Supervisory Test Battery Preparation and Examples

What Is the Supervisory Test Battery (STB)?

The Supervisory Test Battery was designed to evaluate applicants for civil service supervisor positions. The STB is a work simulation. To apply, you must meet your state's basic requirements.

What Do Those Who Score High Receive?

Candidates who receive high scores on the STB are placed at the top of the eligibility list, giving them a better chance of getting the position they've applied for. Preparing for the test will bring you one step closer to the position you want and deserve.

What Are the Test's Challenges?

There are many different ways the questions on the test can be answered. Each option provided after a question is measured by how well it addresses the situation in the question. Becoming familiar with the types of questions found on the test will enable you to choose the answer that is the best fit for the question.

Supervisory Test Battery Sample Question

Hillary is a relatively new employee in your team. Yesterday you had given her a task that should be ready by the end of today. At lunch, she approaches you and says that it took her a long time to familiarize herself with the task and now she is worried that she won’t finish on time. Up until now, Hillary has proved to be a competent employee and has never failed to meet deadlines. How would you respond?


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Best response: A

Core competency: building and maintaining relationships

Secondary competencies: responsibility for subordinates, integrity and reliability, flexibility and adaptability

Explanation: This is a question about the chain of command and your relationship with your employees. We are told about a competent, reliable employee who doesn’t manage to finish her task on time due to difficulties in learning her task.

Notice that there are in fact only two options of actions in the answer choices, and every couple of answer choices that suggest the same action, differ in their rationalization. Therefore, when choosing your response, you should take both elements into consideration: action and rationalization.

Response A emphasizes your relationship with your employees: you want your employee to know she can ask for help and can rely on you (responsibility, reliability). Working alongside her is a good opportunity to see what went wrong, where were her difficulties and tutor her. Notice that this answer choice does not suggest that you do her work instead of her, but rather working together in a way that allows you to see what she is doing, each step of the way and vice versa, she has a chance to watch closely and how you perform the task. This is the best response.

Response B emphasizes discipline; it reflects worry that Hillary would make it a habit not to finish her own tasks. Since we are told that she is usually independent and competent, you can feel comfortable that she won’t rely too much on your help next time, but rather would learn to inform you when something is not working and to ask for help. Moreover, this response is harmful since it could create the impression of a punishment – in fact, Hillary was responsible enough to point out the problem in advance, therefore a punishment is harsh and inappropriate.

Response C suggests an appropriate act, but its rationalization is flawed. Helping your employee is valuable for the sake of work progress, employee development and relationship with your employees. In this response, you help your employee for the sake of your ego and the impression you make on your employees. In the beginning of working with you, your employees probably believe you are familiar with their work. When you do notice that your employees feel otherwise, this implies a lack of trust and such a situation requires more thorough treatment.

Response D has a valid rationalization and in some positions, it’s possible that you won’t be able to work alongside your employees. However, since we are told about an exceptional situation and about an employee who is relatively new and still learns her job, leaving her with the problem seems inflexible.

Why You Need to Prepare for the Supervisor Exam

You can, and should, prepare for the test before taking it. Our PrepPack™ includes timed tests and study guides to help you get ready. Our practice tests also feature detailed explanations of the answers. By practicing, you up your chances of achieving a high score on the test. A high score not only ensures that you pass the exam, but it also gives you a better chance of gaining employment over the others who've applied.


What Do You Get with Your Supervisor Preparation Pack?

Our PrepPack™ provides you full access to practice resources for the different sections found on the exam. This includes six situational judgment tests (SJT). You'll also receive seven different study guides offering tips and explanations of how to answer questions on SJTs, personality tests, and more.

More About the Supervisor Test Battery 

The STB is a work simulation. Candidates are presented with a fictitious organization for which they must assume the role of a supervisor. A booklet is provided with background information about the organization, along with a booklet containing in-basket items, such as memos and letters. Candidates are given a total of three hours and fifteen minutes to answer the 89 questions on the test. The test questions deal with issues, tasks, situations, and decisions that the candidate needs to handle as a supervisor in the fictitious organization. You will receive your test score immediately after you finish the test.

The test measures competencies in eight different areas:

  1. Problem Solving – This measures how a candidate identifies and analyzes problems, uses reasoning to arrive at conclusions, finds solutions to complex problems, and distinguishes between relevant and irrelevant information to make logical judgments.
  2. Leadership – This assesses how well a candidate inspires, motivates, guides, and directs others toward goal accomplishment; how well he or she coaches, supports, mentors, and challenges subordinates; how the candidate adapts leadership styles to a variety of situations; and how he or she inspires others by modeling high standards of behavior and by applying these values to daily behaviors.
  3. Decision-Making – A candidate should make sound and well-informed decisions. In addition, he or she must perceive the impact and implications of decisions, commit to action, and cause change in order to accomplish organizational goals.
  4. Interpersonal Skills – This measures how a candidate considers and responds to the needs, feelings, and capabilities of others. A candidate must adjust approaches to fit different people and situations, as well as develop and maintain collaborative and effective working relationships with others.
  5. Human Resource Management – A candidate should empower people by sharing power and authority; develop lower levels of leadership by pushing authority downward and outward throughout the organization; share rewards for achievement with employees; ensure that staff are appropriately selected, utilized, appraised, and developed; and guarantee that staff are treated in a fair and equitable manner.
  6. Communication – A candidate must express facts and ideas both orally and in writing in a clear, accurate, thorough, organized, and effective manner. He or she must also review, proofread, and edit written work constructively. The candidate must be able to present facts to individuals or groups effectively and make clear and convincing oral presentations. In addition, he or she must be able to listen to others and facilitate an open exchange of ideas.
  7. Team Building – This evaluates how a candidate manages group processes. A candidate must encourage and facilitate cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity. He must foster commitment and team spirit, and work with others to achieve goals.
  8. Conflict Management – A candidate should manage and resolve conflicts, confrontations, and disagreements in a positive and constructive manner to minimize the negative personal impact.

Prepare for the Supervisory Test with JobTestPrep

If you are indeed qualified to apply for a supervisory position in civil service, then you’ll want to make sure you use practice tests to refine your time management and test-taking abilities. JobTestPrep offers a Supervisor PrepPack™ that measures your supervisory skills and helps you prepare for the exam.

Related Links

New Jersey Civil Service Exam Civil Service Federal Exams
Civil Service Exams by State Civil Service Exam Prep
Probation Officer Exam USPS Practice Test


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