Who is this?I must admit that I have been astounded by the amount of people that have found this blog thanks to searches for matters relating to the European Commission concours. My original post about the issue has – by 25th September – amassed no fewer than 47 comments! It seems that there is quite a market for Concours related advice… But as I am a kind soul, I’ll do what I can to help provide assistance here for free.

So, what do you do if you want to pass? Firstly, have a look at the discussion in original post – there are plenty of tips. EU trivial pursuit might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it might help. You can also try naming the person pictured here, and say what his roles and powers are – you are going to need to know things like this!

Secondly, be prepared to spend many hours with your books learning, and do this as long in advance as you can. The main books are the Ultimate EU Test Book [Amazon], 250 MCQ on Europe and European Policy [Libeurop] and Verbal and numerical reasoning mcq for the european institutions’ competitions [Libeurop]. There’s also Qcm institutions de l’union européenne [Libeurop] but I haven’t tried that one.

Thirdly, if you have the money, go on a course – have a look at these from CEES in Strasbourg.

Fourth, work very, very hard. Never question what you are doing, or the merit of knowing who won the Sakharov prize in whatever year or the percentage of CAP funds that go to sugar farmers. Just learn. Ask no questions. You are – after all – going to become a fonctionnaire if you manage to pass the exams, and we wouldn’t want them to think too much, would we.

If you’re happy with all of that, feel free to add your comments and questions here!


  1. Hello Jon,

    Thank you for this article! Only that the CEES courses does not work. Are these courses still offered?

    Best wishes,


  2. eumania

    you find lot of answered questions about cast relex on http://epsoforum.com

  3. @etni

    Hi etni, I want to ask you something about cast relex. Please have a look where the epso forum was moved:


    I will put my question there very soon.


  4. @etni

    Hi etni, I want to ask you something about cast relex. Please have a look where the epso forum was moved:

    I will put my question there very soon.


  5. Hi Jon,

    Hopefully all pages & comments can be recovered! However, as the link has changed, a link from the old page to this one would be very useful.


  6. Hi Jon!

    This new version of epso support forum is not working properly.
    And it was such a useful tool of communication.

    Please do something!


  7. Hi Jon!

    What happened to all the comments?

    I am completely lost, can’t find anything I used to see…


  8. Phlegmy


    sounds like joining a sect.

    verbal/quant tests are the same as in any other selection or IQ test
    you should have specialist knowledge to begin with
    reading newspapers/weeklies/books hardly qualifies as “work”, you should do it out of sheer interest

    what remains: some trivia that can be mastered by memorising two boring documents: jos depondt and that ultimate eu test book… covers about 80% of the EU trivia round

    any-one putting in more than a couple of days’ work should seriously question his/her general aptitude


  9. There’s now a ‘notify me by e-mail’ function here if you want to follow comments posted about the Concours!

  10. suzana

    That’s what lobbying is for darling;-)

  11. As a winner of competition, I would suggest reading these guides by the UK Cabinet Office:
    (I’ve found **very** useful, in particular, the guide to the interview).
    But, in the event of passing even the last step, be prepared to wait a lot before to be contacted, or even to send hundreds of presentation letter to the units in order to get an interview. And hope to be contacted before expiration of the reserve list, as there is no guarantee to get a post. These day, further, they seem to give absolute priority to recruit from new member states.

  12. suzana

    Yes, indeed, there should be an EU version;-)
    I like sebastian’s suggestion for pink questions:-)

    But I think someone might have already done the EU version. We just have to find it. I have seen similar game on a CD, prepared by a spanish regional organisation. Hope there is something online.

    Do you guys know a good place for EU-related memory tricks?

  13. sebastian

    suzana, the whole thing is a bit like trivial pursuit, i.e. to memorize as many possible trivial details.
    But thinking about your post and Jon’s reply, one should really make an EU-Version. Pink questions will def. be for the different awards, old Commissioners etc.

  14. suzana

    How do I get EU trivial pursuit??
    Is it an online game or do you download it, buy it,… what?

  15. Ah, no, you just take the normal trivial pursuit game and replace the questions with ones from one of the multiple-choice books. So yellow wedges can be Commission questions, blue wedges are Parliment questions, green wedges are policy questions etc.

    Maybe I should design some cards for download! 🙂

  16. Marcela

    Dear Jon,

    I read your blog and many with the same subject: EU_ competitions because I have been preparing for a few years, waiting for the “right” competition: administrator, main language: Romanian.
    It is a very hard work preparing for the exams and it’s like a work, you know the saying “looking for a job , it’a a real job”.
    The first thing you must do: never give up studying and hoping that one day you’ll be an EU STAFF, even if your results in the first exams are not those which you expected.
    You must go on to the next competition and understand where you are not so good ( verbal, numerical MCQ) and practise more in these fileds.

    You wrote in your blog about a few books which are very useful.

    You must consider that this exam is only one part of your life and studying for it must become your most important hobby.

    Sometimes you’ll feel exhausted, take a stop but never give up studying.
    Many of my Italian collegues gave up the idea of becoming an EU staff after one or two EU exams and I think that one of the aims of these difficult and long EU exams is testing even your perseverance and ambition.
    Great blog!
    Marcela, Italy

  17. sebastian

    Haha! Great post! Love it.

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