Examination structure

In order to be placed on the roster for P1/P2 vacancies of the United Nations you need to pass the YPP examination, which consists of the written and the oral part. The total number of points a candidate can score in both parts of the exam is 1000.

  1. Written examination

    The written examination lasts a total of four and a half hours. You will need to manage you own time for the different parts of the examination.

    The written examination consists of two parts:

    • The General Paper, which is the same for all job families, tests your drafting and analytical abilities in English or French. It consists of a text of approximately 900 words, which needs to be summarised to around 300 words. The number of words may slightly vary between the two languages. There are no titles, subtitles or paragraphs in the text, which you have to summarize. You can score a maximum of 150 points in the General paper.
Sample General Paper
    • The Specialized Paper tests your substantive knowledge and analytical thinking. It is specific to the exam area you are taking the exam in. This part of the written examination can be answered in any of the six official UN languages. You can score a maximum of 650 points in the Specialised paper.

Part 1: Multiple choice items

Part I of the Specialized Paper consists of up to 50 multiple choice questions relevant to the exam area you are applying for. Each question is worth 3 points; no points are deducted for a wrong answer. The answers to the multiple choice items need to be indicated in the Answer Booklet by filling in the circle corresponding to the correct answer from the Questions Booklet.

Part II: Constructed response items

Part II of the Specialised Paper consists of up to 13 items where candidates need to produce a longer text, speech, analysis or a similar answer. Candidates are expected to write a longer response (up to 4 pages) to the first three questions and a shorter text to questions 4 to13 (up to two pages). Please note that not every exam will have three longer and ten shorter questions. Sometimes an exam may have fewer questions as well.


    Candidates are expected to answer the correct question on the correct page in the Answer Booklet. For example: “Question 1” needs to be answered under “Question 1” in the Answer Booklet, and “Question 10” needs to be answered under “Question 10” in the Answer Booklet.

    Answers provided on the wrong page in the Answer Booklet will be marked with zero points. Only the pages provided for the answer will be marked. Texts going over the pages provided for a specific answer will not be considered.

    Every candidate gets one Answer Booklet only. Any preparatory notes can be done on scrap paper provided.

    Experience shows that successful candidates have trained their handwriting for months to be able to provide the optimal answer. Please write legibly so that the markers will be able to read your handwriting.

    Sample Answer Paper


    Answers to the General Paper are marked anonymously by a panel of external markers. The Specialized Paper is marked by a Specialized Examination Board of experts from the United Nations. All answers are double blind marked by two different markers.

    The Specialized Examination Board usually sets different cut-off points after each part of the exam and only the candidates who are above that threshold are evaluated further. The first cut-off is usually determined after multiple choice questions have been marked.

    Each of the further items, which require longer and constructed answers, may serve as an additional cut-off point. An announcement will be made regarding which papers and/or parts of the exam will be eliminatory. Only examinees successful in that part of the examination will have the other parts marked.

    The General Paper is generally marked last. It is marked only for candidates who pass the Specialized Paper.

  1. Oral examination

    If you are successful in the written examination, you will be invited to take part in the oral part of the examination which consists of a competency-based video-conference interview. Each candidate will be interviewed by an interview panel consisting of members of the Specialized Examination Board. The total number of points in the oral examination is 200. You can find more information on competency based interviews here.

  2. Results notification

    Only successful candidates will be individually informed that they have passed the YPP examination. All remaining candidates will be informed through the Important Updates page that the examination process has been concluded. Please note that the time of notification may vary from one exam area to the next, depending on the number of examinees in each one.

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