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Written Examination Information

To be eligible for appointment to some job titles an applicant must attain a passing score on a written examination. An applicant's rank position on the referral list (register) is determined by the score attained on the test. For some jobs a written test score may be combined with a score based on training and experience (T&E Rating). If so, this will be stated in the announcement. In addition, some Social Work and Protective Service Work job classes allow for the exemption of applicants meeting specific qualifications criteria from the written examination. Applicable exemption, if any, are described in the announcement.

For written examinations applicants are required to complete an application form and report to a specified testing location. The application form must be submitted at the time and place of testing. Do not mail the application form or resume to the Division of Personnel.

For detailed information about the application process and currently announced jobs refer to the Job Opportunities page.

Written Examination Procedures. Written examinations are designed to assess skills needed on the job. The development of examinations is coordinated by the Division of Personnel in cooperation with appropriate agency supervisors and job experts. Some tests assess basic skills such as reading, problem solving, arithmetic, and following directions. Many tests include questions to assess the specific knowledge needed to perform particular job duties. Division of Personnel tests are designed to be neither hard nor easy to pass. We try, to the extent possible, to match the test difficulty to the complexity of the job.

Most written examinations are composed of multiple-choice questions with 4-5 answer choices. All examinations are administered within a 3-hour time limit. For most applicants that is plenty of time to finish the test. Some job classes require a typing or keyboard performance test in addition to the written exam.

[ Image of the test answer sheet, showing correctly made marks ]

Applicants who receive a passing score will have his/her name placed on the competitive register, or referral list. A unique register list is maintained for each job classification. Applicants may not re-take the same written examination within a period of 60 full days from the previous test date. The most recent score (higher or lower) will automatically replace any previous score.

Written Examination Preparation. Unless specifically stated in the announcement, we do not offer study materials or make study recommendations for written examinations. The questions in each test are different for each job title. There are many published test study guides available in some libraries and bookstores. Some of these are for job that are similar to some state jobs. These and other basic skills review texts (grammar, arithmetic, reading etc.) might be of some limited help. We cannot, however, recommend any published material. We do recommend that you get a good nights sleep and try to relax before testing. Read ALL the instructions and ALL the answer choices. Pick the best answer. If you must guess, first try to eliminate 1 or 2 responses. Work at a steady pace, but don't rush. You should have plenty of time to finish the test within the 3 hour time limit.

Scoring. Written test scores are always based on the number of items answered correctly. Generally, no deduction is made for incorrect responses or guessing. The single exception to this procedure is the speeded rate-of-work (Name and number comparison) test given to clerical job applicants. In that test points are deducted for incorrect responses.

Each written test has an established minimum number of correct responses required for passing. The actual number varies depending on the job title. For applicant score reporting purposes, raw scores (the number correct) are converted to the range 70.00 to 95.00. In other words, a raw score equal to the pass point would convert to 70.00 and a perfect score (all items correct) would convert to 95.00. Veteran's preference points, if applicable, are added after score conversion.

Converting scores to the range 70.00 to 95.00 sometimes results in a fractional (decimal number) score. For example, suppose a test with 100 items has a pass point of 60 correct. The converted scores would be as follows:

  Number   Converted  Number   Converted  Number   Converted
  Correct  Score      Correct  Score      Correct  Score

   100     95.00        86     86.25        72      77.50   
    99     94.38        85     85.63        71      76.88   
    98     93.75        84     85.00        70      76.25   
    97     93.13        83     84.38        69      75.63   
    96     92.50        82     83.75        68      75.00   
    95     91.88        81     83.13        67      74.38   
    94     91.25        80     82.50        66      73.75   
    93     90.63        79     81.88        65      73.13   
    92     90.00        78     81.25        64      72.50   
    91     89.38        77     80.63        63      71.88   
    90     88.75        76     80.00        62      71.25   
    89     88.13        75     79.38        61      70.63   
    88     87.50        74     78.75        60      70.00   
    87     86.88        73     78.13                        

If you have any questions about the above information, please call our APPLICANT SERVICES UNIT at (304) 558-3950

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