one :) So Nooo I won’t be a Commission Official but I’m very happy about it lol

  36. Margarita      

    Guys… CAST 27 strikes again:

    “We apologise for the additional delay in communicating the results of these remaining profiles. Further information regarding the results will be announced via our Latest News by the end of June 2008.”

    It was end March, then end April, then end May, no end June. It sounds like one of those songs I loved when I was a kid… Aaaaapriiil, Maaaay, Juuune, Julyyy, naaaa-na-naaaa :)

  37. Daniel      

    in any case and whatever happens in the future i am going to have a couple of drinks tonight to celebrate that I passed!! and so should you too 😉

  38. Ana      

    That’s great, Daniel! Congratulations to you too!

    Well, I think that our names and CVs are going to be published in a database that is open to all EU institutions. However, I don’t think that there is a ranking of any sort but I’m not completely sure.

    I guess that now comes the hardest part: canvassing…


  39. Daniel      

    Congratulations Ana, I also passed for translator!! :) I am so happy…

    I was wondering…Whats next for us? Is there going to be a list or a ranking or something or do the names get published somewhere?

  40. Elena      

    Dear Ana,

    Congratulations! This time my profile is scientifical adviser, so I have to be patient :-(


  41. Ana      

    Dear all,

    I have just read that I passed all the tests for the Cast 27 (group IV Translator)!!

    Margarita, Elena, did you check your results yet? Good luck to you !


  42. amix      

    Dear all,

    Does anyone know if pro-bono work (work done within a voluntary NGOs which is not paid) is calculated as part of the experience needed to be eligible for the competition?

    Also, I’ve heard a lot of different views that your masters count as well… is it true or just fallacy?

    Thanks a lot and keep up this blog!

  43. albertcossery      

    @ Dana and 2 Nova

    Sorry also for late answer, I was bussy with Leffe concerns after my 40 years old party.

    I’m sorry that Commission press you to runaway your two others jobs but at least you have an activity. I am sure that will go on soon.

    Life is not so easy but always worst for others.
    Sorry for my demagoguery and stupidity using “young father sentences”.

    I hope for you – both – that new calls arrive soon, FG IV or FG II temporary agents are necessary recurrently.


  44. albertcossery      

    @ Kostas

    Sorry for late answer.
    I wonder you’ll enjoy Bilbao, one of the better and modern cities to live in Spain.
    Agency is close to marvellous “Pintxos bar” just in the center.

    Subway at 200 meters.

    Very good ambiance. Beach and surf. Sea temperature colder than Igoumelnitsa men … ;-).

    On my own ………. still waiting ….. Epso, epso, epso…

  45. Dana      

    Dear Paolo,

    This Ombudsman was never on the side of candidates. In my opinion, this Ombudsman is a shame, as EPSO is in fact. I was hoping that this Ombudsman will try harder at the end of his mandate due to the fact that MEPs will become more agressive as the date of the EP Elections becomes closer.
    I am very sorry to say this , but do not waste your time with complaints to Ombudsman. Better try to convince a journalist to write a story or think at something else.
    I have passed the CAST 27, FG IV, on a different profile than yours and from my experience the organizers of this CAST were more honest than the organizers of another competition on the same profile for EU officials , not contractual agents. For example, in CAST 27, there was no chance for certain candidates to pass the tests in their native language (if their native language was EN, FR or DE) as happened for the competition on the same profile, for civil servants. I was very surprised to see that EPSO is more correct in the competitions for contractual agents than it is in the competitions for officials (civil servants). Then I have found that very much in this competition process depends on the Heads of Unit. It seems that for all CASt -contractual agents competitions , the Head of Unit is Alan Piotrovska and for AST and AD (but not management positions) the organiser Head of Unit is Theo Duivenvoorde. I think that you have more chances for an honest correction and organisation of the tests with Piotrovska than you have with Duivenvoorde. I hope that I am right.
    Good luck!

  46. Nat      


    Making a complaint to the Ombudsman may just end up delaying the whole process even further and maybe even resulting in its cancellation. The CAST process is not longer than a normal competition, so I doubt there will be grounds for such a complaint. Better to be patient. But that’s just my personal advice.


  47. Isabel      

    Hi everyone!

    The concours for the Greek and Spanish Lawyer-linguists have just been published, and I have one question: since the applicants have to choose between the Court of Justice and the Parliament/Commission/Council channels for the concours, is it possible to enter as a lawyer-linguist in the Court of Justice and afterwards move to the Commission, or would it be necessary to take part in another concours?Does anyone know?? I really need to know, since to do my online application I need to know where to apply first.

    One more thing, does anyone have the materials Rosa had from a previous lawyer-linguist exam??

    Thanks!! 😉

  48. mariniko      

    Dear friends,

    Congratulations for this page.

    I have passed the CAST27 exams in FGIII in the building project officer domain.
    I was invited for an interview last month in OIB (Office for infrastructure in Brussels) but I did not pass. One reason is my excessive stress which made all things go the worst they could go.

    What I would like to ask is if someone fails in an interview what happens with the attitude of the other institutions. Do they invite you without taking into notice your previous failure or are they influenced?

    Does anyone know to tell me? Is there another person who passed in the Building Office Domain and invited for an interview?