Take an Exam

Civil Service law requires that candidates for most New York City jobs take and pass a competitive civil service exam before they can be hired to become permanent employees. These exams assess a candidate’s qualifications for a particular Civil Service title. The tests are designed to ensure that the hiring process is competitive and fair. Each exam has a filing period during which applications are accepted. Before applying for an exam, you should conduct a thorough review of the official Notice of Examination (NOE), which describes the duties of the job and provides the qualification requirements, test description, filing period, expected exam date(s) and other relevant information about the exam.

Applicants who pass an exam are ranked in order from highest to lowest score and are placed on a civil service list. When a City agency has a hiring need, candidates are called from this list, interviewed and considered for hiring based on the order of their test score. Scores usually remain active for four years.

There are three types of competitive examinations:

  • Open Competitive: Open to anyone who meet the minimum qualifications
  • Promotion: Open to only current permanent and 55-a employees in an eligible title.
  • Qualified Incumbent Examinations (QIEs): Open to only non-permanent (provisional) city employees who have served at least two years in specified titles.

The competitive exams can be administered in different formats, including Multiple-Choice, Education and Experience (E&E) and Practical/Physical, among others. The NOE specifies the type of exam that will be given.