Guidance

Managing online tests (vX)

A guide for recruiters on how to add online tests to vacancies in Civil Service Jobs, and manage candidates taking tests.

There are seven online tests available in vX:

  • Civil Service Verbal Test (shortened in this document to: Verbal Test)
  • Civil Service Numerical Test (Numerical Test)
  • Civil Service Judgement Test (Judgement Test)
  • Civil Service Management Judgment Test (Management Judgment Test)
  • Civil Service Work Strengths Test (Work Strengths Test)
  • Customer Service Skills Test (Customer Service Test)
  • Casework Skills Test (Casework Test)

Adding tests to a vacancy

A recruiter can add tests to a vacancy using the Online tests section in the Create New Vacancy page.

Test grade - ensure that the grade is correct based upon the grade for the job.

Progress options:

  • Auto-progress after each test - Candidates will automatically progress to the next test or recruitment stage if they meet the minimum standard for the grade. This can help to speed up the initial part of the process, but at a cost of being able to manually sift on numbers progressing. .
  • Manual sift after each test - Enables you to raise the pass mark above the grade pass mark. This can help to raise the quality of the candidate pool and reduces numbers moving to the next test/stage. It may be a slower process, and raising the pass mark too high can risk discriminating against some candidates.
  • Deadline option - this will default to the same deadline for all tests, but can be manually altered.

Deadline option - this will default to the same deadline for all tests. If the tests come before the full application form, set the test deadline to be the same as the application form deadline.

Setting the order of the tests

The tests are arranged into three groups:

Test Group AA/AO EO HEO/SEO G6/G7 Timed?
Civil Service Judgement Test A Yes Yes Yes G7 only No
Civil Service Numerical Test A Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Civil Service Verbal Test A Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Civil Service Management Judgement Test B No Yes Yes No No
Civil Service Work Strengths Test B Combined AA/ AO/ EO Combined AA/ AO/ EO Combined HEO/ SEO/ G6/ G7 Combined HEO/ SEO/ G6/ G7 No
Casework Skills Test C Yes Yes No No Yes
Customer Service Skills Test C Yes Yes No No Yes

You can select the order of the groups, and the order of the tests within each group.

You can choose any number of tests from each group. All tests within a group must be completed before the candidate can start the next group. For example:

  • you can select 2 tests from group B, followed by 2 tests from group A
  • you cannot select a test from group A, then a test from group C, and then go back to another test from group A

In the online tests section of the vacancy creation form:

  1. Select the order of your groups
  2. Within each group, select the number of tests you want to use
  3. Select the order of the tests within each group

Candidate guidance

Candidates get full instructions about how to complete tests on Civil Service Jobs.

You can refer candidates to these pages if they wish to know more about the tests, including taking practice tests:

Reasonable adjustments during tests

Some candidates may need assistance during test stages. Vacancy holders are responsible for making an informed decision about adjustments, taking into account the law, departmental policy, the Workplace Adjustment Guide, and the test taker’s individual needs.

There are two guidance documents, and your recruitment teams should be familiar with both:

Most tests are not timed, except for the Customer Service and Casework tests - which contain timed sections.

If the candidate’s session is interrupted, they can re-open the test page unlimited times within the test deadline, except in the Judgement Test, which can only be re-opened twice (further re-opens will require a reset).

The Judgement test will timeout after 25 minutes of inactivity, but the other tests will not timeout.

Some common alterations are:

  • Varying the screen display, including text size, colour and contrast - depending on the browser used, applicants should be able to alter these themselves
  • Video alternatives - questions in video format include a written transcript and optional subtitles
  • Paper-based alternatives for the Verbal and Numerical tests. The other tests do not currently have a paper-based alternative, but using a personal reader’s support may be an option.

Extending a test deadline

To let a candidate take an online test after the test closing date:

  1. Find the candidate’s Application Summary.
  2. Select the Deadline options button.
  3. Select Yes for Bypass test/form deadline and enter the reason.
  4. Submit.

The candidate can launch their test, even though the deadline has passed.

Time extensions on the Casework and Customer Service tests

  1. Find the candidate’s Application Summary.
  2. (Optional) If the candidate has already started or completed a test, move them back to the Invited to [Casework/Customer Service Skill Test] status, go to their Test Results tab, and select Delete for that test.
  3. Select Deadline and time extension options.
  4. Select the time extension required for each test. Extensions of 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% can be applied.
  5. A deadline override can be selected if required. If no deadline override is required, select No for Bypass test/form deadline.
  6. Submit.

Contacting a candidate

After making changes for a candidate, send them a confirmation.

  1. Select Communication, then Send Correspondence.
  2. Select the Blank template and enter your message confirming the new deadline or other change.
  3. Send Correspondence.

Resetting a test

The process to allow a candidate to retake a test differs between the tests.

Resetting the Verbal, Numerical, Management Judgement, Work Strengths, Customer Service, and Casework tests

Candidates can access these tests unlimited times (within the deadline), without needing a reset.

  • Find the candidate’s Application Summary.
  • Select the Test Results tab, then the Reset link for the test.
  • Select the Administration button, then Other Status.
  • Select Invited to [test name].
  • Tick the Run Automatic Actions box, then Change Status.

The candidate can now retake the test. Contact the candidate to confirm the change.

Resetting the Civil Service Judgement Test

Candidates can access the test on three separate occasions without needing to reset it.

  • Find the candidate’s Application Summary.
  • Select the Test Results tab, then the Reset link for the Civil Service Judgement Test.
  • Select the Move back to invited after manual reset button.

The candidate status will change to Invited to Civil Service Judgement Test and they can retake the test. Contact the candidate to confirm the change.

Invitation and reminder emails

Emails are sent to the candidate automatically:

  • An invitation to take the test. This includes the test deadline and how to access the tests.
  • Reminder emails are sent every 3 days, and include the same details.

You can see these emails in the application history.

Reviewing scores

Candidates who score lower than the system-set minimum percentile for each test will automatically move to Rejected after [testname]. They will not be invited to the next test.

If auto-progress is set to Yes, successful candidates will automatically be invited to the next test or recruitment stage.

If auto-progress is set to No, your candidates will remain at On hold after first/second/third test if they have passed the test. This allows for a review of scores between tests.

Find candidates

  1. Find the vacancy and go to the Applications tab.
  2. Select the link next to the relevant status - On hold after first/second/third test - to show all candidates on hold after passing that test.

Add columns for scores to the table

Create a layout to include columns for scores. If you have saved one previously, you can select it to see all candidate scores.

  1. Select the 15 > Online Test Scores layout, then the Customise Layout icon to the right.
  2. Delete any columns you don’t want.
  3. To save this layout, select the Save Options tab, enter the Layout title then Save Changes.

The table will show your candidates and their scores.

Moving candidates after a manual sift

Use the below instructions to progress and reject candidates. Candidates applying under the disability confident scheme should progress if they’ve met the minimum grade standard.

Successful candidates

  1. Select all of the successful candidates.
  2. Select Status button, then Progress Application.
  3. Confirm.

Unsuccessful candidates

  1. Select all of the unsuccessful candidates.
  2. Select Status button, then Reject Application.
  3. Confirm.

Banked scores

Candidates achieving the minimum required pass mark will have their scores banked on either the Numerical or Verbal Tests. Score banking may be implemented for the other tests at a later date.

Civil Service Judgement Test scores cannot be banked as different behaviours are selected for each vacancy.

When an applicant has a banked score they are not asked to retake the same test, providing it is:

  • set at the same job level, and
  • within the same system.

Scores will be banked for six months, or until a new score benchmark is applied, whichever is sooner. This means that if a candidate applies for another vacancy at this grade they may not have to retake the test within that time.

Before inviting a candidate to a test, the system will first check if they have a banked score at the same level. If they do, they will move to the next stage. If they don’t, they are invited to take a test.

If they have made multiple applications at the same time, banked a score against one of the vacancies, their banked score will not be read across for the other applications. They will still be required to take the test.

Viewing an individual’s scores

  1. Find the candidate’s Application Summary.
  2. Select the Test Results tab, then select the relevant test. The Numerical test is shown as ONT, and the Verbal test is OVT.
  3. You can see test scores and the Date Valid Until (for banked scores) and download the Judgement Test candidate and recruiter reports.

Feedback for candidates

Candidates receive automated feedback in Civil Service Jobs to help them understand how well they performed.

Feedback is only visible after all tests are completed.

Technical issues

Our test providers can be contacted directly for support around technical issues, please note:

They cannot access personal information about candidates’ names, email addresses, or vacancies applied to, and should not be provided with these details.They are not able to see a candidate’s banked scores.

You can provide them with an anonymised candidate_ID or application_ID if they need to investigate an issue.

  • For the Judgement Test only - ClientServicesTM@psionline.com
  • For all other tests – UKCSsupport@psionline.com

Please always cc OnlineTests@cabinetoffice.gov.uk in your communications with the test providers.

For issues with Civil Service Jobs or Oleeo vX, contact the Product and Support Team: support.csjobs@cabinetoffice.gov.uk.

Published 9 October 2019
Last updated 7 October 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated banked scores information

  2. Updated to include Management Judgment Test and Work Strengths Test.

  3. Updated to reflect changes to the online test setup form.

  4. Updated for new numerical and verbal tests.

  5. First published.