If you are sitting a competition for interpreters, translators or proof readers, the answer will be clearly stated in the Notice of Competition. For all other open competitions (AD and AST) run by EPSO, you must sit the tests in two languages:
- language 1 for verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and abstract reasoning;
- language 2 for all other tests, including both access tests and assessment centre tests.
In other words, you must sit the majority of the tests in language 2. This language has historically been French, English or German. However, in 2017, the rules for the AD5 competition changed. The number of possible languages 2 has increased from 3 to 5. These languages are defined on 2 criteria: the languages that candidates have declared they know best in their application form and the needs of the services. The 5 languages that were kept then were English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
Language 1 must be one of the 24 official languages of the European Union (EU). It must be different from language 2. So, if you choose French as language 2, you cannot choose it as language 1. The Notices of Competitions specify that candidates must have a thorough knowledge of language 1 and a satisfactory knowledge of language 2. In general, candidates choose their mother tongue (providing it is one of the EU official languages) as language 1, but this is not obligatory. A French-speaking candidate may, for example, choose French as language 2 (as long as it is one of possible language 2) and English as language 1. In competition tests, language 1 is used mainly for understanding texts (verbal reasoning and numerical reasoning). However, it is important to remember that, at your structured interview, the jury may ask you questions in language 1 to check your mastery of the language. Language 2 is the language that must enable candidates to communicate efficiently within the European institutions, both in writing and orally. In the competition, it is used in the majority of the tests, particularly in the situational judgement test (ability to understand a text), the case study (ability to draft information) and may also be used in the structured interview (ability to listen and to speak). If you have difficulty communicating in language 1 or in language 2, you would be well advised to take classes, join a conversation club or take a language study trip abroad. For each competition, you choose your languages at the time of registration. Once your registration has been validated you can no longer change the languages chosen. Generally speaking, it is preferable to prepare for the tests in the languages you have chosen. However, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to find tests in Latvian, Croatian or even German. In this case, you will have to settle for the tests in French and English. The competition tests are not designed to test your linguistic knowledge but your ability to reason and your workplace competencies. The methodology remains the same, irrespective of the language. ORSEU Competitions provides you with the support you need to prepare for the tests through its books, online tests and courses, available in both French and English.