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Civil Service Exam: Simple Guide for Aspiring Filipino Public Servants

Venus Zoleta

Venus Zoleta

Last updated June 15, 2022

Want to start a career in government service? You share the dream with eight in every 10 Filipinos.

A recent survey[1] notes the increasing desire for government jobs in the Philippines, with 77% of Pinoys wanting to work for the public service sector. Interestingly, the most in-demand government agencies for jobseekers are the SSS, BIR, and DPWH.

Among the top perks of working for the government are job security and attractive compensation package (with allowances and bonuses).

To raise your chance of getting hired (and eventually promoted) in the government, you need to pass the civil service exam first. This examination is the government’s way to screen and select prospective civil servants in the country.

Here’s what aspiring government employees should know about taking the civil service exam in the Philippines.

What is Civil Service Exam?

Civil Service Exam Philippines

The civil service exam, sometimes called the career service examination, is a test created and administered by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to determine those who are fit for a government job.

Types of Civil Service Exams

There are two types of civil service exams available in the Philippines: one for professionals and another for sub-professionals.

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

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

Civil Service Examination Coverage

Civil service exams in the Philippines are quite similar to college entrance exams in terms of scope. Given in English and Filipino, the examination covers the following subjects:

  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar and correct usage
  • Paragraph organization
  • Reading comprehension
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Analogy (for professional-level exam only)
  • Logic (for professional-level exam only)
  • Spelling (for sub-professional-level exam only)
  • Clerical operations (for sub-professional-level exam only)
  • Philippine Constitution
  • Code of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees
  • Peace and human rights issues and concepts
  • Environment management and protection

Modes of Civil Service Exam

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

The two modes differ in how the application is filed, how much the examination fee is, when the test is scheduled, how the exam is taken, 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.

Who Can Take the Civil Service Exam?

The civil service exam is open to anyone who meets the following eligibility requirements:

  • Filipino citizen
  • At least 18 years old during filing of the application
  • No conviction of a crime involving civil service examination irregularity, illegal drugs, immoral conduct, dishonesty, or drunkenness
  • No dismissal from military or government service
  • Never taken the same level of civil service exam (either via PPT or COMEX) within three months prior to the examination date

Since the CSC has no educational requirement for CSE applicants, you can apply even if you’re a high school graduate or college undergraduate.

Who are Exempted From Taking the Exam?

Not all Filipinos who want to work in the government are required to 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
  • Career service examination for foreign service officer passers
  • Honor graduates (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude) in state colleges and universities, private higher education institutions with CHED-recognized degree, 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. They just have to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility[2] at a CSC Regional Office or Field Office.

Read more: PRC Online Application: Guide for Professionals in the Philippines 

What are the Civil Service Exam Requirements?

Civil Service Exam Requirements

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

  • Filled out civil service exam application form (available at the CSC website[3] or any CSC Regional Office or Field Office)
  • Four colored passport-size (1.8 in x 1.4 in) ID photos taken within three months before the application date, showing the applicant’s bare face with a handwritten name tag in a white background
  • Original and photocopy of any valid ID (passport, driver’s license, UMID, PhilHealth ID, postal ID, etc.)

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.

The CSC may ask for additional requirements, such as NSO birth certificate (both original and photocopy) if your ID doesn’t indicate your birthdate. Dual citizens must submit a Bureau of Immigration-issued Certification of Retention/Re-acquisition of Philippine Citizenship.

What’s the Civil Service Exam Schedule?

The CSC announces the civil service exam and application schedule through its official website[4].

The agency conducts the pen-and-paper test for professional and subprofessional levels twice or thrice every year. In 2019, for example, the PPT schedule is on March 17 and August 4. The application period for the March 17 exam ran from December 17, 2018 to January 16, 2019. Meanwhile, you can apply for the August 4 exam from May 6 to June 5, 2019.

For the computerized exam, the CSC posts the schedule for online reservation and another schedule for examination on its website. The civil service exam schedule in the CSC Central Office (Batasan Hills, Quezon City) is different from that of the CSC Regional Offices.

How to Apply for Civil Service Exam

There are two ways on how you can take the Civil Service Exam: Pen and Paper or Computer Assisted Test (Comex).

You can watch the video below from Coach Lyqa Maravilla, RPm to learn more about the difference.

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

If you’ll take the PPT, you’ll have to file your application in person.

Submit your complete document requirements to the CSC Regional Office or Field Office[5] 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 of application.

The examination fee for both professional and subprofessional levels is PHP 500.

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.

Application Procedure for Computerized Examination (COMEX)

Civil Service Exam

Applying for COMEX involves the following steps:

  1. Register for a user account on the COMEX site[6] 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 personal appearance.

    a. Submit the original and photocopy of a valid ID.

    b. Pay the examination fee of PHP 680.

    c. Have your photo, fingerprints, and electronic signature captured.

How to Take the 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 computerized examination.

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

For COMEX, you’ll read the questions from a computer screen and indicate your answers using the keyboard.

Regardless of the mode of civil service exam you choose, the time limit is the same. Professional-level examinees need to answer a total of 170 items within 3 hours and 10 minutes. Meanwhile, subprofessional-level examinees have 2 hours and 40 minutes to answer a total of 165 items.

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. Simply access the Online Civil Service Examination Result Generation System (OCSERGS)[7] for the civil service exam results.

Final Thoughts

The CSC issues a Certification of Eligibility to successful examinees around one month after it releases the list of passers. If you pass the civil service exam, personally claim your certification for free at the CSC office.

If you fail the exam, don’t worry. There’s no limit in taking the civil service exams, so you can do it over and over until you succeed.

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Venus leads the blog content strategy and optimization at Moneymax as the Head of Editorial Content. She has 15+ years of experience in content marketing, corporate communications, and public relations. Venus graduated cum laude with a Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Before joining Moneymax, Venus had written informative guides and articles, specializing in personal finance and digital marketing. She also invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. A hardcore Hallyu Tita, she enjoys bingeing K-dramas on Netflix while bonding with her rescued cats. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.