E-tray exercises

An E-tray exercise is a simulation used in EPSO competitions to assess candidates’ skills in organizing and prioritizing work, as well as their ability to process information and make decisions in an office-like setting. This test is particularly relevant for roles that involve administrative and case-handling tasks within EU institutions. This particularly applies to Assistants in grades AST 1 to AST 4, Secretaries and Clerks in grades AST/SC 1-6, as well as Contract Agents in grades FG I and FG II.

During an E-tray exercise, candidates are asked to assume the role of a staff member at an EU institution and are presented with a virtual email inbox filled with a variety of tasks such as responding to inquiries, drafting documents, or managing assignments. These tasks must be completed in a specified order of priority while adhering to the background information and guidelines provided. The candidate’s responses are evaluated based on their ability to demonstrate key competencies such as analytical thinking, communication, prioritization, and problem-solving.

To prepare for an E-tray exercise, candidates can adopt the following approaches:

  1. Understand the Format: Familiarize yourself with the structure of E-tray exercises by reviewing guidelines and sample tests provided by EPSO or other relevant sources.
  2. Practice with Simulations: Engage in practice exercises that mimic the E-tray format to gain comfort with the interface and types of tasks you will encounter.
  3. Improve Time Management: As the E-tray exercise is timed, practice completing tasks swiftly and accurately, ensuring that you can manage all items in the inbox within the allotted time.
  4. Develop Prioritization Skills: Learn to quickly identify the most urgent and important tasks, as this will be crucial for success in the exercise.
  5. Enhance Decision-Making Abilities: Work on making sound decisions by analyzing the information provided and considering the implications of different courses of action.
  6. Study EU Policies and Procedures: While the E-tray exercise may not require in-depth EU knowledge, understanding basic EU policies and procedures can be beneficial.

Most successful candidates report that they either practice every day for 1-3 hours for 2-3 weeks in advance of a test, or undergo a paid training programme.

View an EPSO sample psychometric test.





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