Civil Service Verbal Test (CSVT)

The UK Civil Service are always searching for employees who are highly literate for compiling and analysing reports used in making crucial decisions every day. Applicants will have to excel in a verbal reasoning test to progress in the application process for many positions in the UK Civil Service.

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The Civil Service use the following tests in their selection process:

  • Behavioural questionnaire
  • E-tray
  • Numerical reasoning test
  • Situational judgement test
  • Verbal reasoning test
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About Civil Service Numerical Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests are a fair and objective way for the Civil Service to assess many applicants applying for a multitude of job roles at different levels, with each candidate bringing a different set of past professional experience and having obtained various qualifications. From analysing the results of a standardised numerical reasoning test, the UK Civil Service can identify candidates which would do well in a certain role and not in others. Professional psychometric tests are an additional tool to determine more about a candidate than would be possible from a typical interview or straight from their CV.

Often, the UK Civil Service will ask applicants to take an online verbal test, which they've named the Civil Service Verbal Test (CSVT) which can be done from any suitable device with an internet connection. The Civil Service Verbal Test is used at the beginning stages of the application process. To progress to subsequent rounds of the job application process you will have to achieve a minimum score (being in the top 50% of applicants's scores is a standard cut-off, however, it can be higher or lower depending on the role and the intake). Further along in the selection process you might be asked to attend an assessment centre or interview and you could be asked to sit the Civil Service Verbal Test again. This is so the UK Civil Service can verify the person scoring highly in the test is indeed the person applying for the job.

The UK Civil Service have been very kind and written extensively on the application process and detailed what you can expect starting on this guidance page of their site on preparing for the Civil Service Verbal and Numerical tests.

Civil Service Application Process Stages

Here is the typical process for your application to the Civil Service.

Stage 1

Online Application

You will need to complete an online application form, in which you will need to detail your educational history and choose the positions you would like to apply to.

Stage 2

Online Civil Service Verbal Test (CSVT)

Shortly after submitting your application, you will automatically be invited to take a verbal reasoning test online, the CSVT. This will not be under timed conditions although most candidates answer all questions within 15 and 45 minutes.

Stage 3

Online Civil Service Numerical Test (CSNT)

Shortly after submitting your application, you will automatically be invited to take a numerical reasoning test online, the CSVT. There is no time limit for this test, although most candidates answer all questions sometime between 15 and 45 minutes.

Stage 4

Video interview

The video interview is described as a one-way recording. Typically, in a video interview you will be given a set of questions to respond to. You will then use the software provided to record your responses to these questions. You will be asked 9 questions and the interview should take about 30 minutes to complete. Use the freedom here to plan your responses to the questions well, even if that means redoing the recording. You will often get the opportunity to view and check the recording before submitting it. Ensure that your answers are relevant to the questions asked. The Civil Service state that you can record your responses from your mobile phone, tablet or any PC with a webcam.

Stage 6

Assessment Centre

Once you've managed to win over the Civil Service with your video interview responses, your scores in the SJT, behavioural questionnaire (and the numerical reasoning tests), the final stage will require you to attend an assessment centre and take part in an interview, a group, an analysis and a leadership exercise.

During the group exercise, the assessors will be evaluating how well you form relationships with other, new people, and how you contribute to the team. A detailed guide has been produced by the Civil Service, which can be viewed, downloaded and printed from here.

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Our numerical reasoning practice test pack is suitable for preparing for the Civil Service Verbal Test.

Verbal Reasoning Test Pack (suitable for preparing for Civil Service)

Prepare for all verbal reasoning tests including the Civil Service Verbal test.

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The Civil Service Verbal Test Questions

Like most verbal reasoning tests, the one used by the Civil Service just asks you to respond with whether you believe a statement is true, false or you cannot say either way, based on the ibformation provided to you. This is a simple multiple choice answer option and you should try to answer all questions correctly. There is not as great a need to focus on time with this test, but do not take too long. With practice you will become familiar with the type of verbal reasoning tests used by organisations such as the Civil Service.

Companies are using verbal reasoning tests more and more in their application process that candidates must go through. A person's score in a verbal reasoning test is a good indicator of their performance in the workplace. This is important in any sector or position.

The Civil Service use verbal reasoning tests as part of their recruitment process to help them select the best candidates for a particular role.

So, as a graduate or senior candidate applying for a job at the Civil Service you might feel like the verbal reasoning test is a tedious obstacle, but you should bear in mind that the Civil Service are asking you to complete the verbal reasoning test as much for your own benefit as theirs; if you are not suitable for the role, a psychometric test will usually identify this. Research has shown that psychometric tests, such as those used by the Civil Service, are a better predictor of job performance than traditional selection metrics such as level of degree achieved.

This is a very standard verbal reasoning test. Each question will have one answer, either true, false or cannot say. You will be presented with passages of text and the answer to each question can be found in the passage. The same passage will only be used for a couple of questions before a new one is presented to you. Read this thoroughly and multiple times as the Civil Service Verbal Test does not have a time limit. These questions can be difficult when the answers aren't immediately obvious and require you to view the information in the passage from a different perspective. Here's a simplified step-by-step process to answer verbal reasoning test questions

  • Read the passage through once the first time you are shown it
  • Read the question
  • Pick out keywords
  • Locate and re-read any sentences which contain keywords from the question
  • If it's tricky to say, eliminate any answers that are definitely incorrect
  • Which of the remaining options is the most correct

Most questions in most verbal reasoning tests follow a standard format displaying a passage of text, and the answer options on screen. These can be arranged differently, and the layout can change when a different style of question is presented. You may be asked to select from a series of statements which is true or false, depending on the question. You might also be asked to correct spelling and punctuation errors in a body of text. You may be asked to rank statements in a particular order according to set criteria. Multiple choice answers can vary, however. You should have at least 3 options to pick from (True/False/Cannot say), but there can be more. The more answer options to pick from, the slimmer the chances are that you can obtain the correct answer by guessing.

Some publishers will have less subtle variations in their test from what's described here. Test types by different publishers are explained here in more detail.

Answered questions

Yes. the Civil Service use True/False/Cannot say style verbal reasoning tests to assess applicants in the recruitment process. The practice tests we provide have been designed are in this exact same style to create an environment similar to the real assessment. This provides you with confidence that the questions you practise with us now are an accurate reflection of the real assessment.

The same difficulty as real tests. Generally real employer selection tests don't differ that much in terms of difficulty which is why they compare your score against norm groups. Our practice tests are pitched roughly at graduate level, but this means they are actually suitable for preparing for all levels of job: entry; apprentice; graduate; senior; director.

Yes, and PC, and Linux and smartphone and Android and...everything. Our practice tests will run on all systems and they are responsive so they will work well on tablets and smartphones too!

How many times can I take the tests?

Unlimited. You can take our practice tests as many times as you like; there is no limit. But to be honest, after taking the same test a few times you start to remember the answers, so that’s why we have lots of tests.

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