Guidance

Civil Service online tests

Guidance for job candidates asked to complete an online test, as part of the recruitment process.

Online tests - an introduction

When you apply for a job in the Civil Service, we may want to assess you using a psychometric test. Tests are an effective way of assessing people fairly, consistently and transparently.

Civil Service online tests

There are three commonly used tests:

  • the Civil Service Verbal Test (CSVT)
  • the Civil Service Numerical Test (CSNT), and
  • the Civil Service Judgement Test (CSJT).

You may be asked to complete one or more of these - we’ll say whether this is the case on the job advert. No specialist knowledge or experience is needed for our tests.

Preparing for our tests

When you take our tests, you should be prepared.

There are a variety of ways to do this. To help you, we have produced a range of practice tests, detailed test guidance and informational videos.

Practice tests provide an authentic test-taking experience, so you can understand how our tests work:

Detailed test guidance covers the specific processes to follow when taking our tests:

Informational videos address each of the commonly-used tests and how they work, as well as general questions around reasonable adjustments and accessibility, test-taking mindset and test fairness.

Test-taking mindset and preparation - how to get ready for taking a test with the right frame of mind, and general preparation tips.

Taking a test

Tests are taken online. If you apply for a job and need to complete a test, you will be sent an email invitation, with full instructions on how to proceed. Test answers should be your own; you must not ask for help from anyone.

Reasonable adjustments & test accessibility

The Civil Service is committed to being the most inclusive employer in the UK.

If you have a disability and need adjustments during the recruitment process, we have a legal duty to provide one. When you apply, you should tell us about the help you need.

See our reasonable adjustments guide for candidates (online tests).

It’s not always easy to ask for an adjustment, so we have developed some example case studies, to act as a guide. You can use these to help you decide whether to ask for help, or take the test without help.

You should also take the appropriate practice test before taking an actual test. If you experience difficulties accessing either type of test, you can contact the recruiter in the job advert for further help.

Test results & feedback

Once you have completed the test, you can access test feedback by going to your application centre.

Your test score is calculated from your responses, which we compare with the results of a peer group who took the same test - this creates a percentile. For example, if you score at the 44th percentile, it means you scored better than 44% of the comparison group. Meeting the minimum required percentile is no guarantee of an invite to continue the selection process.

For the judgment test you will receive a feedback report to help you understand your test performance. This also provides general suggestions about how to improve further.

You won’t be given answers to specific test questions, to avoid compromising the security of the test. If we shared test answers, this would give an unfair advantage to anyone who has them.

Banked test scores

Some of our tests allow you to save your test score, if you’ve done well, so you don’t need to take the test again during a set period. We call this process “banking”.

If you meet the minimum required test standard on the CSVT or CSNT, your score will be banked for six months. You won’t need to complete the same test for subsequent job applications, at the same grade, during this time.

You cannot transfer banked scores from one test to a different test, or from one job grade to a different grade.

When you apply for a job requiring a test, Civil Service Jobs will check if you have an applicable banked test score in the relevant system.

  • If you do - you won’t be invited to the test.
  • If you don’t - you will be invited to the test, and must take it.

Questions or concerns

When you apply for your role, you will be provided with information about how to raise queries or concerns and resolve issues.

Published 7 November 2019
Last updated 8 November 2019 + show all updates
  1. Amended links to practice tests
  2. First published.