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The City of Albany’s exams are all related to the requirements of specific job categories; they are not general tests of intelligence or ability. Therefore the first way to prepare for the exam is to get an exam announcement and read it carefully. The "scope" of the exam will provide a lot of information including the form of the exam (written, oral, evaluation of training and experience), the weight given to each part and the subjects to be tested.
Once you know the content of the exam, there are a couple of approaches to getting ready. One is to use a review or test book in the area to be tested. For example, if writing skills will be tested, a good grammar textbook may be the place to start. Another possibility is to look at the Civil Service review books (e.g., Arco series) in the public library for sample questions and answers. Even if there isn’t a review book for exactly the test you’re taking, there may be others that include the same topics. Compare the scopes of the two exams to find out. In addition, many of those books contain general strategies for test taking: how to stay calm, how to study, etc., and they can provide useful information to help in your preparation.
There may also be a study guide for your examination available on the New York State Civil Service website.
Yes. An excerpt from the policy:
A "provisional" appointment is made when there is no eligible list for a job category and a department wishes to make an appointment immediately. In this case the department may choose anyone who meets the minimum requirements for the job. However, a test will be given eventually for that job category. If you are appointed "provisionally", you must not only pass the exam when it is given, but you must be reachable for appointment by placing among the top three candidates on the list.
For "Promotional" exams, applications will be accepted only from current City employees who meet certain criteria.
When an exam is announced as "Open Competitive," applications will be accepted from anyone, either members of the public or City employees.
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:
These are the most frequently used test types. Others may be used, and they are described on the exam announcement.