Mastering the Civil Service Accounting Exam: A Complete Prep Guide

The civil service exams are national exams given by the U.S. government to all applicants for state job positions. Working as a state-employed accountant is one of the positions that the government offers.

With the stability and benefits that the government offers employees, there is a lot of interest in the position. Knowing the testing format, practicing the testing materials, and getting ready to ace the test is crucial.

Take the Civil Service Accounting Practice Test to improve your score.

This article can provide you with all the knowledge you need about the Civil Service Accounting Exam and will help you in landing that governmental job position.

Civil Service Accounting Exam Study Guide

What is the Civil Service Accounting Exam?

Working for the government and their institutions, the U.S. government does extensive screening and testing for their applicants.

In order to ensure fair treatment, they employ based on the civil service test score, along with other parameters such as theoretical academic knowledge and previous experience. This combined method of assessment gives everyone a fair chance but employs only the best candidates for the job.

If you want to get employed in the government, your exam score is the most important requirement. Furthermore, the results from the test are then sorted from highest score to lowest, so the better you perform on the test, the bigger your chances to actually get called for a follow-up interview and land a job.

The Civil Service Accounting Exam has the same rules as most of the other civil service exams. They are tailored depending on the qualities and knowledge that the person should have for that particular job.

When can I take a Civil Service Accounting Test?

Overall, there are 3 types of tests:

  • Open-competitive exams: Available for all applicants that have the minimum requirement needed i.e. suitable degree and experience.
  • Promotion exams: Open for permanent employees or 55-a city employees that want to apply for a promotion.
  • Qualified-incumbent exams: Open for provisional city employees with several years of existing experience.

The results from the test are valid for 4 years, and the score list is used as soon as a job position opens up.

The requirements and the dates for the civil service accounting test differ from jurisdiction. Some might be open for a continuous time, while others will be done only when a need for a new accountant arises.

The best way to know if, when, and how an accounting test will be given is to follow and regularly check the local or state websites. The civil service test has a non-refundable fee you need to pay for taking the test. So, before signing up for it, make sure that you also possess the other requirements.

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How long do civil service tests take?

The time frame for completion of the Civil Service Accounting Test differs depending on the job position they have vacant and the type of test that is given.

Usually, the test lasts a couple of hours. If you have practiced and are familiar with the format of the questions, that time frame is more than enough for completing the test and proofreading.

What is the civil service recruitment process?

  • The first step is to follow the state official websites and their updates about vacant job positions.
  • Once you find something you want to apply for, check the minimum requirements and make sure that you possess them.
  • The next step is applying and taking the Civil Service Accounting Test suitable for the position.
  • You may need to take some assessment tests
  • Do an interview

What kind of questions are on the Civil Service Accounting Tests?

Depending on the job position and work responsibilities, the test varies in complexity and content of questions.

Overall, there are some broad sections that will be covered on the Civil Service Accounting Test.

Accounting terminology and basic principles

Almost all of the civil service tests will require at least basic knowledge of accounting terminology and operating principles.

Accounting problems

Accounting problems that come with the job position might also be included in the tests. These might be interest, financial analysis, or depreciation. These tests, depending on the particular job position, might also include some questions about related fields like legislation, law, business, or management.

Arithmetic skills

This part of the test will measure basic mathematical, logical, and arithmetic skills. Calculations with the four basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), as well as calculations of percentages, decimals, and averages, will be included. These questions might be in the form of textual problems or formulas.

Depending on the particular test, or the state practice, you might or might not be allowed to use a calculator. This will be clearly stated before the test starts.


This part will require candidates to show knowledge about basic bookkeeping: transactions, documents, entries, work with lists, etc. Clean and organized bookkeeping is crucial in accounting. Graphs and charts

Reading, organizing, and understanding graphical or illustrational info is also very important when working as an accountant. This part of the test will measure how well a person can read and manipulate information shown through a graph, chart, or table.

Clerical operations

If the job position is clerical or assistant, the candidate will need some knowledge about coding or filling systems. Those might include sorting something in alphabetical order, numbering, counting, comparing, and working with labeling systems.

Reading Comprehension

Reading and processing of information might also be important for some job positions. That’s why the test might measure your ability to read, understand and draw conclusions from certain given info. It’s important to note that all the information you need for answering these kinds of questions will be in the provided passages. This part of the test doesn’t measure your knowledge, instead, it measures your ability to logically think and draw conclusions.

Grammar and Writing

This set of questions will check and measure the candidates’ ability to write in a clear, professional, and understandable manner. That might include correct grammar, correct structure of the sentences, reordering and re-writing the content to make it more understandable, etc.

This is especially important for job positions that include showing and presenting finds and analytics, people who work in teams and need to communicate with their teammates through written mediums.

Record Keeping

Similarly to bookkeeping, keeping records about transactions, organizing lists and tables, collecting information from multiple sources, summarizing extensive reports, drawing percentages, averages, minimums, and maximums. These things might be crucial for certain accounting positions. Thus, they can find their way into the testing material too.

Supervision Skills

For some job positions, there might be a need for supervision or management. If that is the case, the test will measure those skills too. They might include planning, organizing, motivating, working in a group, managing, etc. The format of these questions is usually in the form of a given problem to which the candidate should select the answer he/she mostly agrees with.

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What is a good score on the Civil Service Accounting Test?

The scoring of the test tends to go by the number of right answers compared to the total number of questions. The scores of all candidates that took the test are then listed from best to worst scores. That list is used as a reference point for further interviews.

As previously mentioned, the test is not the only parameter taken into account. For most accounting job positions, you are also required to have an adequate academic level and degree, as well as previous experience in the field.

For some positions, only candidates that obtain at least 70% of the answers right will be taken into consideration. That gives a lot of importance to the test and the score.

The next section will give you useful information that can help you in practicing the Civil Service Accounting Test.

Can you practice for the Civil Service Accounting Exam?

Practicing the test before actually taking it, is very important if you want to pass it with the highest score possible.

Job Test Prep is one of the biggest online libraries with thousands of practice materials for all kinds of job positions you want to apply for. They regularly keep track and update their testing and practicing materials, making sure that they give their users the best experience ever.

Getting ready for a government-issued test might be stressful, but with their help, you will know that you will practice the right questions, in the right format.

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What does Job Test Prep offer?

Job Test Prep offers their all-inclusive civil service pack if you want to have access to hundreds of tests in different categories, including math, English language, clerical and typing, reasoning and logic, situational and spatial orientation, accounting, memory, and personality tests. They will also include 2 full-length civil service exam simulations and 9 study guides to help you.

If you want to concentrate your learning and only dedicate your time and efforts to the testing you need for a particular job position, they offer job-specific exercising materials too.

Accountant Trainee 1

The test itself will measure your abilities in subjects like general accounting, general auditing, understanding and interpreting tabular information, understanding and interpreting written information, preparation of reports and documents, governmental accounting, supervision and basic mathematics.

The prep pack from Job Test Prep includes:
10 General Accounting tests

  • 5 Supervision tests
  • 19 Understanding and interpreting written material tests
  • 13 Understanding and interpreting tabular material tests
  • 15 Preparing reports and official documents tests
  • 8 Basic math tests
  • Fully detailed explanations teaching the simplest & quickest methods

Account Technician Exam

The Civil Service Test for Account Technician will include questions related to written expression, reading comprehension, working with tabular information (reading, understanding, concluding, interpreting), situational judgment (planning, organizing, and managing of a work team and activities), office practice and protocols.

Job Test Prep will provide you with the following practice tests:

  • 10 Accounting tests
  • 26 Clerical Abilities tests
  • 5 Office Practices and Procedures tests
  • 20 Verbal Reasoning tests
  • 20 More numerical practice tests
  • 5 Logical Reasoning tests
  • 5 Situational Judgment Tests
  • 6 different study guides
  • Fully detailed explanations

Budget Analyst Test

The Budget Analyst Civil Service Test will measure your capabilities in the following categories: writing and grammar, working with tabular materials (interpreting tables and graphs), working with written materials (reading, understanding, interpreting), logical reasoning and evaluating, and budgeting.

With Job Test Prep materials, you can better your knowledge through:

  • 19 Understanding and interpreting written material tests
  • 13 Understanding and interpreting tabular material tests
  • 3 Evaluating conclusions in lights of known facts tests
  • 15 Preparing written material tests
  • Study Guide
  • Fully detailed explanations teaching the simplest & quickest methods

Senior Account Clerk Civil Service Exam

The Senior Account Clerk needs to know the following fields: office record keeping, working with written material (reading, understanding, interpreting), abilities to clearly write reports, working with tabular material — understanding and interpreting graphs and tables —, arithmetic calculations with the use of a calculator, clerical operations with numeric and alphabet systems, account keeping and bookkeeping, supervision and teamwork.

If you need to pass the Senior Account Clerk Civil Service Exam, use the help of Job Test Prep and their tests:

  • 5 Office record keeping tests
  • 13 Understanding and interpreting tabular material tests
  • 5 Supervision tests
  • 8 Arithmetic computation tests
  • 3 Name and number checking tests
  • 12 Detecting errors tests
  • 19 Understanding and interpreting written material tests
  • 3 Clerical operations with letters and numbers tests
  • 15 Preparing written material tests
  • 10 Fundamentals of account keeping and bookkeeping tests
  • Fully detailed explanations teaching the simplest & quickest methods

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The Civil Service Exam for Accounting job positions is one of the most important parts of the hiring process. If you want to get a governmental job as an accountant, you would need to regularly check official websites for open positions.

As soon as a position opens up, make sure that you have the right degree and previous experience that they need. If you do so, the next (and hardest) part is to ace the Civil Service Accounting Exam. A good score will automatically better your chances of getting the job.

With the help of Job Test Prep, you can practice your civil service test and get useful tips that will help you get the highest score possible.

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Written by Victoria Todorovska

Victoria (or Viki) is a Freelance Writer, Psychologist, and Gestalt Therapy Consultant. With years of experience in higher education as well as counselling others, she is well-placed to offer expert advice on guiding others up the career ladder.