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How to prepare for the UN YPP Written Examination

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How to prepare for the UN YPP Written Examination

September 8, 2023

UN YPP 2020 Written Examination

Have you applied for the United Nations YPP and still haven’t heard back from the recruiting team? Don’t worry! Convocations for the UN YPP Written Examination stage haven’t been sent out quite yet, but you can start getting ready now! In this article, we have put together some useful resources to help you get ready in advance for this competitive stage.

If you are amongst the candidates who have applied to the UN YPP, keep reading to find out more!


Have you been invited for the UN YPP Exam? Get the best preparation for this challenging stage now:



What is the Written Examination stage?

The Written Examination is the stage that comes right after the online application in the UN YPP selection process. Of all the applicants, only the best 60 per country, for each exam area, are invited for the first part of the test. Thus, it is clear that this is a crucial step in the UN YPP process, as it is aimed at assessing candidates’ knowledge of their exam area of choice and narrowing down the application list.

Do you want to understand the Written Examination Stage in detail? Then check out our magazine on the topic:

Understanding the Written Examination

In this exam, you will be tested for substantive and technical knowledge of subjects relevant to your exam area, your ability to analyze and to think critically, as well as your understanding of the United Nations as the complex international organization it is. Certainly sounds like a daunting task. So how do you prepare for it?

Preparing for the Written Examination stage

Exam areas

In 2022-2023, the UN YPP will accept applications in 2 different exam areas: Legal Affairs and Library & Information Management. In order to get prepared for the exams, you should explore the work done at the UN in these (and related job families) across the UN Secretariat.

Also, visit UN iLibrary to search for relevant publications in each of these areas so as to help you get ready in advance.

In order to study for the UN YPP Written Examination, you must acquire the right tools to prepare yourself. The instructions provided by the UN are a good start, but you’re still going to need a more focused approach to tackle this stage.

Here are some extra preparation tips that our team has gathered for you: 


1. Gathering the materials

Select the most relevant materials of your exam area for the UN YPP. That includes not only the publications found in the UN iLibrary website, but also guides, roadmaps to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and any pertinent internal UN document that may relate to your exam area. Most importantly, your studying materials have to be well selected so it’s an effective asset in your preparation process.


2. Exercising the relevant skills

In order to thoroughly prepare yourself for this stage, you should be well acquainted with the examination’s particularities. Understanding the written examination’s structure is a pivotal element in the goal of passing this phase of the UN YPP selection process. To achieve that, you have to exercise the thinking and writing skills that are going to be demanded of you when you finally take the exam.

In pursuit of its mission, OpenIGO Network has prepared a special package to help you better understand the Written Examination stage of this competitive selection process, allowing you to perform successfully in each of its parts.

Given that the Written Examination is by far the most competitive stage of the UN YPP (only 4% of candidates invited to take the exam are successful), we highly recommend you to give special attention to such preparation.

Get ready with our UN YPP – Written Exam Preparation


3. Keeping up with the UN’s latest

Following the UN’s social media and website, so as to keep up to date with any publications related to your UN YPP selected exam area, is also very important, as you will have firsthand access to news, announcements, and reports relevant to your job network/job family. Frequently checking our UN YPP Important Updates article for guidance and updates is also a must!


4. Extra tip: How to best organize your study

Creating an effective study schedule is essential. Developing a customized study timetable that aligns with the time you have available before the test will be the difference between failure and success. It’s important to balance study time with work, personal life, and other obligations as well.

To help you with that, our specialist in Economics has separated a few central topics from the UN’s reading suggestions to help you optimize your studies (please note that this is just a suggestion – you can adapt this suggested priority list according to your own knowledge and needs):

MICROECONOMICS – Varian’s book

– Chapter 1 The Market – focus mainly on Market Equilibrium and Pareto Efficiency here
– Chapter 3 Preferences – focus mainly on Assumptions about Preferences, the marginal rate of substitution, and the concepts of Perfect substitutes, Perfect Complements
– Chapter 4 Utility – focus mainly on understanding what is a utility function, marginal utility and the relation between marginal utility and the marginal rate of substitution
– Chapter 7 Revealed Preference – focus mainly up until the second topic (From Revealed Preference to Preference)
– Chapter 12 Uncertainty – focus mainly on risk aversion and risk spreading
– Chapter 16 Equilibrium – focus mainly up until the second topic (Market Equilibrium)
– Chapter 17 Measurement – focus mainly on the topic of policy evaluation
– Chapter 19 Technology – focus mainly on technological constraints
– Chapter 20 & 21 Profit and cost maximization – cover both chapters, focusing more on the conceptual aspects rather than on the applied economics aspects
– Chapter 24 Industry Supply – focus mainly up until the “The Meaning of Zero Profits” topic
– Chapter 29 Game Theory – cover the whole chapter
– Chapter 35 Externalities – focus mainly up until the “Production Externalities” topic
– Chapter 37 – Public Goods – focus mainly up until the “Comparison to Private Goods” topic

MACROECONOMICS – Mankiw’s book

– On the classical theory, I recommended focusing on the monetary system, inflation and unemployment, and the labor market
– On Growth theory, understanding the topics covered in both chapters is very important
– On the business cycle theory, mainly focus on understanding aggregate demand and the IS-LM model
– Finally, on the macroeconomic theory and policy part, I’d focus on government debt and budget deficits, and the financial system as well


– On the Theory part, focus on comparative advantage; on the Policy and Exchange rate parts, it’s important that you grasp the main concepts used in these chapters, so focus on listing these concepts and working out their definitions and relations; finally, about the International Macroeconomic Policy part, focus on knowing the basics of the history of the international monetary systems

DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS – Economics of Development book

– In part one, the most important section is the one about patterns of development, with many relevant concepts that may be the subject of questions – the other sections are mainly covered by previous readings
– The other parts and sections of the book can be given a more secondary space in the hierarchy of your studies, since the other books give you the concepts used here, the main difference being that they’re being worked out here in the context of development economics


– For these areas, the main topics are regression analysis and its basics (mainly chapter 2 of Wooldridge’s Introductory Econometrics) and the concepts covered by the Handbook of National Accounting (here the same advice for International Theory applies: focus on listing these concepts and working out their definitions and relations).

Please be advised that these priorities do not guarantee that these are the exact topics that will be covered by the exam. However, with a good grasp of these and our practice questions, you’ll be ready to face this stage of the UN YPP in the Economic Affairs exam area.


By following these tips with discipline, you will certainly have a head start over the other candidates! Equip yourself with the right tools and you will feel much more at ease going into this phase of the selection process. After all, all you have to do is apply what you’ve learned through your preparation!


To help you succeed in the UN YPP selection process, OpenIGO offers a series of products and services, including a UN YPP Written Exam Preparation Package! We are an extensive network composed of former young professionals, professors and researchers from the best universities in the world, international civil servants and Human Resources specialists devoted to helping professionals worldwide develop their international careers.

Access the following link to get to know more about our UN YPP-related services:

United Nations Written Exam Packages



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