About the Civil Service Initial SIFT Test

The purpose of the civil service initial sift test (CSIST) is to help the recruitment team sift out candidates who are unsuitable for the position. It is usually used in large scale recruitment processes, for example graduate or administrative roles recruitment. The CSIST adds another element to your application form. In some cases, the CSIST is just one of a series of aptitude tests, in others it may be a test on its own with the application form. There are four different types of CSIST, offered at level AA/ AO, EO, HEO, SEO. Each test contains scenarios and questions relevant to the job and grade.


Civil Service Situational Judgement Test

The CSIST has been devised to measure your skills against the behaviours outlined in the Civil Service Competency Framework.

The CSIST presents scenarios that may well be similar to situations you can expect in your job with the civil service. You are then given a set of possible responses.

There are two question types on this test:

  • Type 1 – choose the correct answer from the options given.
  • Type 2 – evaluate each option on a scale of appropriate to inappropriate.

The CSIST contains nine different work-based scenarios, with three to five questions on each.

The questions in the first grouping may require additional skills. Some questions may set out a scenario that requires you to perform numerical calculations or demonstrate that you can use and understand information. 

Unlike many situational judgement tests, the civil service situational test is a timed test. The test ends when the time runs out regardless of whether you have finished it. The CSIST for grades AA/AO lasts 25 minutes, whilst you are given 30 minutes for the CSIST at grades EO, HEO, and SEO. Civil Service Resourcing feels this is ample time to take the test without rushing, so it is important you take time at the start of the test to understand how long you have for each question.

You must achieve a minimum score on the CSIST for your application to be considered. Taking practice situational judgement tests ahead of your CSIST is a helpful way to prepare.

The CSIST is heavily based on the Civil Service Competency Framework. It is therefore important that you make sure you are familiar with all the required skills and what they mean before you begin the test.


Prepare for Success

The Civil Service Initial Sift Test or situational judgement test is an important assessment in any civil cervice recruitment process. You must achieve a minimum score to pass through to the next stage or, in some cases, to even have your application form considered. Preparing for your civil service sift test is a must, and JobTestPrep is here to help ensure your success.