Civil Service Examination: How to prepare and what to expect

A Personal Journey as an Exam Taker at Civil Service Exam

April 14, 2013

Career Service Professional Examination
Paper-and-Pencil Test (PPT)
CSE-PPT Passers
Civil Service Examination
Philippines Government Agencies

Civil Service Examination How to prepare and what to expect

Civil Service Examination How to prepare and what to expect

MANILA – I took the civil service exam last April 14, 2013 in a public school somewhere in Cubao, Quezon City. A career shift I never plan to get myself into. It was in fact part of family members who are civil servants pushing the younger generation to get into the system.

I was supposed to take the Civil Service Examination 3 years ago, due to time constraints I finally did in April 2013. Armed with confidence (hahaha!), self-knowledge, common sense and without a hint of review. I conquered a grueling Career Service Professional Examination scheduled for 3 hours (from 8AM to 11AM). My notice came two (2) days before the exam, adding up the 3 weeks I followed up via text brigade and emails. The Civil Service coordinator  will send you an SMS (text) and an email pertaining to your Online Notice of School Assignment (NOSA) to be printed out and brought during the examination day.

SMS Message:
“This is to inform you that you have been conditionally admitted to take the CS Professional Exam to be held on April 14, 2013, 6:60 a.m. at Room No. 14 of R. MAGSAYSAY (Cubao) HIGH SCHOOL, EDSA (In Front of NEPA Q MART) Q.C.
Note: On exam day, bring the same ID submitted during filing of application, lead pencil #2 and ballpen.”

Career Service Professional Examination

The actual examination started at exactly 8AM. However, we were advised to settle in at least 7AM to accomplish a master list (assigned per room, per batch) filling up complete names, important personal details and thumbprints. The total number of items to be shaded are 150, the first 20 questions are about your personal details (with auto-correct answers). The rest of the questionnaire for Professional Level includes vocabulary, grammar and correct usage, paragraph organization, reading comprehension, analogy, logic, and numerical reasoning; both in English and Filipino format.

Items about General Information, which include the following areas: Philippine Constitution, Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (R.A. 6713), Peace and Human Rights Issues and Concepts, and Environment Management and Protection are seen on the last part of the examination.

For this year, honestly I was a slacker and over-confident. I thought I’ve read enough and have retained vocabulary on my nutty shells since the day I started to comprehend phonemes and words in my early years of education. But that was years and years ago (you don’t want to know!). The Civil Service Examination is largely made up of analogy and problem-solving, I was saying to myself – “immersing yourself from your parenting blogging conferences about Galileo Math, Singapore Math and BrainFit, you must deal with it easier compared to others!” Aha! I did well with problem solving (as far as I know), but my nature says I really don’t like polynomials, trigonometry, heck with math jargon! So I focus on vocabulary, grammar and correct usage. But alas! the vocabularies shown would not even appear in searches made from Google 🙂 Unless you apply advanced keyword search. The only word I remember was “volatile” because I use it more often from my blog’s disclosure. Filipino questions appear thrice or at the end of each category.

I’ve read wild reactions of Civil Service Exam takers, true to their words – it was really difficult for this batch, take my word for it! The examinees are waving their ears for a modest tip they can get from the moderator announced with the use of special tools (to avoid vulgarity LOL) like  from a mega phone maybe, we didn’t get any.

There’s a policeman in uniform from our batch; he finished first and the moderator deliberately asked him “are you sure you don’t want to review your answers?” He replied back “Ma’am pang ilan take ko na po yan, sana naman swertehin na!” I left the room in third position by 10:30AM (that’s because I gave way to a lady) not merely bragging about it, but I was trying to beat the clock. The moderator said if we finished by 10:45AM, we need to wait until 11AM in order to get out as advised by the Civil Service Commission. Can’t wait that long, my back was aching due to prolonged sitting and the ventilation system (electric fan was cracking up), the heat was unbearable. I hope the others survived and can devote the much needed focus and attention amidst the humid and distraction of summer heat. But then again, the mission is to finish and pass the exam.


Civil Service Examination: How to prepare and what to expect

What to review?

Focus on the basic math formulas. You need to comprehend the problem in order to get the solution. Math is logic, there’s no such thing as difficult. But this is the portion of the exam you need to get a grip on it. Computation and long solutions will eat up most of your time. So don’t panic, examinees are given enough time to solve equations, percentage, algebra, etc. Choose the right answers from the selections. You’ll see the correct answer in the middle of your solution, once you COMPREHEND the question and know what exactly is the missing part. Right then, your computation will guide you through. Guess estimating while you are doing your computation will tell you almost the same answer.

General Information questionnaires are only made of a few numbers. The pattern is usually based on current events and the implementing laws of the country. Take for example the scenario case of the human right activists or how a police officer should handle civil arrest depending on a given situation. Ignorantia juris non excusat, it pays to know the legal principle of everything around us. Wisdom is what makes a person, the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight. Make READING a habit, from newspapers, historical, biographies, literature books, different types of all book genres, even travel books – the earlier you  start, the better.

Manila Science High School, August 2019. The first time was burdensome, I learnt my lesson well. Though I did not get into weighty reviewing this-and-that, I finally grasp the pattern of the exam. Proficiency will come along, for the most part, if you’re already working or employed with a job. Seek the thrill of doing mind exercises like online games, board games, puzzles, critical thinking scenarios.  Always, keep your mind active. And the list goes on: have a healthy lifestyle and don’t stress yourself with other people’s toxicity.

The schedule is emailed and viewable through the CS portal. The results are now posted online, you need to input your basic private information to get the result.

Examinees, both passed and failed, may generate their individual test result through the Online Civil Service Examination Results Generation System (OCSERGS) from the CSC website.

Civil Service Examination How to prepare and what to expect

The success rate for exam takers for the past years is extremely low. For August 2020, a total of 29,733 examinees passed the Career Service Pen and Paper Test (CSE-PPT) conducted nationwide. Said figure represents 11.62% of the total 255,778 examinees for both Professional and Subprofessional levels.

In terms of regional performance, NCR posted the highest passing rate at 17.89% for both levels of examination, translating to 9,599 passers out of 53,641 total examinees. The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) came in second with a 16.32% passing rate despite not having landed any spot in the lists of top passers. Other top performing regions include Southern Tagalog with 12.79% passing rate, Central Luzon – 12.33%, and Davao region – 11.98%.

Going by the Professional level: NCR (18.45%), CAR (16.89%), Southern Tagalog (12.87%), Central Visayas (12.28%), and Central Luzon (12.21%). For the Subprofessional level: NCR (14.72%), Central Luzon (12.98%), CAR (12.91%), Southern Tagalog (12.34%), and Bicol region (11.52%).” (CSC, 2019).

A positive outlook and natural instinct will be your best armor. Good luck!


Civil Service Commission

Updated as of January 2020., created by Green Dei (Daryll Villena)
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3 thoughts on “Civil Service Examination: How to prepare and what to expect”

  1. Darwin T. Lambert

    This examination is very thorough and rigorous. The success rate in this stage is very small, i.e. 0.01% of aspirants.

  2. The non-competitive class of civil service consists of positions for which using a competitive examination to determine the merit and fitness of the applicants has been found to be not practicable.

  3. Judson U. Abbott

    Examination announcements/posters for upcoming scheduled civil service tests. Please note this area is only populated with information as exams are scheduled and during the application acceptance period.

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