Sheet: Civil Service Examinations
1. What is a civil
service examination? The City of New York fills many (not all) of its positions
through the civil service process. The city uses civil service exams to measure
a candidates merit and fitness for a particular
position. Taking an exam is the start of a hiring process that may lead to getting
a job with New York City.
2. Who may take a civil service examination?
Generally, there are two types of exams: open-competitive and promotional. Anyone
can take an open-competitive exam, if they meet the basic qualifications of the
position. Promotional exams are restricted to individuals already employed
in specific New York City job titles.
3. What should I expect when taking
a civil service examination? Civil service tests may be given in one of several
forms. Written tests may be given in either a multiple-choice or essay format.
Oral exams usually take the form of a panel interview. Education and Experience
exams are often given to rate a candidates qualifications for a professional
position, such as Electrical Engineer. Practical/Physical tests measure a candidates
skill or competence in performing specific tasks.
4. How do I find out
about scheduled civil service exams? You can do this in several ways: access
the Web site (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcas/html/home/home.shtml)
of the Dept. of Citywide Administrative Services; visit the DCAS Applications
Center at 2 Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.); call DCASs
automated phone system at 212-669-1357; or write the DCAS Applications Section,
1 Centre St., 14th Floor, New York, NY 10007. Also, check the Chief-Leader, a
weekly newspaper available at many city newsstands.
5. How do I apply
for a civil service examination? Once you decide you are interested in a particular
civil service examination, obtain and review the application packet for that position.
The application packet will contain a Notice of Examination, which outlines
the salary, general job responsibilities, and minimum qualifications for the position,
as well as the date of the examination. If you qualify, you must then file (register)
to take that examination.
Filing for an exam means completing required
application forms, paying a filing fee (which is waived under certain conditions)
by money order or credit card, and submitting these items to DCAS during the filing
period for the test. The filing period is usually a 20-day period during which
DCAS accepts applications for a specific exam.
6. How much does it cost
to file for the examination? Filing fees vary. You should expect to pay anywhere
from $30 to $60 to take a civil service examination.
7. When will the
civil service examination I applied for be held? Most civil service tests
are held three months after their filing period occurs. The exam schedule advises
you of the date for the examination.
8. Where will the civil service
examination I applied for be held? The City of New York usually holds exams
on Saturdays in area public schools. You should expect to receive an admissions
card 4-10 days before the exam.
Individuals who claim special circumstances
(for religious observances, for special accommodations for disabilities, etc.)
should complete and submit a Special Circumstances Form when they apply for
9. Why do I need an admission card to take a civil service
examination? An admission card allows you to be seated for an examination.
It also lets you know when and where an exam will be held, how long the exam will
be, and what you are allowed to bring with you.
10. What if I do not
receive my admission card? If you do not receive your admission card five
business days before an exam, contact the DCAS Examining Service Section at 1
Centre St., 14th Floor, New York, NY 10007.
11. What is a civil service
list? Once an examination has been scored, an Eligible List is created, in
rank order by passing score. Examination candidates are notified of their test
score and rank on the list. This Eligible List is used by New York City agencies
to hire employees. Generally, an Eligible List will last for about four years.
12. What is the difference between a provisional and a permanent employee?
A provisional employee is an employee who has been hired by New York City and
who has not taken a civil service test for that position. A permanent competitive
class employee has taken and passed a civil service exam for a specific job title
and has been certified with civil service status for that job title.
Does DC 37 offer assistance to those taking civil service examinations? Yes,
the DC 37 Education Fund offers test preparation classes for many (not all) civil
service examinations. This is a benefit extended to eligible employees covered
by the DC 37 Education Fund. (SSEU Local 371 members should contact their local,
since they are covered by a separate benefits agreement.)
Contact the DC
37 Education Fund during the filing period of the exam you want to take to
find out if test preparation classes are being offered.
14. Does DC
37 provide materials for those who will take civil service examinations? Yes,
the DC 37 Education Fund provides materials for those who register for the Education
Funds test preparation classes.
15. Is there a charge for these
test prep classes? The classes are held at no charge to eligible employees
covered by the DC 37 Education Fund.
16. Where are the test prep classes
held? Test prep classes are held in various locations throughout the metropolitan
area. You may contact the DC 37 Education Fund at 212-815-1681 for specific class
For additional information, contact the District Council 37
Education Fund, 125 Barclay St., Room 814, New York, NY 10007 (212-815-1700).
District Council 37 Education Fund