Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How often are YPP examinations held?
YPP examinations are held annually in particular job families according to the needs of the Organization.
Q: What job families are offered for the YPP examination?
The job families offered in a particular year are announced on the examination information page.
Q: Which are the working languages of the United Nations?
The United Nations has six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish and two working languages, English and French. In addition to English and French, another official language may also be a working language in certain duty stations such as the Regional Commissions.


Q: I am not a national of a country listed. Can I apply?
If your country of nationality is not listed that means you are not eligible to apply at this stage. The reason why the examination is not open to all nationalities is that the Young Professionals Programme examination is designed to recruit nationals of countries which are not adequately represented in the United Nations Secretariat. You should check every year as to which nationals are eligible to participate in the examination as geographic representation changes.
Q: I have more than one nationality. Am I qualified to apply?
If you have more than one nationality you must choose the one you wish to apply under, provided it is on the list of nationalities to which the examination is being offered. You can only apply under one nationality. Please note that your preferred nationality must be indicated as the "country of nationality" in your application.
Q: I am a resident alien and/or I have applied to become a citizen in one of the countries listed on the website. Am I qualified to apply under my upcoming nationality?
You can only apply under a nationality that you hold at the time of the application. Prospective nationality or residency status does not qualify.
Q: Why is the programme not open to nationals of all countries?
The YPP is a means to ensure equitable representation of all member states of the United Nations Secretariat. As such it is available to professional staff from countries that are either not represented or are not adequately represented in the United Nations Secretariat in a particular year.
Q: How many nationals from my country will be selected through this process and offered a position?
There is no preset number. The number depends on the achievement of examinees going through the competitive process. At the application stage, in instances where a large number of applications are received (more than 40 per job family in a given country), the Central Review Examinations Board reserves the right to admit to the examination only the most qualified candidates based on a review of the qualifications which are over and above the minimum entrance criteria

Age / education

Q: I will be 33 years old on 31 December of the year of the examination. Can I apply?
No, you cannot apply because you must be 32 years old or younger as of 31 December in the year of the examination. There is no exception (even for one day) to the age requirement to apply for the YPP examination. However, with the necessary qualification, you may apply for more senior positions which do not bear age requirements. You may find specific requirements for these positions by visiting
Q: I will be obtaining my B.A. in June of next year. Can I apply?
In order to be eligible, you must have completed a degree relevant to the job family by the deadline for submission of applications. If you are obtaining your degree after this deadline, your application will not be considered.
Q: I will be obtaining my Master's degree in June of next year. I already have a B.A. Am I eligible?
In order to be eligible, you should hold at least a first-level university degree relevant to the job family in which you would like to take the examination, as well as meeting the other minimum requirements. Therefore, if your B.A. degree is in the job family in which you would like to take the examination and you meet the other minimum requirements, then you are eligible.

Examination locations

Q: Where will I take the examination?
Examination centres are opened based on examination requirements. A minimum of 15 nationals is usually required for an examination centre to be opened in the capital of a participating country. A preliminary list of examination centres is included in the application, allowing you to indicate your preference for where you would like to take the examination. Once the application period is closed, we will confirm whether you will be able to take the examination in the location of your choice. Within a limited period of time, which we will communicate to you, you can also let us know if you need to move to another examination centre. We make every effort to invite candidates to the centre nearest their place of residence. However, once the deadline for moving examination centres has closed, we will no longer be able to accommodate any changes in examination centre.
Q: I cannot see my examination centre listed on the Examination centres page.

First, double check that you have entered your application number correctly.

Your centre assignment will be sent to you via e-mail in addition to being listed on the site.

A preliminary list of examination centres is included in the screening questions for the application, where you can indicate your preference for where you would like to take the examination. Once the application period is closed, we will confirm whether you will be able to take the examination in the location of your choice. For a limited period of time, which we will communicate to you, you can also let us know if you need to move to another examination centre. Only after the application period has closed will the final list of examination centres be posted and only then will you be able to see where you are invited to take the examination.

Keep checking the Examination centres page for updated listings.

Q: Why am I getting a "Sorry, no results matching your criteria were found" message when I search on the Examination centres page?
There are several possibilities as to why you are getting this message. First, if you already have an application number, double check that you have entered your application number correctly. Second, it could be that you have not yet been sent an application number. Please note that application numbers will only be sent after the deadline for applications. Third, it may be that the examination centres have not been confirmed. Please note that examination centres are assigned a few weeks after candidates have been invited to the written examination. Keep checking the site for updated listings.

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Written examination

Q: What is the structure of the written examination?
The written examination consists of two papers:
  • The General Paper, which is the same for all job families, tests your drafting abilities and/or your knowledge of international affairs; this part can be drafted in either English or French.
  • The Specialized Paper, which tests your substantive knowledge corresponding to the job family you are taking the exam in and your analytical thinking; it can be taken in any of the six UN official languages.
The written examination lasts a total of four and a half hours. Examinees are required to manage their own time for the different parts of the examination. Examinees’ responses are marked anonymously by a panel of markers for the General Paper and by the Specialized Board Members for the Specialized Paper. Before the exam, it will be announced which papers and/or parts of the exam will be eliminatory and only examinees successful in that part of the examination will have the other parts marked.
Q: In what language is the examination given and what language should I use to write the answers?
The written examination questions both for the General Paper and the Specialized Paper are provided in English and French, the two working languages of the Secretariat. Candidates must write their answers for the General Paper in either English or French. The Specialized Paper may be answered in any of the six official languages of the Secretariat, i.e. Arabic, Chinese, French, English, Russian or Spanish.
Q: What kind of reference materials could I use to prepare for the written examinations?
You may want to go over newspapers, journals and books you used while studying at university and any other publications which you think may be useful or relevant to job family you are applying for. For sample examinations, click on the Sample examinations icon at the bottom of the page. It is important to note that the sample examinations are meant to give you an idea of the sort of questions that might be asked, based on past examinations. The examination you will take will have different questions.
Q: I will be residing abroad at the time of the written examination. Can I take the examination in a local university or in my consulate?
The examination is administered only in a limited number of examination centres, under the supervision of a United Nations official. On request, either when you submit your application or at least 6 weeks before the exam date, we will attempt to invite you to the location closest to your residence abroad.
Q: Does the United Nations cover my travel expenses to take the examination?
No, the United Nations does not cover any cost incurred for taking the written examination. However, the United Nations will cover the costs of travel of examinees who are successful in the written examination and are invited to take the oral examination.
Q: I have an important appointment that I cannot miss on the day of the examination. Can I take the examination earlier or later on that day or any time before or after the announced examination date?
No, this is not possible. All examinees must start and remain until the end of the examination according to the specific schedule of their examination centre. There is no makeup examination; there are no exceptions, not even for medical or other compelling reasons.
Q: Can I arrive late to the examination?
Arriving late is strongly discouraged, as it will disturb others and you will miss the instructions read at the start of the examination. In the event that you are delayed, the Administrator of the test has the discretion to deny access to latecomers, including individuals who do not arrive at the testing centre 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start time.
Q: I have very poor handwriting, so can I use a typewriter or a computer?
No, this is currently not possible. The examination is paper based. It would also raise confidentiality and security issues if typewriters or computers were permitted. We strongly encourage you to write as legibly as possible.
Q: What can I bring to the examination centre? Is there a dress code to take the examination? What is not allowed in the examination centre?
Please bring black pens, pencils, highlighters, calculator, ruler, your convocation (summons) document, and a picture ID indicating your nationality (passport, citizenship card, etc.). You may also bring some light food (candies, chocolate, etc.) and refreshments (clear water or juice bottle, etc.) that will not distract others in the room. Smoking is not allowed in the examination room. There is no dress code to participate in the examination. Please be aware that some examination rooms might be rather cool or warm, so you should prepare according to the local climate and weather. Please click here for a list of acceptable calculators.

Do not bring mobile phones, dictionaries, portable computers, reference materials, or draft/scrap paper. Should you bring any of these items, you will be required to leave them outside the examination room in a secure area for the whole duration of the examination.
Q: I was invited to take last year's examination, but I did not take it. May I take this year's examination?
In order to take this year's examination you must submit a new application, meet all requirements (nationality, age, occupational group), be selected by the Board of Examiners and convoked to an examination centre.

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Examination results

Q: When should I expect the results of the examination and how will I be notified?
The marking of the written examination is expected to be completed within 3-4 months after the examination. Click here for the status of each job family. All examinees are notified in writing via e-mail to their last updated e-mail address. Please inform us of any change in your email address during the exam process so that we have your current email address when we notify you. The application numbers of examinees convoked to the interview are also published on this site. The interview usually takes place 1-2 months after the completion of the marking of the written examination. In all, you should be prepared to wait up to 5 months for an interview.
Q: I will be moving soon. How can I forward you my new address?
Our preferred mode of communication is by e-mail; please send us an e-mail at indicating your full name, your application number, your new address, your new phone number, fax number, and any other changes.
Q: I passed the written part but failed the oral examination. Do I need to repeat both parts of the examination at a subsequent examination?
Yes, you will have to go through the entire examination process again, starting with the submission of your application. The YPP examination is comprised of both a written and oral examination, and results from one examination year do not carry over to another examination year.

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Career prospects

Q: What type of contract does a successful YPP candidate get?
The purpose of the YPP examination is to recruit people for career positions at the Secretariat. Recruits will initially be given a two-year fixed-term appointment followed by conversion to a continuing contract, provided their performance is satisfactory.
Q: What is next if I am successful in the YPP examination?
As a successful YPP candidate you are placed on a roster of qualified candidates who can be selected for available positions within the Organization. Although every effort will be made to secure employment for successful YPP candidates, please note that being placed on the YPP roster does not guarantee you a job at the United Nations. Placement from the roster is done in accordance with the needs of the Organization and the availability of positions.

Your membership on the roster will expire in two years.
Q: What are my chances of actually getting a job if I pass the YPP examination?
If you pass the YPP examination, you will most likely be offered a job. The number of candidates that pass is closely linked to the positions that are projected to become available. Each year, only the number of candidates that match the projected vacancies plus 10 % reserves are passed. Consequently, passing the examination may not, however, guarantee a job. Job offers to successful candidates are made on a regular basis, subject to the requirements of the Organization.
Q: What career opportunities are there after I am recruited?
All candidates successful in the young professionals programme examinations will be initially appointed at the P-1or P-2 level depending on your qualifications. Candidates appointed at the P-1 level shall be promoted to a position at the P-2 level following a minimum of two years of satisfactory performance and depending on the availability of posts. Thereafter, candidates may apply for positions at the P-3 level through the staff selection system so long as they meet qualifications.

The Organization promotes mobility within and across duty stations and job families. Upon successful completion of the first assignment, you will move to the second assignment at a different duty station. If you were successful in the examination as a G to P candidate, you would not be required to move to a different duty station for the second assignment.

If you were successful in the examination as a G to N candidate, you would be treated as an external candidate and required to move to a different duty station for the second assignment.

The purpose of the geographical rotation is to provide staff recruited through the YPP with opportunities to work in Headquarters duty stations as well as in the field to the extent possible. In addition, they will benefit from enhanced orientation, training, and career support during their early years of service at the professional level.

You will be offered orientation and mobility training as well as career support. This will help you adapt and accelerate the learning period leading to productive work and job satisfaction as an international civil servant.
Q: What is the meaning of "P-1 level"?
These are the levels used to classify entry-level professional positions at the United Nations. P-1/P-2 level is at the entry level and does not normally require any extensive work experience. Please visit the Staff categories page for more information.

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