Civil Service Exam: Free Practice Tests & Info [2022]

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Are you here for New York State Civil Service exams / DCAS Exam? Get accurate info and guides on our NY Civil Service Page.

What Is Civil Service?

Every government employee in the public sector who isn’t a political appointee or part of the military is considered a civil servant. In the USA there are about 3 million workers in the civil service. After job announcements are released, the application process usually includes an open competitive- that is, an exam open for the public in which the highest scorers get the jobs.

What Is a Civil Service Exam

After you apply online, the Civil Service exam is the first major step used to screen the many applicants that want to become civil service employees. The general types of questions found on the civil service exam are Cognitive abilities questions, Personality questions, and Situational Judgment questions.

Getting a high score on this exam is critical since your score is compared to other candidates- a high score is the difference between getting the job or giving it to someone else.

If you know what test you’re taking, it is better to practice for it specifically. If you are not sure, you can get full practice on our all-inclusive civil service examination package.

 If you want to pass, the proven way is to practice civil service exam questions like the ones on the test.

Civil Service Exam Sample Questions


Reading Comprehension

This category includes questions that require you to deduce information from written text. It includes Verbal Reasoning, Reading, Understanding, and Interpreting Written Material.


Verbal Reasoning Sample Question

Read the text and answer the following question.

Rachel has decided to move to North London and has been deliberating between Hampstead and Regent's Park. Lately she noticed several news reports about car thefts around Hampstead and consequently has decided to move to Regent's Park as she believes that vehicle theft is much more common in Hampstead.

Rachel has made an availability heuristic.

An availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to mind. When you are trying to make a decision, a number of related events or situations might immediately spring to the forefront of your thoughts. As a result, you might judge that those events are more frequent and possible than others. You give greater credence to this information and tend to overestimate the probability and likelihood of similar things happening in the future.

The term was first coined in 1973 by psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. They suggested that the availability heuristic occurs unconsciously and operates under the principle that "if you can think of it, it must be important." Things that come to mind more easily are believed to be far more common and more accurate reflections of the real world.

Availability heuristics can be helpful and important in decision-making. When faced with a choice, we often lack the time or resources to investigate in greater depth. Faced with the need for an immediate decision, the availability heuristic allows people to quickly arrive at a conclusion.

 According to the passage, it is helpful to use availability heuristics in decision making when:

A. The subject is of high importance
B. There is danger involved
C. The decision is fairly easy to make
D. There is a lack of knowledge
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is D.

The answer to this question can be found in the fourth paragraph, which starts with the words ”Availability heuristics can be helpful and important in decision-making.” The paragraph continues on to explain that availability heuristics are helpful when: ”we lack the time or resources to investigate in greater depth”. Thus, the correct answer is (d) as lack of knowledge is equated with lack of resources.


Written Expression

The questions here cover different aspects of the English language and include written communication, paragraph organization, restatements, punctuation & capitalization, sentence completion, vocabulary, synonyms & antonyms, word analogy, and spelling.


Restatements Sample Question

This part consists of several sentences, each followed by four possible ways of restating the main idea of that sentence in different words. For each question, choose the one restatement which best expresses the meaning of the original sentence:

The black widow spider's name comes from the female's habit of eating the male after mating.

A. As the male black widow usually dies in the course of mating, this species of spider has gained a reputation for being especially prone to death as its name indicates.
B. The black widow spider has earned its name by preying on other spiders of its type, with the female typically preying on the male.
C. Because the female spider consumes her male partner post mating, this species of spider is called black widow.
D. While both the male and the female spiders of the species known as black widow are killers, the female is especially dangerous inasmuch as she has a habit of consuming her partner after mating.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is C.
Answer A doesn't include the fact that the female eats the male.
Answer B has no mention of the female praying on the male after mating.
Answer D says both the males and females are killers, information that is not expressed in the original statement.


Reasoning Skills

These questions require one to understand the directions given properly and accordingly make correct decisions. They may also be categorized as Following Directions, Rule Interpretation, and Law Deductive Reasoning.


Problem Sensitivity Sample Question

You will be presented with multiple-choice questions usually offering 4 answer options, of which only one is correct. Your task is to choose the best answer to each question from the options given.

Read the text, and answer the following question:

Officer Noah interviewed four witnesses to shoplifting. They each described the suspect as follows:

Witness 1: “She was a White, elderly female woman, probably in her seventies. She was walking with a cane, was around five feet tall, maybe 120 pounds, and had very short grey hair. She had glasses strung around her neck and was wearing a red shirt with a dark green sweater and brown pants.”

Witness 2: “She was a short, White woman, no taller than five feet. She had very short grey hair, bright blue eyes and was around 130 pounds. She was wearing a red shirt with a green sweater and dark pants. Her grey hair, big glasses strung around her neck, and cane made her look old, but her face looked very young.”

Witness 3: “She was a White woman, no older than sixty, slightly under five feet tall and under 130 pounds. She had very short grey hair, was wearing a red shirt with a green sweater and black or brown pants, and walked with a cane.”

Witness 4: “She was a White female, who looked to be around seventy with grey hair. She was about five and a half feet tall and 115 pounds. She walked with a cane, had glasses around her neck, and was wearing a green sweater and black pants.”

Given this information, there is a problem with the description given by witness number-

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is 4.

All of the witnesses agreed that the woman was White, had grey hair, and was around 120-130 pounds. They also all reported that she had a cane and was wearing a green sweater, and brown or black pants.

Witness 1 reported that the woman was five feet tall, witness 2 said she was no taller than five feet tall and witness 3 said she was slightly under five feet tall. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the woman is somewhere between 4’9” – 5’1. Witness 4 however reported that the woman was five and a half feet tall.


Witnesses 1 said the woman was seventy, witness 4 said she was in her seventies, and witness 3 said she was no older than 60. This is a large age difference which should raise suspicions about witness 3. However, witnesses 2’s report regarding the woman’s age can explain this discrepancy in a very reasonable way. Witness 2 said that it was very difficult to determine her age, because her grey hair, cane, and glasses strung around her neck made her look old, but she had a young face. Witnesses 1 and 4 must have thought her to be older because of her cane and grey hair, and witness 3 thought her to be younger because of her young-looking face.

This is further supported by the fact that witness 3 did not make any mention of the woman’s glasses around her neck.

Spatial Abilities

These questions include Visualization and Spatial Orientation.

Visualization refers to the ability to imagine how something would look when it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged. Spatial aptitude refers to the ability to remain oriented in relation to the surrounding environment, both while in motion and at rest.


Visualization Sample Question

The letters near the sides of each shape point out where exactly should the different shapes be joined together. Which of the following options shows the joint shape?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is E.

Here is how combining the three shapes works:



Attention to Details

In this section, you will need to use your observational ability, pay attention to details and errors in data and compare information accurately.


Comparing and Checking Sample Question

Compare the names given and determine how many are exactly the same.

Peter R. Daniels
Peter R. Daniels
Peret R. Daniels
Peter R. Daneils

A. All of the names are different
B.Two of the names are exactly the same
C. Three of the names are exactly the same
D. All four names are exactly the same
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
The first two names are exactly the same. The third and fourth names are different- here are the four names, with differences in bold.

Peter R. Daniels
Peter R. Daniels
Peret R. Daniels
Peter R. Daneils


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Free Civil Service Practice Tests

Standard Civil Service Exam

A common civil service examination tests your reading comprehension, basic math aptitude, and data analysis. It is a test you are likely to encounter if you are applying to most civil service jobs.


Civil Service Clerical Position

One of the most typical civil service jobs is the clerk position. This exam tests your ability to spot errors in data, basic math aptitude, filing ability and basic control of the English language.


Police Officers

There are 18,000 different police departments in the USA alone, and each one has its own rules. Nevertheless, they all similar in form to the police exam.


911 Dispatchers

Even though it's a desk job, it's still very intense. Your judgment and ability to gather the right data on time will be crucial factors in your hire ability. You can practice with our full 911 dispatcher test pack, along with our specific package for the CritiCall Test, data entry, and more.

To start to get a feel for the test, try this free CritiCall practice test.


Transportation Security Officers (TSOs)

If you'd like to become a TSA agent, you first must pass the TSA Computer-Based Test (CBT). The exam consists of (1) an X-ray test that measures your ability to analyze X-ray images for specific objects and (2) an English Skills test that evaluates your English proficiency level. Try this 19-question free TSA CBT practice test to start to get a feel for the exam.



Fire Fighters

The Firefighter exam is not only physically difficult but also mentally challenging! On this test you are likely to face situational judgment and personality questions, basic mechanical, math and reading aptitude questions.


FBI Special Agents

You’d be surprised that you can actually practice in advance for such a secretive job. You are welcome to be one of the thousands that use our preparation pack to be an FBI special agent each year.


New York State Exams

NYS and especially NYC are hot spots for civil service jobs and are known for the pride they take in their civil service careers. You can get different preparations for the different jobs offered.


New Jersey State Exams

NJ is also famous for its own civil service organizations it has. Due to the high number of applications, the process is very competitive. Practicing in advance is the key to passing.


California State Exams

California is the nation’s most populated state which means there are many openings each year. Getting familiar with the CA civil service exams is a huge advantage.

How to Pass Civil Service Tests

There are a few steps that are in common to most civil service exams:

1. Search for the date of the exam you want to take and apply by either mail, in person, or online.

2. Check that you have all the requirements for the job on hand, such as an updated driver’s license and high school certification (note: some positions require different credentials).

3. Pay the application fee- There are different fees for different exams, which vary between states and counties.

4. If you’re entitled to veteran’s credits, you’ll need to show a copy of your DD214 military discharge when applying. This will get you an advantage over other test takers.

5. Practice towards your exam- Most civil service tests are difficult and require thorough preparation prior to taking them. Use practice tests to familiarize yourself with the content and format. That way, you’ll improve your ability to answer correctly with flying colors.

How Hard Is the Civil Service Exam?

Because there are so many different civil service exams, the answer really depends on the one you’re taking. A police officer doesn’t take the same test as an accountant or a clerk. What makes the civil service test so difficult is its competitive process.


Competitive VS Non–Competitive Exams

There are two primary types of civil service tests- competitive and non-competitive. In the competitive exam, you will be evaluated in relation to other candidates. A Non-competitive exam has a baseline passing score of 70%, which only a few manage to surpass (at around 15 percent!). That is why it is crucial to practice in advance in both cases.

Working as a Police Officer

Being a police officer is one of the most coveted jobs in the civil service. That isn’t surprising when you consider the cultural impact the force has on society.

Police officers often enjoy a flexible schedule (shifts), life insurance, overtime pay, optional early retirement packages, educational programs, union membership, health coverage, and much more. In NYC police officers can earn 100K annually.

For all these reasons, the process is very competitive, and it is challenging to pass the Police Entry-Level Exam. We advise you to study in advance and learn more before taking a police exam.

Working in the Fire Department

Firefighters enjoy a wide spectrum of government programs and benefits as well. They are often regarded as heroes in the eyes of the public and need to be courageous with great communication skills. Oh, and in populated areas firefighters can make between 80-110K a year.

It is no secret that the physical tests for firefighters are extraordinarily tough. But without a great score on the Cognitive abilities, Personality and Situational Judgment test, you cannot get accepted. You can find a tailored pack and more information here for the test you are likely to encounter when applying for firefighters’ jobs.


The civil service exam comes in many forms and changes between states, counties, departments, and positions. Before taking an exam, you should look for details such as the date, fees, and the qualifications necessary. Then, address the exam itself by practicing in advance.

That is the surest way to pass a civil service exam and join the ranks of the many employees who enjoy government benefits and culture.

Good luck on your civil service exam!









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