Prepare for Civil Service Initial Sift Situational Judgement Test

Have you been invited to take the Civil Service initial sift online assessment? This assessment is a situational judgement test taken by Civil Service applicants at the start of the recruitment process. Learn more about the CSIST and how JobTestPrep's resources can help you prepare for it.

Civil Service Sift Test Preparation
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The purpose of the Civil Service Initial Sift Test (CSIST) is to help the recruitment team 'sift' candidates accurately for the position.

In some cases, the CSIST is just one of a series of aptitude tests, and in others it may be a test on its own with the application form. T

here are three separate situational judgement tests (SJT), one that builds upon the next, and they are used to assess whether candidates meet the minimum requirements for the position and level for which they have applied. 

There are three different types of CSIST matching the three levels of the Civil Service Competency Framework (CSCF):

  • Level 1—AA/AO (Administrative Assistant/Administrative Officer)
  • Level 2—EO (Executive Officer)
  • Level 3—HEO/SEO (Higher Executive Officer/Senior Executive Officer)

Each level's test contains scenarios and questions relevant to the job and grade.

What Is on the CSIST?

The CSIST presents scenarios that may 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. 

Test Times and Scoring

Unlike many situational judgement tests, the Civil Service situational test is timed. The exam 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.

For your application to the Civil Service to be considered you must perform better than most of the applicants, as recruiters use a bell curve scoring system to compare your test results with those of the other applicants.

If you pass the test at the set standard, your scores will be banked for six months, so you will not have to take the test again if you apply for another vacancy at the same grade. If you do not pass the test, you can resit it for any job vacancy you want to fill.

Administration of the Civil Service Initial Sift Test

The CSIST is taken online once you receive an invitation and instructions. Here are some other tips for taking the CSIST:

  • We strongly recommend that you do not try to cheat by asking someone else for help; your abilities may be verified with an on-site, supervised retest.
  • Find a comfortable, web-accessible location to take the test. It is better to use a laptop or desktop computer, as the test may not be easily visible on a tablet or mobile phone.
  • Make sure you have enough time to sit the entire test before you begin as the responses cannot be saved, and the test cannot be restarted.

Prepare for the Civil Service Sift Test

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

You must achieve a minimum score to pass through to the next stage or, in some cases, to even have your application form considered.

Taking practice situational judgement tests ahead of your CSIST is a helpful way to prepare. JobTestPrep is here to guide you through Civil Service Sift Test preparation. Start practising today.