Current Status
Not Enrolled
Get Started

The Civil Service Exam, commonly required for positions in government agencies, is a crucial step in the hiring process for many public sector jobs. Its primary aim is to ensure that candidates possess the necessary skills and knowledge to perform effectively in various governmental roles. The structure and content of the exam can vary depending on the specific job or the level of government (local, state, federal), but generally, it includes several common elements:

Our online preparation pack includes practice materials for the common tests you will probably face in the civil service exams.
The pack includes:

  • Basic Math, Numerical Reasoning & Series
  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Logical Reasoning (Inductive & Deductive)
  • Situational Judgement Tests
  • Personality Tests
  • Spatial Reasoning Tests
  • Mechanical Reasoning
  • Error Checking Tests
  • Memory Tests

6 months access
   24/7 Customer Support
* 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

Price $59

Are you looking for a stable job with good insurance, plenty of room for leveling up, and numerous opportunities within a variety of fields? If so, you might be interested in becoming a civil servant.

Before becoming a civil servant, however, you will need to complete a few steps in the job application process. One of these steps involves taking the civil service test.

Below, we discuss the different types of tests you might need to take in order to become a civil servant and how we at Prepare4Success can help you pass your civil service exam.

Civil service assessment practice is an important tool for individuals who are preparing to take a civil service exam. By becoming familiar with the exam format, identifying areas of weakness, and managing their time effectively, individuals can increase their chances of success and ultimately secure their desired position in the government agency.

Types of Civil Service Tests

There are two main types of civil service exams: federal and state civil service exams. While federal jobs can generally be accessed on a single platform, state job processes can vary depending on which state you reside in. Let’s look at the two types of tests in closer detail.

Federal Civil Service Exam

With an estimated 2.8 million civil service positions currently filled, the federal government is always looking to recruit more civil servants. In fact, you are likely to find a monthly average of 55,000 job openings when you conduct a job search.

The Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Branches of government are all potential avenues in which to find a job, though the Executive Branch is by far the most common branch in which civil servants work.

All federal civil service jobs are applied to online via an independent government agency that is managed by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). This agency’s job is to:

  • Advertise all job vacancies.
  • Provide you with information on the types of positions and their duties.
  • Highlight key requirements for the job.
  • And inform you of the process for applying for the federal civil service exam.

The federal civil service exam is conducted on an online assessment platform called USA Hire.

Occupations that Require Federal Exams

While not all federal jobs require an exam, most civil service positions are highly competitive and therefore use online assessments to screen applicants for eligibility quickly. Here are the most commonly assessed fields within the federal civil service sector:

Job PositionTest NameComponents
Administrative AssistantAdministrative Support Assessment Test (ASAT)Content knowledge, Analytical skills, Communication skills, Time management, Computer skills
Police OfficerLaw Enforcement Aptitude Battery (LEAB)Content knowledge, Analytical skills, Physical fitness, Communication skills, Personality assessment
FirefighterCandidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)Content knowledge, Analytical skills, Physical fitness, Communication skills, Personality assessment
EngineerFundamentals of Engineering (FE) ExamContent knowledge, Analytical skills, Communication skills, Time management, Technical skills
FBIFBI Special Agent ExamContent knowledge, Analytical skills, Communication skills, Time management, Investigative skills
Public Relations SpecialistAccreditation in Public Relations (APR) ExamContent knowledge, Analytical skills, Communication skills, Time management, Media relations
Federal Postal ServicesVirtual Entry Assessment (VEA)Content knowledge, Analytical skills, Communication skills, Time management, Basic skills
Law Enforcement OfficersNational Police Officer Selection Test (POST)Content knowledge, Analytical skills, Communication skills, Time management, Problem-solving skills
ClerkClerical Battery ExamContent knowledge, Analytical skills, Communication skills, Time management, Data entry skills
Civil Service ExamCivil Service ExamContent knowledge, Analytical skills, Communication skills, Time management, Problem-solving skills
Test Name

In addition, some government jobs have mandatory, specialized examinations. These exams may need to be taken on the agency’s individual website. The most common agencies include postal office services, law enforcement, firefighting, and emergency services.

If you’re a student or recent college graduate, the federal government also has unique work opportunities that require a federal civil service exam in order to be considered.

What Is on the Federal Civil Service Exam?

Federal civil service exams vary depending on the position, meaning there is no single exam used to assess all job applicants; however, many federal civil service exams include typing tests, reading and writing tests, reasoning skills, mathematics, and clerical skills.

State Civil Service Exams

Whereas there are 2.8 million employees at the national level, the state level has over 20 million employees within the civil service sector. Managed by individual states, counties, and municipal governments, each state has its own method for hiring new civil servants.

The state in which you are applying may be the sole administrator for the state exam, or you might have to apply via a smaller, more localized agency.

What Is on the State Civil Service Exam?

As previously stated, each state, and sometimes the local governments, has unique processes for civil service examinations. To help you best prepare, here is information on the three most general exam types across the states.

Verbal Ability Exams

Being able to follow written instructions is key to being hired within the civil service sector. As such, you will need to be able to demonstrate excellent reading, writing, proofreading, and instruction-following in order to pass this exam. Common topics include reading comprehension passages, vocabulary and spelling, and writing and grammar.

Math Ability Exams

Mathematical ability tests aren’t required of every position. You will likely only need to take this exam if math aptitude is to be expected on the job. You must be able to demonstrate skills involving arithmetic, ratios and proportions, algebraic questions, geometry, reasoning word problems, and data interpretation using graphs and tables.

Clerical Ability Exams

For this exam, you must show an aptitude for quickly and accurately performing a variety of clerical tasks that will be expected of you on the job. You must be able to demonstrate skills for filing, typing, coding, name and number comparisons, stenography, and other tasks involving good attention to detail.

Most Common State Civil Service

To help you visualize how individual states conduct civil service exams, let’s take a look at three of the most popular states for civil service positions: California, New York, and Pennsylvania.


The California State Civil Service Exam assesses job candidates in a number of occupations. Clerk typists, attorneys, police officers, firefighters, and IT assistants are just a few of the kinds of jobs you will find during your job search through California’s civil service site.

While each position tends to have its own assessment protocol, these are the most common exams: the LACoFD Firefighter Test, LAPD Test, CA POST Dispatcher Test, and the California Correction Officer Test.

New York

Like California, New York State also conducts a large number of exams for a wide array of civil service positions. You might have to take a personality test, memory test, mathematics test, reasoning test, or SJT.

Common job-specific exams at the state level for New York civil servants include: the New York State Police Exam Practice Test, NYC School Safety Agent Exam, NYS Civil Service Court Officer Exam, NYC Traffic Enforcement Agent Exam, FDNY Firefighter Exam, NYS PCO Exams, and the MTA Exam.


Pennsylvania offers a variety of assessments for those looking to become civil servants. Formats may be written, oral, essay-style, experience-based, typing, or performance-based.

Tests you might encounter on the Pennsylvania civil service exam include: Pennsylvania Clerk Typist Civil Service Exam, National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory Exam, Pennsylvania Accountants, Auditors & Examiners Civil Service Exam, Firefighter Exam, Pennsylvania Advanced Clerical & Secretarial Exam, and the Pennsylvania Legal & Administrative Assistant Exam.

Competitive VS Non–Competitive Exams

When it comes to scoring and passing your exam, the type of civil service test you end up taking tends to either be a competitive or non-competitive exam.

Competitive Exams

A competitive exam is as it sounds. Your score will be compared to other test takers to see how you perform next to others. Assessments determine your comparative score by looking at the average score of test takers. Depending on the type of job, the percentage in which you’ll need to fall in can vary. For example, if the average score of other test takers is 75%, and you’re taking a competitive exam, you will need to score at least 75%.

Non-Competitive Exams

On the contrary, a non-competitive exam doesn’t compare your score to that of others. Instead, there is a baseline score in which you must obtain in order to be passing. Generally, the passing score for a non-competitive exam is 70%.

Pass Your Civil Service Exam

Civil service exams cover a broad variety of topics, testing formats, and scoring styles, making them hard to navigate on your own. If you’re ready to ace your civil service exam, then you will need to prepare ahead of time by taking a comprehensive practice test.

Here at Prepare4Success, Our Get Everything Practice Pack covers the common tests you may face in the civil service exams.