What kinds of exams are there?

The City tests for a wide range of competencies needed to do specific jobs, and the type of test is chosen to match the ability to be tested. These are some of the terms that appear on announcements to describe different types of exams:

  • A written exam tests for knowledge of one or more subjects. The format may be multiple-choice, short answer or essay.
  • An oral performance exam asks you to respond orally to a job-related situation. You may interact with a role player, or describe how you would act, or make a presentation after studying written materials. Oral performance exams are used to test for interpersonal and communication skills, and for content knowledge.
  • An Evaluation of Training and Experience exam (T&E) is used when specific education or experience is a good predictor of success at a job. Often, you are sent a special questionnaire in which you are asked about your education and work or volunteer experience in areas related to the demands of the job.
  • In a computer-based simulation, you respond on a computer to a series of job-related situations, which are presented either in writing or through an audiotape.
  • A physical agility exam tests for the physical demands of a job. You do physical exercises or sample tasks from the job that show your physical abilities.
  • In clerical skills performance tests, you type sample passages in a timed setting at rates that are typical for the job in question.

These are the most frequently used test types. Others may be used, and they are described on the exam announcement.

Show All Answers

1. How do I prepare for the exam? What do I study?
2. Do you have a policy for alternate examination dates?
3. What is provisional appointment?
4. What are “Promotional” and “Open-Competitive” exams?
5. What kinds of exams are there?