The E-tray test: a question of organisation


The e-tray exercise is part of the general aptitude test in the Luxembourg public examination competition. It accounts for 30% of the overall score across all tests.

What is this test about?

The EPSO e-tray test consists of an email inbox containing a number of emails. The candidate must use these to answer a series of multiple-choice questions. For each question, he has to rank three options ranging them from ‘Totally disagree (- -)’, ‘Disagree (-)’, ‘Neutral (-/+)’, ‘Agree (+)’ or ‘Totally agree (++)’.

This test focuses on competencies which depend on the job tier:

For A1 & A2 tiers, the assessed competencies are:

  • Analysing,
  • Problem solving,
  • Cooperating,
  • Decision making,
  • Service-oriented attitude.

For B1, C1, D1, D2 & D3 tiers, the assessed competencies are:

  • Organising and structuring work,
  • Integrating information.

Please visit this page to learn more about the competency framework used in the Luxembourg public administration.

First challenge: the scattered information

To answer a question, the candidate has to gather and analyse information sourced from a number of emails. However, the inbox contains many emails randomly ordered. The candidate has to be able to quickly identify the relevant emails and extract the key information from them. So an organised mind is essential.

Second challenge: the ranking of options

The candidate may hesitate between two similar values, for example between ‘Totally disagree’ and ‘Disagree’. Analysing the competencies is not necessarily enough to make the correct choice. Therefore, combining a few criteria and demonstrating a fine level of discrimination is required.

Third challenge: timing

The candidate 60 minutes (for A1 & A2 tiers) and 30 minutes (for B1, C1, D1, D2 & D3 tiers). This is the time they have to read the emails and rank the options. It is very short. Each minute counts. There is no time to lose in getting buried in information or wondering what the test is about.

The e-tray is a technical exercise. It is impossible to be successful unless you acquire a good methodology. ORSEU explains this in its book  E-tray. It includes a detailed methodology illustrated with an example, a comprehensive e-tray exercise with detailed correction.

The book was originally created for the test present in the European competitions. The format and the constraints of the test are similar in the test present in the Luxembourg public examination competition. In addition to the book, you also become familiar with the e-tray test with our online course.