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Ace the California Civil Service Exam: Tips & Practice Guide

Are you thinking about applying to be a civil service employee in California? Are you interested in learning more about the requirements and what it takes to become a civil servant?

If so, you are in the right place! In this article, we’ll learn about the California 2023 Civil Service Exam and how you can practice scoring well enough to land a job you love.

Take the California Civil Service Exam Practice Test to improve your score.

How do I apply for a civil service job?

Because California is such a large state, you can apply for a civil service job in one of the following levels:

  • State
  • County
  • City
  • Department

Each job varies by level of employment, meaning you need to decide what part of the civil service industry you want to work in before beginning your search. Positions are posted on individual websites as well.

When looking for a civil service job, here are a few things you should consider:

  • Your work preferences – do you like working inside or outside? Do you want a desk job or one that requires you to be around the public and on your feet all day?
  • Your qualifications – do you have the appropriate education, certifications, or credentials to apply for the job
  • Your skills and abilities – what things are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What don’t you enjoy doing

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What is the Civil Service Exam like?

The California Department of Human Resources administers the tests, so you must contact them to schedule your test. When you take the test, you should have already met the minimum requirements of the position you’re applying for.

You will be assigned a testing site depending on your location in the state. The tests consist of questions ranging in subjects like mathematics to reading and writing. You might have to take a personality exam, which is used to assess things like your preferences and your working or learning styles.

Depending on the job you are applying for, you may be asked to take a more specific assessment as part of the hiring process. This ensures that you are not only competent in the basic requirements to be a civil servant in California but can also perform tasks directly related to your job.

Additional tests are often required for positions like police officers, accountants, or firefighters. Some examples of these are:

  • California Public Safety Exams – made for state, county, or city positions such as police officers, firefighters, corrections officers, or 911 emergency dispatchers.
  • Metric System Services (MSS) – applying for a position that uses metrics will require you to take the MSS test, which has its own PrepPack.

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How can I make sure I’m getting the most up-to-date information to study for the test?

Older versions of tests may contain different information that is no longer relevant, so updating your study materials is a must.

Job Test Prep offers a specialized PrepPack for the California Civil Service Exam that includes several practice tests in each subject you’ll be assessed on, sample questions, and study guides to help you understand the topics. For the position-specific tests, there are additional PrepPacks you can purchase to aid in your studying.

In addition to the more niched PrepPacks for specific positions, Job Test Prep also offers a General Civil Service All-Inclusive pack. This is useful for any job you could apply for in the civil service industry, especially if you have trouble deciding which career you want to pursue.

This Pack is one of the most significant online practice materials available, even allowing you to create a customized package. If you want to see what a PrepPack looks like before you purchase it, Job Test Prep also offers free Civil Service sample questions.

These will help you get a better understanding of how the questions on the test will be structured, along with helping you get used to the time limits you’ll have to answer each question. Using them in conjunction with the specific and general civil service PrepPacks is the ultimate way to be prepared to ace the California Civil Service Exam, no matter which position you’re applying for!

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Exam tips

Some more valuable tips for taking the California Civil Service Exam are:

  • Arrive 10-15 minutes early at the testing site. Allow time in your commute for traffic or unexpected situations.
  • Contact the job you are applying for to make sure you are signed up for the proper test. You will have to take the correct exam if you sit for the wrong one.
  • Purchase multiple PrepPacks for additional support. If you have any questions, contact the Job Test Prep customer service. They have a 100% money-back guarantee on all purchases.
  • Dress professionally for your test. You never know if your potential employer will be there!
  • Be sure to eat a healthy meal before you take the test.
  • Don’t drink a highly caffeinated beverage if you are sensitive to caffeine. If you are too energized, you may end up hindering your ability to perform well on the test.
  • Have a positive mindset as you begin. The less anxiety you have about taking the test, the more likely you are to focus while answering questions.

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How will my test scores impact my job search?

As always, your goal should be to score as high as possible on whichever tests you take. This way, it shows your employer you are competent in the necessary skills to do the job. You must achieve at least a “70” to be considered for any position within the California civil service system.

If you don’t get this score when you take the test the first time, don’t worry. You can always retake it, but you may have to reapply for the position. Overall, applying to work with the California Civil Service department can be confusing and challenging because the state is so large.

However, by utilizing the Job Test Prep study materials and preparing adequately, you will outshine other applicants. Being as ready as possible is key to ensuring success during the test-taking process. You should also strive to score high enough to be placed into the top pool of applicants.

Good luck!

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We also provide comprehensive preparation guides and practice tests for the following Civil Service Exams-

Written by Bailee Boggess McCoy

Bailee, MSW, is a freelance writer and editor. She specializes in career, social work, tech, B2B, marketing, and medical, health, and wellness content. She has experience as a job coach, DEI consultant for companies, community-project manager, and clinical researcher.

She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Georgetown College in 2018, and studied neurolinguistics and developmental psychology at the University of Oxford. She earned her Master’s in Social Work at the University of Kentucky in 2021. Her scientific research has been presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Associated Disorders.