The Ireland Civil Service exams
are used for all levels of civil service applicants in Ireland. The jobs that may require these range from administrators, economists, conference interpreters and translators to lawyers
and those participating in Ireland’s civil service traineeships. Competition for these roles can be fierce, particularly for the traineeships as they only occur twice a year, so scoring well on the civil service exams is crucial to gaining an appointment. In addition, the government also examines previous experience either in civil service or the private sector.
This article will help you get started on preparing for the psychometric exam portion of Ireland’s civil service application.
What Are Ireland’s Civil Service Tests?
Ireland’s public jobs exams are basic aptitude tests. Certain positions may require additional specialized testing, but most will take the same set of tests as every other applicant. These tests are provided mostly by Cut-e assessment services, though some positions’ tests are provided by Saville or SHL.
What Do the Ireland Public Jobs Exams Involve?
The Irish Civil Service aptitude exams can involve a number of tests. All candidates are required to take a numerical and verbal reasoning test, but the other common tests are required for a large number of the positions. The tests required are discussed below.
- Numerical Reasoning: The numerical reasoning test has eighteen questions and a time limit of twenty-two minutes. The information on the test is given in charts and tables. Candidates must choose the correct answer from the given multiple-choice options using the provided data. Anyone taking this test needs basic math skills and an understanding of the basic math functions. This particular numerical test is provided by Cut-e assessment services.
- Verbal Reasoning: The verbal reasoning test is timed at twenty minutes. It contains forty questions split between a number of short texts, which have anywhere from three to four questions along with them. Candidates are given a statement in each question and must choose true, false, or cannot say in response to the question based upon what is in the text.
- Situational Judgment Test: The SJT is a fifteen-page test. It has fifteen scenarios total, and these scenarios will relate to the types of situations that candidates might encounter in their position on a day-to-day basis. There is no time limit, and candidates must rank four courses of action in response to the given scenarios by choosing the actions they feel they would be most likely and least likely to do.
- E-tray exercise: The e-tray exercise is generally completed at home. It is timed and can take up to two-and-a-half hours. The test has three sections that must be completed. First, applicants must read through and understand the provided background material. Then they must use it to outline the most and least appropriate responses to various emails from the choices given. The final task is to write a response to the request for information using the materials and information from stages one and two.
- Checking test: This test is only for clerical positions. The candidate is given information in a numerical, alphabetical, or combination format and is asked to spot the mistakes between two sets of data. The time limit on the test is quite fast. Each question must be answered in twenty seconds or less. The test will automatically move to the next question with no opportunity to go back and review previous responses.
- Categorizing test: Another test meant only for clerical positions, this test focuses on data analysis. Given sets of charts with both numerical and verbal data, candidates must review and categorize the information using the rules given at the test’s beginning. Missing small details or answering incorrectly does affect the score.
How to Prepare for Ireland’s Civil Service Tests?
Preparing for Ireland’s civil service exams requires dedication and focused practice. The time limits on some of the tests are quite strict and may provide difficulty for unprepared applicants. This does not need to be the case for you if you work through practice problems, review sample questions with answers, and do practice exams. Your goal is to know the test setups well and to be comfortable with the material presented so that you can take the tests confidently and calmly on test day.
Tips for Success
Besides doing practice kits or looking at example tests, you may be wondering what else you can do to help yourself ace these exams. If you are looking for ways you can do a little bit extra in preparation, review the following tips for success.
- Read all questions carefully and be sure you understand before answering.
- Do not spend too long on any particular question.
- Always self-check your work before submitting it.
- Do reading comprehension exercises.
- Practice basic math skills and simple math problems.
- Review example SJT assessments to have an idea of the format and the best ways to answer.
- Strive to show integrity, honesty, objectivity, and impartiality in your answers to the SJT. The civil service recruiters are looking for these qualities in particular.
- Be aware that you are not allowed any personal items for the supervised tests. However, you will be given scratch paper and a calculator for the relevant tests, so you should practice with those items at home.
The Ireland civil service exams are not as comprehensive as some other exams required for other civil service positions around the world. However, this does not mean that you can take the tests and do well without practice. The positions are still highly competitive, and in order to stand out above the many other candidates, you will need the practice to go from average to superior. Do not underestimate the way practice affects your performance.
After you have practiced and prepared for the tests, take a deep breath and relax. The tests may seem daunting, but if you have done your part to prepare, you should be able to do well on them. The calmer and more confident you are, the more likely you are to perform above the expected benchmark. So, put your mind at ease with practice, then go ace your tests.