Government Career Goal? Make It Happen with the Civil Service Exam

Venus Zoleta

Venus Zoleta

Last updated April 18, 2023

Want to start a career in government service? Job security and an attractive compensation package (with allowances and bonuses) are among the top perks of working for the government.

But can you work in government without taking the civil service exam? To raise your chances of getting hired (and eventually promoted) in the government, you must pass the civil service exam first. 

What is a civil service exam, and what else should aspiring government employees know before taking this examination in the Philippines? Find out more in this guide.

What is the Civil Service Exam?

what is Civil Service Exam Philippines

The career service examination, commonly known as the civil service exam, is the government’s way of screening and selecting prospective civil servants in the country. The Civil Service Commission (CSC) creates and administers this exam to determine which applicants are fit for a government job.

👉 Types of Civil Service Exams in the Philippines

Two types of civil service exams are available: the professional civil service exam and the sub-professional civil service exam.

Passers of the exam for professional civil service level may be accepted for both clerical (first-level) and technical, executive, or managerial (second-level) positions in the government.

On the other hand, passers of the exam for the sub-professional civil service level may be accepted only for first-level or clerical government positions.

👉 Modes of Civil Service Exam

You can take the exam through the manual pen-and-paper test (PPT) or the computerized examination (COMEX). 

With the PPT, you take the test using a text booklet and an answer sheet. The COMEX, on the other hand, is conducted online. 

The two modes differ in how the application is filed, how much the examination fee is, when the test is scheduled, and the speed of test result release. However, the PPT and COMEX have the same difficulty level, with a similar time limit and number of test questions.


👉 Civil Service Examination Coverage

Civil service exams in the Philippines are similar to college entrance exams in scope. Given in English and Filipino, the examination covers the following subjects for both professional and sub-professional levels:

  • Numerical Ability 
    • Basic operations
    • Word problems 
  • Verbal Ability 
    • Grammar and correct usage 
    • Vocabulary 
    • Paragraph organization 
    • Reading comprehension

The exam coverage also includes the following for the professional level:  

  • Analytical Ability 
    • Word association 
    • Identifying assumptions and conclusions
    • Logic 
    • Data interpretation 

Meanwhile, the sub-professional level will also cover the following: 

  • Clerical Ability
    • Filing
    • Spelling

The civil service exam also covers general information items such as the following: 

  • The Philippine Constitution 
  • Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (R.A. 6713)
  • Peace and Human Rights Issues and Concepts 
  • Environment Management and Protection

Who Can Take the Civil Service Exam?

Curious to know who can take the civil service exam in the Philippines? This test is open to anyone who meets the following civil service exam eligibility requirements:

  • Filipino citizen
  • At least 18 years old during the filing of the application
  • Of good moral character 
    • No conviction of an offense or crime involving moral turpitude, examination irregularity, addiction to drugs, disgraceful or immoral conduct, dishonesty, or drunkenness
    • No dismissal from military or government service
  • Has never taken the same level of civil service exam (either via PPT or COMEX) within three months before the examination date

Can undergraduates apply for the civil service exam? Yes. Since the CSC has no educational requirement for CSE applicants, a high school graduate or a college undergraduate can take the civil service exam.

Read more: 

Who is Exempted from Taking the Exam?

Not all Filipinos who want to work in the government must take the civil service exam. The CSC grants exemption to the following individuals who are already considered eligible for civil service:

  • Bar exam passers
  • Board exam passers
  • Honor graduates (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude) in state colleges and universities, private higher education institutions with CHED-recognized degrees, and foreign schools
  • Barangay health workers
  • Barangay officials
  • Sanggunian members
  • Barangay nutrition scholars
  • Electronic Data Processing Specialist eligibles
  • Scientific and Technological Specialist eligibles 
  • Veteran Preference Rating eligibles

Those who qualify for the exemption no longer need to take the civil service exam but must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility at a CSC Regional Office or Field Office.

What are the Civil Service Exam Requirements?

what is civil service exam philippines - Civil Service Exam Requirements

You need to prepare these civil service exam requirements before filing your application for the civil service exam:

  • Accomplished Civil Service Exam Application Form[1] (available at the CSC website or any CSC Regional Office or Field Office)
  • Four colored Philippine passport-size (1.8 in x 1.4 in) ID photos on a white background. It should be taken within three months before the application date and show the applicant’s bare face and a handwritten signature above the printed full name. 
  • Original and photocopy of any valid ID (passport, driver’s license, UMID, PhilHealth ID, postal ID, etc.)
  • Accomplished Certificate of Consent[2]
  • Examination fee

Applicants who will take the computerized exam need not submit ID photos, as their picture will be taken during their personal appearance at a CSC office.

If your ID doesn't indicate your birth date, the CSC may ask for additional civil service requirements, such as an NSO birth certificate (both original and photocopy). Dual citizens must submit a Bureau of Immigration-issued Certification of Retention/Re-acquisition of Philippine Citizenship.

What is the Civil Service Exam Schedule in 2023?

The CSC announces the civil service exam and application schedule through its official website.[3]

The agency conducts the pen-and-paper test for professional and sub-professional levels twice or thrice every year. 

For 2023, Career Service Examination-Pen and Paper Test Batch 1 was conducted last March 26. You can apply for Batch 2 from May 15 until June 14, 2023; the exam will be on August 13, 2023. 

How to Apply for the Civil Service Exam

As mentioned, you can take the Civil Service Exam in two ways: Pen and Paper (PPT) or Computer Assisted Test (COMEX).

📌 Application Procedure for Pen-and-Paper Test (PPT)

If you take the PPT, you must file your application in person. Submit your complete document requirements to the CSC Regional Office or Field Office where you plan to take the civil service exam. 

Do it as early as possible, as the CSC office accepts only a limited number of applicants. Slots may get filled even before the deadline for application.

Make sure to wear appropriate clothing when you go to the CSC office. The CSC doesn’t accept applications from anyone wearing slippers, sleeveless shirts, and shorts.

The examination fee for both professional and sub-professional levels is ₱500.

📌 Application Procedure for Computerized Examination (COMEX)

what is civil service exam philippines - comex

Applying for COMEX involves the following steps:

  1. Register for a user account on the COMEX website ( and click the Sign Up Now button.
  2. Choose and reserve an examination slot online.
  3. File the application at your preferred CSC office on the scheduled date and time of your personal appearance.
    • Submit the original and photocopy of a valid ID.
    • Pay the examination fee of ₱680.
    • Have your photo, fingerprints, and electronic signature captured.

How to Take the Civil Service Exam

what is Civil Service Exam Philippines - how to take civil service exam

On your scheduled examination date, go to the CSC testing center where you registered—whether you’ll take the pen-and-paper test or the computerized examination.

You’ll be given a test booklet and an answer sheet for PPT. Shade the correct answer manually using a black ballpen on the answer sheet.

You’ll read the questions from a computer screen for COMEX and indicate your answers using the keyboard.

Regardless of your chosen mode, the civil service exam time limit is the same. 

Professional-level examinees need to answer 170 items within 3 hours and 10 minutes, while sub-professional-level examinees have 2 hours and 40 minutes to answer a total of 165 items.

Examinees should get a rating of at least 80 to pass. 

How to Check Civil Service Exam Results

You can find out if you’ve passed the examination 60 days after the PPT or a week after the COMEX. Go to the CSC website and click the Examination Result tab for the civil service exam results.

All examinees can also generate their individual examination ratings through the Online Civil Service Examination Result Generation System (OCSERGS).

Related reading: 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know what the civil service exam is and how to take it, what to do after passing the civil service exam? If you pass the civil service exam, congratulations! 

The CSC issues a Certification of Eligibility to successful examinees around one month after releasing the passers list. Personally claim your certification for free at the CSC office. You can now apply for jobs for civil service exam passers in the Philippines.

If you fail the exam, don’t worry. There’s no limit to taking the civil service exams, so you can do it repeatedly until you pass and get your civil service qualification. 

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Venus has almost 20 years of combined experience in content marketing, SEO, corporate communications, and public relations. Most of her career was spent creating informative articles on personal finance and digital marketing. She also invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Venus graduated cum laude with a Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. A hardcore Hallyu Tita, she loves bingeing Korean shows on Netflix while bonding with her cats. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.


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