Civil Service Executive Officer Test

Ultimate Guide to Preparing for the Civil Service Executive Officer Test in 2024

A career in the Civil Service in the UK can be rewarding and life-long. Executive Officers work across departments, occupying roles like line managers, data analysts, and training officers.

Civil Servants in this tier must demonstrate people skills, administrative capabilities, strong problem-solving skills, and technical proficiency.

The Civil Service hiring process can be daunting. Applicants must pass psychometric and aptitude tests as the hiring department determines whether they are fit for the Executive Officer role.

After completing your application, you may be presented with up to seven psychometric tests. These include:

The Civil Service Executive Officer tests you are invited to take depend on the role you apply for — and the required score will also differ.

Applicants don’t need specialised knowledge or skills to take these job tests. However, the Civil Service strongly encourages you to prepare before you take Civil Service Executive Officer tests, and missing out on that opportunity hurts your chances.

What do these tests entail, and what is the best way to prepare? Keep reading to get one step closer to acing your Executive Officer tests!

What Is The Civil Service Initial Sift Test (CSIST)?

The Civil Service Initial Sift Test (CSIST) is the first test applicants applying for Executive Officer roles in the Civil Service take. This test determines whether you meet the minimum requirements to be considered for the position in question, and you will take it online.

Pass, and you will move on to the next stage in the application process.

This test has three levels, and prospective Executive Officers take the Level 2 CSIT. To determine whether your skills and actions are a good match for the Civil Service, the CIST asks two types of questions:

  • Select the correct answer from a list of multiple-choice answers.
  • Rate each possible solution on a range from least appropriate to most appropriate.

Candidates have 30 minutes to complete the EO-level CSIST, and only those who score above average will move forwards in the application process.

The CSIST is your chance to get your foot in the door if you dream of a career in the Civil Service, and the time limit piles the pressure on. So we can’t overstate the importance of preparing for this test, and Job Test Prep’s CSIST practice tests offer a great way to do just that.

What Is On The Civil Service Executive Officer Test?

Lady working on MS excel software

The psychometric tests applicants applying for Executive Officer roles in any Civil Service department are asked to take depend on the precise vacancy and department.

For example, customer service skills are paramount if you apply for a public-facing role, whilst applicants who would like to work in a budgetary role need to have especially excellent numerical skills. All prospective Civil Servants should demonstrate sound judgement and reasoning skills, meanwhile.

Keep reading to discover which aptitude and psychometric tests you may take when you apply for an Executive Officer role.

The Civil Service Verbal Test

The Civil Service Verbal Test (CSVT) measures your ability to identify relevant information and make reasoned conclusions. Applicants are presented with a series of multi-paragraph passages packed with information.

They are then presented with a question about the passage and asked whether the answer is “true,” “false,” or “cannot say.”
This portion of the test is not timed, and the time you take to complete the answers doesn’t affect the score.

Job Test Prep offers a free verbal reasoning test to help you prepare.

The Civil Service Numerical Test

The numerical portion of the Executive Officer application process, the CSNT, assesses your ability to perform calculations and process numbers in practical settings. Applicants will be given information that includes numerical data in the form of graphs, charts, or tables.

After reading the instructions carefully and evaluating the data, you answer the question in a multiple-choice format.

You’ll get better at taking numerical tests with practice, so try one of Job Test Prep’s numerical reasoning tests by clicking the link!

The Civil Service Situational Judgement Test

The situational judgement test that Executive Officers take has two components. The first part of the CSJT takes a closer look at your behaviour and ambitions — easy because you simply have to answer honestly.

Once this part is done, applicants are given a series of scenarios and asked which actions would be most and least effective in the given situation.

The scenarios may be presented in text or video format or a combination of both. This depends on the role you are applying for.

Practice makes perfect, and applicants are encouraged to prepare for this test. Job Test Prep comes to the rescue with its situational judgement tests.

The Civil Service Management Judgement Test

Prospective Executive Officers applying for managerial positions will also need to take the Civil Service Management Judgement Test.

This test examines how skilled you are at guiding a team, how well you perform when making decisions, and to what extent you consider your team members’ feelings. It also measures your confidence and resilience.

The Civil Service Management Judgement Test presents applicants with varied workplace scenarios. You share which option you are most and least likely to choose. Read carefully — there will be some trick questions!

The Civil Service Work Strengths Test

This Civil Service aptitude test looks at applicants’ strengths and passions. For example, future Executive Officers may be analytical, excel at organising, or be service-oriented.

After being asked about your usual behaviour and preferences, the test offers scenarios you may face in your future position. You will rate the possible solutions in terms of efficiency.

You’ll then face the same scenarios again but are instead asked how you are most likely to react.

The Civil Service Customer Service Skills Test

Future Executive Officers who applied to work in public-facing roles (such as in the Department for Work and Pensions) will need to prove they are suited for these roles. The customer service skills test assesses your ability to deal with demanding customers and make good decisions under pressure.

The Civil Service Casework Skills Test

This aptitude test is for potential caseworkers. It has two components. The first looks at your ability to judge how accurate the information you process is. The second evaluates your ability to function in a real-life scenario.

What Other Tests May Prospective Executive Officers Take?

A Student working on laptop

You may also be asked to take part in a slew of other tests tailored to the Executive Officer role you are applying for and the Civil Service department you are interviewing for.
Read on to discover what other online tests the Civil Service may have in store.

The Civil Service Personality Test

This test allows the department you are applying with to learn more about you and tests whether you fit into the Civil Service Competency Framework. If you have ever taken a Meyers-Briggs personality test, you will already be familiar with the format of personality tests.

Applicants should expect to share which of the three options best describes their personality and answer honestly.

The e-Tray Test

The Executive Officers of tomorrow come face-to-face with scenarios they may encounter in their future work and describe how they would respond. This test allows the hiring officers to evaluate how competent you are likely to be in the job for which you applied.

The Checking Test

This online test assesses how good you are at finding errors in data. The tasks on this test may include numerical data and texts.

A Video Interview

Only some parts of the Civil Service application process unfold in person. You have already taken online tests. You might be invited to a video interview that lasts approximately 20 minutes if you performed well. Eight questions are on the menu, and candidates should answer these honestly.

What Do The Civil Service Assessment Centre Exercises Entail?

The British Civil Service offers multiple distinct employment tracks and your track is crucial in determining your hiring process. Fast Stream candidates — recent graduates applying for Executive Officer roles — are invited to attend an Assessment Centre to evaluate their aptitudes.

You will meet current Civil Servants and other applicants during this process, which aims to determine if you are the right fit for the Civil Service at large and the department you are applying with.

Keep reading to discover what awaits during Assessment Centre exercises.

Written Exercises

These exercises have a built-in time limit. First, candidates are presented with written information, which you should read carefully. You then have to formulate a response, brief, or report.

Written exercises examine your ability to process texts and numerical data, your proficiency as a writer and thinker, and your ability to cope with time pressure.

Aptitude Tests

Similar to the online aptitude tests you have already taken, these tests serve to verify the data from your earlier results or to gain deeper insights.


Some Executive Officer candidates may have to prepare a short presentation related to the role for which they applied. Don’t worry; you will know the topic ahead of time and have the chance to research it.

Role-Play Situations

Role play is a key component of Assessment Centre interviews, and successful applicants can also expect to encounter role play in their training. An interviewer plays a customer or other relevant party while you perform the role assigned to you.

Group Activities

Your interview process may place you in a room with other applicants. You may role-play, debate, or engage in team-building exercises.

Analysis Tasks

These tasks call on candidates to evaluate proposals, make recommendations, identify trends, and describe how they reached their conclusions.

Leadership Exercises

Designed to determine whether you have strong leadership skills that may allow you to advance in the Civil Service, this test presents you with various scenarios and asks you to rate your responses.

How Do I Prepare For The Civil Service Executive Officer Test?

Focused Black Man Writing on Paper During Studies

Applying for a Civil Service job is daunting, especially if you have long dreamed of a career in public service. Solid preparation is half the work. You can apply for the aptitude tests the Civil Service will throw at you in many ways:

  • Take practice tests! The Civil Service strongly encourages candidates to take practice tests. Look up old tests and see how you perform. Out-of-the-box thinkers have higher odds of succeeding, and the excellent platform Job Prep Test offers an extensive selection of online tests to help you prepare for the tests prospective Executive Officers in the Civil Service face.
  • Set up a quiet environment. Civil Service online aptitude tests are challenging. Minimise distractions and ensure you have a quiet and peaceful working environment where you can focus on the questions.
  • Read each passage at least twice. Take advantage of the fact that the online portion of Civil Service aptitude testing is not timed, and read every passage at least twice.
  • Familiarise yourself with the format. Practice tests enable you to get an intimate look at how Civil Service tests phrase questions. The format will become second nature in no time.

Is The Civil Service Executive Officer Test Hard?

Yes! Not everyone can join the Civil Service. Only candidates who fit into the Civil Service Competency Framework, who possess the right skills, and who can pass extensive background checks ultimately succeed.

Deeply-prepared candidates have the edge because you don’t just need to demonstrate solid thinking and problem-solving skills. You must also show you can work within the massive team the Civil Service represents.

A Final Word

Solid preparation is half the work — and, knowing you are ready to handle any question the Civil Service presents you with, you’ll go into every stage of the application process feeling more confident.

Our advice? Practice — and practice some more. Job Test Prep has some of the most extensive Civil Service Executive Officer practice tests, and you can take these tests for free as many times as you want.

Don’t rest until you can answer the challenging questions the Civil Service confronts you with in your sleep, and you are already ahead of the curve!