Prepare for Civil Service Initial Sift Test and Situational Judgement test

Have you been invited to take the civil service initial sift online assessment? This test is a situational judgement test taken by applicants to the civil service right at the start of the recruitment process. Learn more about this test and how to prepare for it on this page.
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The purpose of the civil service initial sift test (CSIST) is to help the recruitment team sift out the people 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 will be just one of a suite 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 required in the Civil Service Competency Framework.

In the CSIST you are given a scenario which may well be similar to situations you can expect to experience in your job with the Civil Service. You are then given a set of possible responses.
There are two question types in 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 3 to 5 questions on each one.

The questions in the first grouping may require further skills needed in the job you have applied to. 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 that this is ample time to take the test without rushing, so it is important that you take time at the start of the test to understand how long you have per question.

You need to achieve a minimum score in the CSIST for your application to be considered for progress through the recruitment process. Taking practice situational judgement tests ahead of your CSIST is helpful as they allow you to understand and interpret information, think about the best way to answer each question.

Check out our situational judgment tests and start preparing today! 

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 start taking the test.

In Summary

The Civil Service Initial Sift Test or situational judgement test is an important assessment in your progress through any Civil Service recruitment process. You must achieve a minimum score in order 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. This page has told you more about it and how to prepare with our situational judgement test pack.

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