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Guelling test day

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Saturday, July 19th, 2008 | 01:22 am

Woke up at 8:30 after sleeping seven hours. After snoozing for another half hour, I jumped into the shower, had some yogurt and muesli, got dressed, left a note for the boyfriend saying I already left and didn't want to wake him and took the train to Amsterdam. I went through the '250 MCQ on Europe and European policies, 2008-2009' book again. Felt bad about myself because it was only the second time I was going through the book, whilst I should have studied more for the EPSO RELEX 2008 test. Three days ago, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to sit for this exam in the first place. I hope the last minute cramming helped, at least it used to help when I was doing my IB and all my university exams.

Reached home around noon, quickly dropped off my stuff and went to the test center, which was held at the NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, probably one of the most expensive hotels in Amsterdam. Erik cynically said that he couldn't believe the European Commission would rent out the Grand Ballroom of this expensive hotel whilst they couldn't even provide for the test instruction sheets, instead asking the candidates to print it themselves. I guessed it's due to environmental reasons. And when I saw that only half of the people confirmed to attend the test showed up, I thought this was exactly the reason why the Commission asked us to print the instructions.

Three of my ex-colleagues were there to take the test as well. Caught up with them before, in between, and after the test. Two of them were trying for the Political Matters Adviser position, whilst the third colleague and I were in competition for the Operations Adviser - Good Governance and Security position. Because there were more positions available for good governance, I chose to sit the exam for that (around 60 posts for good governance, only 15 for political matters), although political matters sounds more interesting and probably matches my work experience and studies better.

The tests were gruelling. The EU test was alright, did answer most of them correctly, I think. I wasn't too sure on question 18, so I guessed answer C:
"Once the Lisbon Treaty enters into force, which of these statements will be true?"
A. The use of co-decision procedure and qualified majority voting and the role of national parliaments will increase
B. The use of co-decision procedure will decrease; the role of national parliaments and the use of qualified majority voting will increase
C. The use of co-decision procedure and the role of national parliaments will increase; the use of qualified majority voting will decrease
D. The use of co-decision procedure and qualified majority voting and the role of national parliaments will remain the same

For someone with interest in the EU enlargement, I found it very embarrassing that I wasn't too sure on the question when the EU enlarged to include 10 new member states (thankfully I did tick the right answer in the end, 2004 and not 2005).

Time went by so fast on the verbal and numerical test. Kept saying to myself that I had to hurry up, because 50 minutes for 20 verbal questions and 10 numerical is not that much. At home, I did more than ok on the numerical part, 80% right. I'll be lucky if I passed this part of the test with 60%.

I didn't prepare for the specific competency test. I didn't know what to read or go through for this test. In the end, I found out I should have read upon things like the EU's development policies, its programmes with partner countries, the Cotonou Agreement, the Ouagadougou Action Plan and learn the MDGs by heart. Was not too sure on which part of the world had the highest percentage of people living on less than one dollar per day in 2001. Is that Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, or South-East Asia? My instincts told me it was Sub-Saharan Africa. What do you think? I'm hoping I just about got 55% correct on this part of the test, which is the minimum requirement to go to the next round.

After the test, I went for drinks and dinner with my ex-colleagues, discussed the test, talked about our careers, what we wanted from our next job, gossiped about the people we've worked with (two female colleagues screaming at each other in the corridor, calling each other bitches and whatnot whilst the male colleagues ran away from the scene...) whether we would be prepared to go to Chad, Bangladesh or Benin if we were to be successful at this EPSO competition.

Enough talk about the test. I'm looking forward to a good eight hours of sleep.

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