Are you a candidate in an EU-competition facing a proofreading tests? Or a finalisation of a text? Some useful ideas on how to prepare them

Dear all,

We know that among our readers there are candidates of the competition of proofreaders/language editorsGreek, Spanish, Estonian, Gaelic, Italian, Portuguese (EPSO/AST/148/21) and Linguistic Assistants EstonianCroatian(HR)ItalianDutch(NL)PolishPortuguese (EPSO/AST/152/22) EPSO/AST/152/22. Some of you even asked for some help to prepare the specific tests that you will have to face in these competitions. Let’s bring our expertise and share with you some tips and trick to prepare this.

Proofreaders/language editors – Greek, Spanish, Estonian, Gaelic, Italian, Portuguese (EPSO/AST/148/21)

After the summer break, the Assessment Centre will be rolling full steam, but be careful!!! You will face 2 different computer-based tests, one of them being the usual CBT (verbal, numerical, abstract reasoning), and the other one a Proofreading and correcting test. As there are two tests, there are two booking dates:

  • for the CBT you have to book the date between 09-13 September and take the exam 17-18 October (at home or in a Prometric/EPSO facility);
  • for the Proofreading and correcting test you have to book between 29 September-5 October and take the exam 31 October – 4 November (only in a Prometric/EPSO facility).

Don’t forget to read carefully all the indications you receive from EPSO when doing the bookings (believe it or not, they contain a lot information). Check the starting dates for the rest of the tests, as for each language they begin on a different day between mid September and mid October and the interview phase will last 1 month. If you want to know more about the Assessment Centre as a whole, read our previous post.

Fresh from the notice

How can I prepare the Proofreading and correcting test test?

Our recommendation would be to practice. Try practicing with the Reform of the European Ombudsman’s Statute, you can divide it into two parts and you have it in several languages (SpanishFrench; ItalianGerman). Another example which is available in the 24 official languages are the Factsheets of the European Parliament as they cover a wide list of subjects and allow you to practice with some legal & policy terms. This test just implies translation, so any document from the institutions officially translated to our language 2 can help us practice.

Of course, we can’t forget about the State of the Union 2021 (which is available in the 24 official languages), or any SOTEU speech from previous years (here for instance 2020 and 2018). Finally, you can check the documents about the Political priorities of the Commission or other similar documents, as well as the official journal with all its texts published in the 24 official languages. Overall, they want to be sure you know how to do the following:

  • proofreading electronic manuscripts in terms of typography and inputting authors’ corrections,
  • preparing and checking proofs for publication in various formats and media,
  • preparing manuscripts in electronic format or on paper in terms of spelling, grammar and syntax, and checking texts for their coherence and uniformity,
  • checking compliance with stylistic conventions and rules, and the compliance of the texts with the Interinstitutional Style Guide adopted by all the European Union institutions,
  • checking the quality of work performed by outside contractors in the field,
  • preparing the Institution’s documents for publication and finalising texts in typographical terms,
  • checking texts translated into the language of the competition for consistency with the original language,
  • monitoring linguistic developments and changes and informing colleagues of them,
  • taking part in terminology work and in the quality control process for translations of documents,
  • various other types of language work, such as moderation of content of website pages.

Considering this, the practice with the documents previously listed is simple.

  1. First step: copy the two texts to be reviewed in a Word document,
  2. Second step: ask someone to introduce small changes of format, typos, etc. Proofreading will cover both the linguistic aspects (grammar, spelling and punctuation) and typography. If this person is another colleague in the same competition even better, you can prepare the documents for each other. Save it with and without track changes.
  3. Third step: follow the same principle as indicated in the Notice of Competition. Take the text nº1 in language 1 and correct it while comparing it to the source text in Language 2. Then take text nº2 to make the proofreading without the comparison to the source text in Language 2. AND don’t forget to reason/justify your corrections. In total, you can’t use more than 2h 30 min to do this.
  4. Fourth step: correct the texts by comparing them to the original text. Analyse the part where you have made mistakes and why.
  5. Fifth step: go back to the first step and repeat

2.-EPSO/AST/152/22 Linguistic Assistants Estonian; Croatian(HR); Italian; Dutch(NL); Polish; Portuguese

The linguistic assistants competition is currently organizing the CBT (verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning) with two language comprehension tests. In total, about 4137 candidates (for 76 final spots) will take this exam in the last week of August and the first one of September.

We all know the verbal, numerical and verbal reasoning tests, but what will the language comprehension tests look like? They will consist of 12 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ), which are designed to assess your linguistic abilities in terms of vocabulary, grammar/syntax constructions and style. To see real examples, check EPSO web page.

So far, all the dates and web are the same for the 6 languages, so we felt lazy and uploaded only one screenshot 🙂
You need a high score in both language comprehension test!! 7 is not enough.

We need to excel in the part of the comprehension test, as only the files of the candidates who obtained the pass mark in the reasoning tests and one of the highest overall marks in the language comprehension tests will undergo the eligibility check. That is, the eligibility check will be performed in the descending order of candidates’ overall marks obtained in the language comprehension tests. The files will be checked until the number of candidates deemed eligible reaches three times the number of successful candidates sought for each language, i.e. 36 for Estonian, 42 for Croatian, 30 for Italian, 42 for Dutch, 36 for Polish and 42 for Portuguese. A proportion in line with the old times of generalist AD5 competition.

Once we make it to the Assessment Centre, we will be required to «finalise» a text… what does that mean?

About the finalisation of a text: This test is about correcting formatting mistakes in a translation. The source text in language 2 will be provided on screen. A translation of this text into language 1, provided as an editable text, contains mistakes in the language and the format in comparison to the source text. The candidate is asked to detect and correct these mistakes, in order to match the source text. The test lasts one hour. [EPSO dixit]. So to train for this, we propose the same strategy as we did above (check above for the source texts) and to follow these steps :

  1. First step: copy a text (1000 words should do it) to be reviewed in a Word document,
  2. Second step: ask someone to introduce small changes of format, typos, etc . If this person is colleague in the same competition even better, you can prepare documents for each other. Save the document with and without track changes.
  3. Third step: follow the same principle as indicated in notice. Take the text in language 1 and correct it while comparing it to the source text in Language 2. In total, you can’t use more than 60 min to do this.
  4. Fourth step: correct the text by comparing it to the original text and the track changes version. Analyse the part where you have done mistakes and why.
  5. Fith step: go back to the first step and repeat.

Can you help me further with my tests?

Of course, if you think we can help you with our training, you can check out our next sessions or register for the next ones. And yes, we also prepare the field-related interview, it’s all about the methodology. Remember you can join our Telegram information channel too where we’ll alert you of any news regarding your competition.

Finally, let’s share some useful links for this competition and any other.

List of useful resources for EU competitions

  1. El CBT o los test psicotécnicos (ES)
  2. The Assesment centre (EN)
  3. 10 free resources (EN/ES).
  4. YSE trainings (English and Spanish) :
    1. CBT (in Spanish)
    2. Assessment sessions – for all the Assessment test (Theory in English or Spanish. Practice can be done in EN,FR,ES)
    3. Application review (EN/ES/FR/IT/DE)
    4. CAST Sessions -have you been invited to a job interview? Do you want to improve your chances of being selected in a CAST process?

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