Guidance: Preparing for the Civil Service Judgement Test

Civil Service Resourcing

February 11
14:11 2022

Civil Service psychometric tests

The Civil Service uses psychometric tests alongside other assessment methods (such as application forms, evidence of technical skills, and interviews) to decide whether a person meets the requirements of a particular job.

Using tests can:

  • allow candidates to demonstrate their strengths,
  • provide recruiters with objective assessments against relevant criteria, and
  • identify where candidates could develop their skills.

Provided that they are used appropriately, our tests are fair and free from bias or discrimination. As such:

  • they offer robust and effective measurements,
  • there is no advantage to having additional educational qualifications or work experience,
  • they can predict candidate performance in later selection stages.

About the Civil Service Judgement Test (CSJT)

The Civil Service Judgement Test (CSJT) is an online situational judgement test.

It measures your ability to demonstrate judgement and decision-making regarding specific Civil Service Behaviours, which have been selected as important for success in your chosen job.

Behaviours is one of the five elements in our Success Profiles Framework. The Civil Service uses Success Profiles to provide a flexible means of recruiting, giving the best possible chance of finding the right person for a job.

Test structure

There are two parts to the test. In the first part, you will be asked about your typical behaviour and preferences at work. You must rate how ambitious, motivated and flexible you are in the workplace.

This section is self-assessment, and makes up 15% of your overall CSJT score. You should answer the questions honestly, as you may be asked about them at interview.

In the second section, you will view various workplace scenarios, along with a range of possible actions. You must read the scenario, then provide an effectiveness rating for each action.

You will only be presented with scenarios that are relevant to the job level you have applied for.

When rating actions, there are four options:

Counterproductive Ineffective Fairly Effective Effective
An unacceptable action that would make the situation worse. A poor action that would not help the situation. A useful action that would be of some help to the situation. A good action that would help to resolve the situation.

There are three scenarios for each behaviour, and each scenario asks you to rate four actions. When reviewing an action, look at it independently from the others. Do not assume that only one action is either effective or ineffective - you can rate more than one action the same.

Scenarios for three of the behaviours are presented as short videos, while the other behaviours are in text format. Depending on the job you are applying for, you may see:

  • only video scenarios,
  • only text scenarios, or
  • a mix of the two.

The test is not timed, however most people take between two and four minutes to answer one scenario.

Practice questions are included at the beginning of each test, and no specialist knowledge or experience is required.

Taking the test

The test is taken online. You will be sent an invitation, which provides full instructions on how to proceed.

Your test answers should be your own; you must not ask for input from anyone. Hiring managers may require candidates invited to interview to retake the test under supervised conditions. You will learn whether you need to do this if you are invited to interview.

Tests work on most modern browsers and operating systems, and while they should work on smartphones or tablets, we recommend using a device with a larger screen. If your browser is not supported, the test will alert you to try an alternative.

Try not to close the browser while taking the test. If you do, you will be able to re-open it where you left off, but you can only do this twice after initially starting. If you lose internet connection, once you are back online you can continue the test where you left off. If you lose the test page, go back to your application centre to re-open it.

Some questions may be presented as videos. Each video includes:

  • Subtitles, and
  • British sign Language translations of the speech.

Alternative written transcripts of the video content are available within the test, and each video can be replayed as needed.

Some workplaces block test access - if this happens, you will need to try an alternative device.

If you need any workplace adjustments, or if you experience accessibility issues, contact the recruitment team or point of contact in the job advert.


When you are invited to take the test, you should try to do so as early as possible, so you have time to resolve any technical or access issues before the deadline. All queries or help requests should be submitted at least two working days before the test deadline, to ensure a response.

Before you start:

  • Find a quiet place with no distractions.
  • Make sure you read all test instructions carefully.
  • Answer every question.
  • You will need a stable internet connection throughout the test.
  • Try and take the test when you feel calm, although it is natural to feel a little nervous.
  • While the test is not timed, we recommend allowing at least an hour to complete it.

Practice test questions

Before taking the Civil Service Judgement Test, you should get used to what the test looks like by taking the CSJT Practice Test so you are fully familiar.

The practice test is not scored. It is designed to show you the look and feel of the real test while keeping the questions easy to respond to. Taking a practice test can be particularly helpful if you use assistive technology to access web content and want to know if it will work on the real test.

The real test also includes example questions at the beginning of each section.

You can also watch this short video on the Civil Service Judgement Test

Test results

The number and difficulty of test questions is used to produce your score, which is compared to a representative group of applicants who have also taken the test.

Your score is presented as a percentile, which tells you how well you performed relative to this group. For example, if your percentile is 44, you scored better than 44% of the group.

All Civil Service jobs are advertised at a particular level. If you pass the test at the minimum required standard for that job level, you will receive a message informing you.

Then, one of two things will happen:

  • where any additional tests are needed, you will be sent an invitation to complete them, or
  • after the test deadline, the recruiter will look at all applicant scores to decide what the jobs pass mark will be. They will consider the impact on protected groups, and the number of invitations to the next stage.

The recruiter may decide to raise the pass mark for the job - if so, you will be informed, and you will be told if you have passed or failed at the raised standard.

Meeting the minimum test requirements for a job level is no guarantee of an invite to continue the selection process.

If you do not pass at the minimum required standard for a job level, you can retake the test during any future applications.

Test feedback

After taking the test, you will receive your score and automatically-generated feedback. This will be available from your application centre in Civil Service Jobs. For security reasons, we cannot provide feedback on answers to specific questions.

Problems during the test

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

For further support, contact your recruitment team - their email address will be in your application centre. Alternatively, you can use this online form.

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

How we use your data

Personal information is held securely in Civil Service Jobs - the test supplier cannot see it, and will only know your name if you choose to share it.

Your information will only be used to support your job application, and evaluate test effectiveness.

For more inf

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