Participating in an Examination

Most examinations are held periodically, such as once a year. Some examinations are held on a continuous recruitment basis. This means that applications are accepted continuously, qualified applicants are tested on an as-needed basis and successful candidates' names are added to the eligible list continuously. The examination announcement forms provide more detailed information on eligibility and on the opportunity for re-tests to improve scores. Find out more about the different types of examinations.

State civil service written tests are conducted in various locations throughout the State, usually in schools or colleges. The tests are administered by State-appointed monitors who check in the candidates, explain procedures, distribute test materials, supervise the test administration and then collect all the materials for shipment back to Albany for processing.

Oral tests are also conducted throughout the State, but more often in Albany and New York City than in other locations. Typically, panels of two or three expert examiners ask candidates to discuss job-related issues or problem situations. The particular format and approach may vary, but orals generally test for interpersonal and other skills not easily measurable by other selection devices.

A small percentage of State jobs do not require that you take a competitive Civil Service exam. You can contact a State agency to inquire if they are hiring for any positions that do not require one. Positions that do not require an exam include those such as Laborer, Cook, Painter, Electrician, Highway Equipment Operator and Hospital Attendant.

There may be test guides and resource booklets available.