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What is the UN Young Professionals Programme Exam?


When you submit an application to the UN for a job via the Young Professionals Programme, the screening process includes several preliminary steps before you can take the written and oral examinations for the position. First, your eligibility has to be verified. Then you must submit a profile and application. The next step is submitting a job application. If evaluation of your application is successful, you’ll be invited to take the exams.

The exam subject depends on the particular area of work you want to do. The exams are only held once a year, and they usually take place in December.

Written Exam

The written exam is four and a half hours in length. The General Paper assesses how well you can draft and analyze in English or French. You must read and summarize a text of about 900 words into 300 words. The text has no titles, subtitles, or paragraphs to help you understand it, so you should be proficient in the language in which you take the exam. The maximum score for this part of the exam is 150.

The next part of the written exam is the Specialized Paper, which tests your substantive knowledge and ability to think critically. The test is related to the subject in which you’re taking the exam. You can answer this part of the exam in one of the six official UN languages. The maximum score for this part of the test is 650 points. The Specialized Paper consists of multiple choice questions and constructed response.

Take advantage of the suggested reading list available on the UN website for the subject area in which you’re taking the exam.

Oral Exam

Should you pass the written exam, you will complete an oral exam, which is a video-conference interview that covers the competencies you’ll need to take part in the Young Professionals Programme. You’ll interview with an interview panel, so be prepared to provide concise, true stories about your work accomplishments. You can earn up to 200 points in this part of the exam.


If you’re successful, you’ll be told that you have passed the YPP exam. All other candidates will be notified through the Important Updates page of the UN Careers website that the exam process has finished.


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Global Peace Careers is a website dedicated to career related information in the sectors humanitarian aid and action, international development, peace and conflict studies, negotiation, conflict resolution, diplomacy and international law. On our website we collect and distribute information about entry level jobs, paid internships, affordable master degrees, free online courses and other opportunities.

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Disclosure: Global Peace Careers may be compensated by course providers.