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Civil Service Test Study Plan

Testing for most civil service jobs happens only periodically and sometimes as little as once every two years.  An exam may consist of one test or a number of different tests.  Note that once you pass the test and you're on a civil service list, you'll be interviewed to determine if you receive a job offer.  Identify the tests from the Job Bulletin and review our tips. 

Civil Service Study Guides - Start now!

Follow the easy steps:

  

The Job Bulletin
Review a copy of the job bulletin for position that you're applying for.  The bulletin typically includes a description of the duties of the job, the test(s) in the exam, and the scoring of each test.  Underline the key duties and key test subjects as we've done with the Park Ranger position.

THE DUTIES
A Park Ranger provides public assistance and emergency services, including first aid, crowd and traffic control, firefighting, and search and rescue; patrols City parks, beaches, and other facilities to ensure park security; interprets and enforces City regulations and Municipal and Penal Code sections regarding park use; prepares and presents interpretive nature and environmental programs; and may provide radio communication to ranger units. 

THE EXAMINATION
QUALIFYING MULTIPLE CHOICE TEST: Candidates must pass a qualifying multiple choice test which may examine for knowledge of triage criteria and emergency medical treatment; public relations, conflict resolution, and other interpersonal skills; reading comprehension; correct English usage; and other necessary knowledge and abilities. At the time of the multiple choice test, candidates will be required to complete a Park Ranger Training and Experience Questionnaire. 

EVALUATION OF OVERALL QUALIFICATIONS: This evaluation will take place only for candidates who achieve a passing score on the Qualifying Multiple Choice Test. The evaluation, conducted by a panel of subject matter experts based on job-related criteria, will consist of a review of the candidate's employment application, including background and training; the information contained in the Park Ranger Training and Experience Questionnaire; and the level of performance on the qualifying written test.

PHYSICAL ABILITY TEST: Candidates will be required to pass a Qualifying Physical Ability Test designed to measure agility, balance, strength, and endurance

Examination Weights:
Qualifying Multiple Choice Test . . . . . . . . . . Pass/Fail 
Physical Ability Test  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Pass/Fail 
Evaluation of Overall Qualifications  . . . . . . . . . . 100% 

  

Exam Description
The bulletin for Park Ranger lists three different tests - multiple choice, physical ability and an evaluation of overall qualifications.  All written tests are timed.  

Tests may be qualifying or counted as part of your overall score.  A qualifying test means that you must pass the test to go on to the other tests. Typically, if you fail a qualifying test, you have failed the exam.

Most agencies tell you exactly what subjects you will be tested.  We've underlined the key duties and key test subjects in the example of the Park Ranger position.

EXAM TIP

  • Haven't taken a test in a while?  Short of time?  Jump start your study efforts by purchasing a study guide.   If you can't find an exact match, try a test guide for a position similar to the position you're testing for.  For example, you might review study guides for law enforcement if you're applying to be a Security Officer.
  • Review the free sample tests from various agencies.  The sample tests typically aren't as comprehensive as the study guides. Also check with your local public library or your school library.

EVALUATION OF OVERALL QUALIFICATIONS: This evaluation will take place only for candidates who achieve a passing score on the Qualifying Multiple Choice Test. The evaluation, conducted by a panel of subject matter experts based on job-related criteria, will consist of a review of the candidate's employment application, including background and training; the information contained in the Park Ranger Training and Experience Questionnaire; and the level of performance on the qualifying written test.

EXAM TIP

  • The "Evaluation of Overall Qualifications" is an interview and accounts for 100% of your score (see "Examination Weights" below).
  • See how the job description ties to the interview with the free mock interviews and resources at job-interview.net.  
  • Check the Internet for the latest trends and news in your profession.
  • Uncomfortable or nervous in interviews?  The Complete Interview Guide is available for both non-supervisory and supervisory jobs.  Match the key duties and key skills that you've underlined to possible interview questions.  

Multiple Choice Test
Multiple choice tests are may be scored or may also be used as a qualifying test.  Multiple choice tests may have you choose the single best answer or choose the most likely and least likely answers.  

EXAM TIP

Assessment Center, Essay and In-Basket
Assessment Centers, essay and in-basket tests are usually used for professional and executive jobs such as administrative and management positions.  Law enforcement promotional exams may also use assessment centers.  The assessment center simulates the typical duties of a position.  The in-basket tests your ability to handle typical assignments that might cross the desk of the position that you're testing for.  

EXAM TIP

Performance Test
A performance test is usually used for skilled craft jobs such as welders and equipment operators.  The performance test will require you to demonstrate your skills such in completing typical welds or driving equipment over a course.

Physical Ability Test
Physical ability tests are most often required for public safety positions such as the park ranger example, law enforcement and firefighting where physical exertion is essential to performing the job.

 

Psychological Test
Psychological tests are often required for public safety positions such as law enforcement and firefighting where good judgment in high pressure and high stress situations is essential. 

Can't find a Guide?
Review the key duties and key test subjects that you've underlined.  Use specific subject guides to test yourself on the key duties and key test subjects.  Use the Exam Tip below.

Need additional help on a key duty or test subject?
Do you need to brush up on a key duty or test subject?  Want to improve your skills on a specific duty or test subject?  Use the Exam Tip below.

EXAM TIP

 

  
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