Information on Civil Service Examinations

Civil Service Home Page

About Civil Service Tests

To be considered for many City jobs, especially entry-level jobs, applicants are required to take a Civil Service test. Test grades are used to place applicants on job referral lists, often called "registers". These lists or "registers" are used to certify eligibles to City departments with vacancies to fill. The agencies then contact the certified candidates to set up job interviews, etc.

What are the Civil Service tests like?

Different kinds of tests are given for different types of jobs. Most Civil Service tests are "paper and pencil" multiple-choice exams. Applicants for typing, word processing and clerical jobs also take a typing skills test on a computer.

For some jobs, the examination is unassembled, and applicants are graded based on a Rating of Training & Experience. For other jobs, a scored oral interview may be used.

A civil service examination may consist of one or more of the above tests given in combination and weighted to determine your overall score on the examination.

Most Civil Service tests are NOT speed tests. You'll usually have about 2 hours to take between 80 and 140 questions, depending on the type of job you're applying for.

How are the tests graded?

Most tests are graded by computer. All questions on a test are valued equally; no question counts more than any other. The number of questions you must answer correctly to be considered passing depends on the kind of test you're taking. But on most tests you must answer 60-70% of the questions correctly in order to pass.

The typing skills test given to secretarial job applicants is graded for both speed and accuracy. To pass the skills test, you must type at approximately 40 wpm, after penalties for errors.

When will I receive my grade?

After you've taken the test, it takes about two weeks for you to receive your grade. As soon as your grade is issued to you, your name goes on the appropriate "register" to be referred for vacancies.

How long does my grade last?

Your grade notice will tell you when your grade expires. Most grades expire after six months, but can be valid for as long as three years.

Can I retake a Civil Service test?

For most tests, you must wait 90 days before re-testing. The exception to this rule is the typing performance test, which may be repeated after 30 days.