office assistant

Navigating the Civil Service Office Assistant Exam: A Detailed Guide

Recordkeeping. Keyboarding, Math, grammar, and more… How good are your office skills? If you are seeking a job as a civil service office assistant, these are the skills you need to brush up on before taking the civil service pre-employment tests.

Take the Navigating the Civil Service Office Assistant Practice Test to improve your score.

What is the Civil Service Office Assistant Exam?

The civil service office assistant exam is a pre-employment test given to applicants for the position of office assistant in the civil service.

Because of the huge number of applications for a secure position in the civil service, the test is the civil service’s way of working through the list of applicants and selecting the best people to call for an interview.

The test is an assessment of your abilities to complete the work required of an office assistant. If your test results show you have those skills, you can expect to be invited to the interview process.

Is the Civil Service Office Assistant Exam Hard?

The test assesses if applicants have the skills required for the job. So, if you have trained in office work-related skills you should not expect to meet anything startling here.

However, even though the test material may be familiar, you will be facing a different type of questioning to others you may have encountered prior to this.

Other factors that add to the difficulty level of the tests are you will be doing them within strict time constraints. You will be in competition with a great many other people who covet the job you are looking for.

However, adequate preparation should see you acing the tests and progressing along the recruitment process.

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How Do I Prepare for the Civil Service Office Assistant Exam?

Considering the number of people you are going to be in competition with it is important that you use the services of an exam preparation company who are experienced in preparing applicants for exams of this type.

We recommend you rely on Job Test Prep to get accurate information on the tests and exam preparation resources. They can supply you with sample tests modeled on the real ones, detailed explanations of questions and answers and a means of getting your scores as you practice the tests.

The preparation resources come in test prep packs giving you sample tests on the areas you are repairing for.

To get an idea of the type of material you will be working on, try a free sample civil service test here.

As different states have different exams, it is essential you prepare for the precise exam you will be doing. Job test prep will be able to direct you to the one that is best suited to you. Or you can get all-inclusive prep packs that provide tests for a range of states.

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What is on the Office Assistant Civil Service Tests?

Your first step in preparing for any test is to familiarise yourself with the tests and the type of questioning you will have to deal with.

Preparing for a role in the civil service, you can expect tests in a number of areas.

You need to prepare for:

  • Vocabulary, grammar, word usage, spelling ability, and punctuation
  • Checking names and numbers – Showing attention to detail when doing this work
  • Ability to file documents – Using the alphabet and numerical ordering
  • Record keeping – Expect to be tested on your ability to read graphs and tables and to store and find information accurately
  • Math – Your basic Math skills will be tested
  • Comprehension – In your work as an office assistant you will need to use your comprehension skills. In this multiple-choice test expect to be presented with a written passage followed by a series of questions for you to select answers to. Practicing on passages with varying levels of difficulty will develop your skills here.
    Job test prep can supply you with approximately 19 of these exercises.
  • Keyboarding – this will assess your ability in formatting material, using capitals and punctuation. The employer will be interested in your proofreading skills here as well.
  • Office practice – Your ability to run a well-ordered office will be tested in a section called Office Practice. The employer needs to assure himself that you are capable of carrying out office duties in an effective and efficient manner.
  • Attention to detail – Expect your attention to detail to feature strongly in the testing process. Measure your ability to pay attention to detail with the following sample question.
  • Public contact principles and practice – Here you will be tested on your ability to deal with members of the public. You must show that you can give and receive information while being polite and professional at the same time.
    You will be expected to show the code of practice used by the branch of the civil service you expect to be working in.
  • Interviewing – This assesses how you deal with people. You may often have to solve problems that arise in conversations with colleagues and members of the public. Expect your skills in this area to come under scrutiny here.
  • Supervision – This looks at how you are likely to behave if given a role where you supervise other workers. Consider this an assessment of your likely workplace behavior.

A battery of assessments tests your abilities in leadership, decision making and problem-solving.
You can expect your interpersonal and communication skills as well as your ability to resolve conflicts in a positive manner to be scrutinized here.

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You can expect SJT tests for some of the above. If you are new to Situational Judgement Tests, you might like to try your hand at a free sample SJT here.

Remember that a lot of behavioral tests use your likely behavior to assess how you would measure up in situations. Develop a mental picture of the most appropriate behavior in a certain situation.

Office Assistant Practice Questions

Sample question – filing

Try your skills with this sample question:

If the names Ryan Helms, Ron Helsley, Rebecca Helm, and Ray Helms were arranged for alphabetical filing, the position of the name in bold would be:

A. First
B. Second
C. Third
D. Fourth

Answer and explanation

The correct answer is C.

First, we must prepare the names for alphabetic filing (that is, the last name is considered before the first name).

Helms Ryan, Helsley Ron, Helm Rebecca, Helms Ray.

Then we arrange by alphabetical order.

Helm Rebecca, Helms Ray, Helms Ryan, Helsley Ron.

Now we can see the names as they should be filed.

Rebecca Helm, Ray Helms, Ryan Helms, Ron Helsley.

Sample question – comparing & checking

Find the exact copy of this code: ##HIIFH257O388I.

A. ##HIIIFH257O388I
B. ##HIIFH2570388I
C. ##HIIFH257O338I
D. ##HIIFH257O388I

Answer and explanation

The correct answer is D.

Notice the mistakes in the wrong answers: A is wrong because there is an extra I;


B is wrong because an O was substituted by a 0;


C is wrong because an 8 was substituted by a 3;


To get an idea of some of the tests you are likely to face, try a short free sample civil service test here.

Use Your Sample Tests

If you have been trying the tests given here, you will have noticed that there is one important benefit that you don’t find in other practice materials. The time allowed for the tests is what causes most people trouble. Using the sample tests will train you to work within the time constraints and avoid the horror of not finishing tests on time.

Doing your first test or two you will find it hard to adjust to the time restrictions. But as you continue practicing, you will train yourself to recognize how much time you can allow for questions.

Using the sample tests carries other benefits as well:

  • You are becoming familiar with the style of questioning
  • You hone your skills from test to test
  • You can monitor your progress from test to test. This allows you to identify areas that are causing you difficulty and to devote more time to them
  • Knowing you are working on tests that simulate the real assessments, you will find your confidence increasing as you work through the tests.

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Try The Following Study Tips

For effective preparation, you need to take an organized approach to preparing for exams:

  1. Work to a timetable
  2. Designate a place as your preparation spot for the duration. Working under pressure demands that you work to a routine.
  3. Follow trusted study advice. Work in blocks of no longer than 50 minutes, followed by a 10-minute break. Build a short period into the end of each day’s work for revision. This will help you to retain material.
  4. Allow the day before the tests begin free for some last-minute reviews and for some rest. You need to be rested and clear-headed for the tests.
  5. Make sure sleep, nutrition, and exercise are part of your preparation tools. Your brain will work better as a result.

Test Day

Approach the tests with confidence. You know you have done everything in your power to ace the assessments and to progress to the interview stage.

If your dream job is to be a Civil Service Office Assistant you will find all the resources to help you ace the assessments here.

Written by Elizabeth O Mahony

With 25+ years’ experience as a teacher and state examinations corrector, Elizabeth now writes for the education and careers industry. Her experience preparing students for examinations and running an academy for supplementary education give her invaluable insights into what it takes for job seekers and graduates to succeed in assessments.

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