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Exam Information

Types of civil service examinations
Civil Service examinations are held on either an Open Competitive or Promotional basis. Open competitive examinations are open to anyone in the general public who meets the announced minimum qualifications. Promotion examinations are open only to permanent employees of the agency where the promotional title exists.

Types of tests used in civil service examinations
An examination may consist of one or more of the following types of tests:

1.Written tests - usually multiple choice questions and sometimes essay questions. Written tests are generally held on Saturdays at local sites such as Onondaga Community College, Nottingham High School or the OnCenter.

2.Oral tests - candidates appear before a panel of examiners, or sometimes before a video camera to make a presentation.

3.Performance tests - candidates are evaluated on how well they perform a sample of the work.

4.Training and Experience evaluations
- each candidate's education and work experience is rated against the job requirements. Training and Experience evaluations do not require a candidate to appear. Ratings are based on the information candidates submit on their applications, or on special applications, or on special application supplements.

5.Physical/Agility tests - for some positions candidates may be required to pass a physical and/or agility test. Physical/agility tests are currently held at the downtown YMCA.

Announcements are located at the following locations:
The Job Opportunities page on the site.

Onondaga County Civil Service examination announcements are available in the office of the Onondaga County Personnel Department on the 13th floor of the Civic Center and at the Self Service Examination Information/Application center in the Banner Room of the Civic Center. Examination announcements are also posted at local public buildings, government offices, libraries and school district offices.

How to apply
You may download an applications located on the Document Center page of this web site.

You may obtain an application for examinations at the Onondaga County Department of Personnel between the hours of 8:00 am. and 4:30 pm. or at the Self Service Examination Center located in the basement of the Civic Center during and after business hours. You may also request applications be mailed to you by submitting a written request and a self addressed stamped envelope.

Candidates wishing to compete in announced examinations must submit their completed applications to the Civic Center office of the Onondaga County Department of Personnel no later than close of business at 4:30 p.m. on the last file date listed on the examination announcement. Applications may also be deposited in the drop box at the Banner Room Self Service Center during and after hours. Applications received via U.S. Mail will be accepted only if post marked on or before the announced last file date listed on the examination announcement.
Faxed applications are not acceptable.

Examination Fees
A non-refundable application fee may be paid by check or money order payable to Chief Fiscal Officer, or by VISA or MasterCard (complete a credit card form if by mail). Cash will be accepted only if paying in person.
$35.00 for examinations that are entry level police titles;
$25.00 for examinations that are uniformed protective service titles, other than entry level police titles;
$15.00 for examinations in all other titles (not in a uniformed protective service or entry level police title).

A waiver of application fee will be allowed for those applicants who can certify that they are either:  unemployed and primarily responsible for support of a household; eligible for Medicaid, receiving Supplemental Security Income payments or Public Assistance, receiving Foster Care, are certified Workforce Investment Act eligible through a State or local service agency; or, are an Onondaga County resident and have or are now honorably serving in the Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves.   A completion of an Application for Fee Waiver is required. All claims are subject to later verification.

Study Guides and Exam Preparation

Exam Preparation

To have some idea as to what to expect and how to take a written Civil Service examination the State has developed a manual titled “How to take a written test”, to view this manual use the following linkhttp://www.cs.ny.gov/pio/publications/howtotakeawrittentest.pdf

Test Guides

With regard to specific test guides, there are test guides published by the New York State Department of Civil Service and they are usually targeted to specific, entry-level titles. Test Guides are not provided for every examination. If a Test Guide is provided for an examination, information about the guide will appear on the examination announcement. Test Guides are designed to familiarize candidates with the format of the test. Test Guides provide a description of the subject areas that will be tested and present samples of the types of test material that will appear on the test. The sample test material is similar to what the candidates will see on the actual test. If sample questions are provided, the solution and correct answer will be provided after each sample question. Candidates should pay close attention to the "Subjects of Examination" listed on the examination announcement for information on the test type and content (subject areas) of the examination. Candidates should focus their examination preparation upon the information given in the examination announcement. 

Study Guides for Local Government Civil Service Exams

To access study guides prepared by New York State Civil Service, for exams held by Local Civil Service agencies for positions with local government(s), use the following link: https://www.cs.ny.gov/testing/testguides.cfm

Commercially Prepared Study Guides

There are study guides that are commercially prepared and can be purchased from various vendors who sell reference books. 

Your local library may also be a venue to explore in obtaining one of these study guides. The Onondaga County Public Library provides study aides as well as online passbooks available use the following link:  https://onlib.overdrive.com/onondaga-onondagacounty/content/collection/111550

The CSEA Union also offers various study guides, free to their members and for a small fee to the general public.  To view the guides available use the following link:  https://csealearningcenter.org/booklets/catalog/index.php.


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