Preparing for the Civil Service Judgement Test

Guidance for job applicants who have been invited to complete the Civil Service Judgement Test through Civil Service Jobs.

Why the Civil Service uses online tests during recruitment

The Civil Service uses psychometric tests alongside other assessment methods (such as application forms, evidence of skills or behaviours, and interviews) to decide whether a person has the required capabilities to meet the needs of a job at a particular grade.

Tests can:

  • give candidates an opportunity to demonstrate their strengths
  • provide the recruiter with an objective method of assessing candidates on relevant criteria
  • help identify areas where candidates could benefit from further development

The tests are fair and free from bias or discrimination because:

  • they are robust as measurement tools – they work effectively each time they are used
  • there is no advantage in having more educational qualifications or work experience
  • provided that the test is administered appropriately, including the correct use of cut-off benchmarks, the tests have been found to be fair towards all protected groups and to predict candidates’ performance in later stages of selection

What the Civil Service Judgement Test measures

The Civil Service Judgement Test (CSJT) is an online situational judgement test. It measures your ability to demonstrate specific behaviours underpinning the Success Profiles that are relevant for the job you are applying for.

The test is used to help recruiters assess whether you meet the minimum requirements in the behaviours needed for the job you have applied for, rather than the skills that might be required for that job.

There are four versions of the CSJT that correspond to different levels of the Success Profiles. The version you see will depend on the grade of the job you have applied for, and the test will be made up of questions based on the specific Civil Service Behaviours required for that job.

Completing the test

The test is taken online and we will send you an invitation and will provide full instructions on how to complete the test.

There are two sections to the test. In the first section, you’ll be asked some questions about your aspiration and engagement. This section is a self-assessment, and only makes up 15% of your overall score. You should answer these questions honestly.

Aspiration is about your desire to progress in your work. You’ll be asked to rate how ambitious, motivated and flexible you are in a workplace context.

Engagement is about the level of your commitment to your work and to the organisation.

In the second section of the test, you’ll be given some workplace scenarios and you’ll need to decide how appropriate, or inappropriate, an action is.

There are four options to choose from:

  • Counterproductive - an unacceptable action that will make the situation worse
  • Ineffective - a poor action that will not help the situation
  • Fairly effective - a useful action that will be of some help in the situation
  • Effective - a good action that will help to resolve the situation

There are three scenarios for each behaviour. Each scenario asks you to rate four actions.

Scenarios for three of the behaviours are presented as short video clips: Communicating and Influencing, Leadership, and Working Together. Scenarios for the other behaviours are presented as text.

No specialist knowledge or experience is required.

You should complete the test on your own, as we may retest you under supervised conditions to validate your test results.

Practice questions are included at the beginning of each test.

No time limit

The test is not timed. As a general guide, most people take between six and eight minutes answering the questions for each behaviour, and ten to twelve minutes for the video questions.

While there is no time limit on the test, if you’re inactive for more than 25 minutes the test will time out and you’ll need to re-open the test from your application centre.

You can take as long as you need for the test, but you will need to complete it before the test deadline otherwise your job application will be rejected.

Before you start

You should try to take the test as early as possible after you’re invited, so that you will have time to resolve any technical or access issues before the deadline. All queries or requests for help should be submitted at least two working days before the test deadline to ensure a response.

  • Find a quiet place to take the test, with no distractions
  • Try to take the test when you are feeling calm, although it’s natural to feel a little nervous
  • Allow around an hour for the test, although it is not timed
  • Make sure you have read all the test instructions carefully
  • Answer every question that is presented to you

Practice test

Before taking these tests, we suggest you spend some time getting used to taking psychometric tests. A practice test is available.

Test access

If you have applied for a job that requires you to complete a test, you will be able to access the test from your Civil Service Jobs application centre.

The tests should work on most modern browsers and operating systems, and while they should work on smartphones or tablets, we recommend that you use a device with a larger screen if possible. If your browser is not supported, the test will alert you and suggest that you try an alternative.

Some workplaces block access to tests on their computers. If this is the case, you may need to try an alternative device.

You’ll need to remain connected to the internet for the duration of the test.

Some questions may be presented as videos, but alternative written transcripts of these videos are available from within the test.

It is possible to close the browser and re-open the test at the place you left off, but you can only do this twice after having initially started the test (three sessions in total).

Your score and results

The number and difficulty of the questions you answered is used to produce your score. It is not affected by how long you take to complete the test.

Your score is compared to the scores of a representative group of civil servants to create a percentile score. If your percentile score is 44, it means you scored better on this test than 44% of the group.

After the test deadline, the recruiter will look at the test scores for all applicants who have met at least the minimum required score, to decide what the pass mark will be. They will consider the impact on protected groups, and the number of available invitations to the next stage.

Meeting the minimum required standard for the test is no guarantee that you will be invited to the next stage of the selection process.

After you have completed all the tests you have been invited to, your score and automatically-generated feedback on your performance will be available from your application centre in Civil Service Jobs. This won’t include details of your answers to specific questions, which we can’t provide.

An earlier version of Civil Service Jobs displayed your results after each test, but this has changed and if you take more than one test you will receive all your test scores at the same time.

Your score for this test is not banked, so if you apply for future jobs at the same grade, you will need to retake the test.

Request help

If you lose access during the test, sign in to your application centre to relaunch the test. You can launch the test three times in total, and this doesn’t have to be on the same device.

If you need a reasonable adjustment to be made (for example, if your assistive technology is not compatible with the test), you should contact the recruitment team or the point of contact in the job advert.

For further support, contact your recruitment team. Their email address is in your application centre if you’re invited to take a test.

Alternatively, you can contact the recruitment team.

Questions about the advertised job should be directed to the contact on the job advert.

How we use your data

Your personal information is held securely in Civil Service Jobs. The test supplier does not see your personal information and will only know your name if you choose to share it with them.

Your information will only be used for the purposes of enabling your application for a job and for evaluating the effectiveness of the tests. For further details on how Civil Service Jobs uses your data, see the Civil Service Jobs Privacy Notice.

Published 10 July 2019