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Everything You Need To Know About The Civil Service Exam

Nothing speaks louder of one’s love for country than living a life of service to its people. Some find it in the corporate world, while others in non-government organizations, and  the rest find it in the government.

Which one are you in?

If you’re part of the 77% of Filipino job seekers who have the heart to serve in the Philippine government, then we encourage you to continue reading! While there are a lot of career paths you can take right after college, applying for a job in the government requires more than just the willingness to serve and a diploma in one hand. You should also prove you’re qualified for the job! For starters, you should pass the Civil Service Exam.


What is the Civil Service Exam?

Also known as the Career Service Examination, the Civil Service Examination (CSE), is an annual eligibility exam for individuals who want to pursue a career in the government. It is conducted by the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the constitutional commission responsible for overseeing the government services, as a way to screen and select prospective civil servants. Passing the CSE is required for everyone who wants a job in the government.


What are the two types of Civil Service Exam?

Before taking the Civil Service Exam, you should first decide which type of CSE you’ll take: the Professional level and Subprofessional level.

Taking the Professional level qualifies you for both first-level and second-level government positions. This gives you a wide range of options from clerical work to technical, managerial positions in the government. Keep in mind that examinees for the Professional level must be graduates of a four-year college course.

On the other hand, the Subprofessional level only allows you to take jobs in first-level government positions such as clerical, administrative work. Unlike the Professional level, examinees who have less than four years of college education can take the test under this category.


What is the coverage of the Civil Service Exam?

The Civil Service Exam is an aptitude test. Like your college entrance exam, the CSE includes multiple-choice questions in English, Filipino, Mathematics, and General Information. However, since it’s meant to evaluate how fit you are for public service, the exam will specifically test your knowledge about the (1) code  of conduct and ethical standards for public officials and employees; (2) environment management and protection; (3) peace and human rights issues and concepts; and (4) the Philippine Constitution.

While the exam is most likely the same for the Professional and Subprofessional levels, here’s a more in-depth look at the CSE coverage:

Professional Level

  • Analogy
  • Grammar and correct usage
  • Logic
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Paragraph organization
  • Reading comprehension
  • Vocabulary

Subprofessional Level

  • Clerical operations
  • Grammar and correct usage
  • Numerical reasoning
  • Paragraph organization
  • Reading comprehension
  • Spelling
  • Vocabulary


What is the passing rate for the Civil Service Exam?

If you think the CSE is a walk in the park, think again! We take government work seriously and therefore ensure exam results reflect only the aspiring public servants who qualify for the government standard. In fact, only around 10-12% of annual CSE takers pass the exam on average.

If you’ll take the exam, you must get at least an 80% mark, which is applicable to both exams. You’ll have to score 136 points for the Professional level and 132 points for Subprofessional level if you want to pass.

Ever wonder how CSE takers are faring in the exams? Here’s the trend of the CSE passing rates over the last three years:

Exam Date

No. of Passers Total No. of Examinees

Passing Rate

August 2018




March 2018




August 2017




March 2017




October 2016




April 2016





What are the two modes of Civil Service Exam?

There are two ways you can take the Civil Service Exam. The first one is the manual pen-and-paper test (PPT) which is the traditional method of taking exams, while the other one is the computerized examination (COMEX). This method allows you to take the exam using a computer so you wouldn’t  have to shade circles on paper.

Although the application process, exam schedule, and exam fee differ between PPT and COMEX, both modes of taking the CSE exam have the same difficulty level, time limit, and set of questions. Take your pick!


What are the eligibility requirements of the Civil Service Exam?

One of the things that distinguish the Civil Service Exam from other eligibility exams is the fact that it has no educational requirement for its applicants. This means you can already apply for the CSE as early as high school! ! The only eligibility requirements you have to meet are the following:

  • A Filipino citizen
  • At least 18 years old during application
  • No criminal record (civil service examination irregularity, dishonesty, drunkenness, immoral conduct, illegal drugs)
  • No dismissal record from the government or military service
  • Never taken the same-level of CSE within three months prior the exam date

On the other hand, there are also individuals who the CSC deems as qualified for public service even without taking the CSE exam. Bar exam passers, board exam passers, and honor graduates in state institutions, and other CHED-recognized institutions are just a few exemptions to the rule. However, note that they still have to meet certain qualifications to apply for the Certificate of Eligibility in their respective CSC Regional Office or Field Office.


What are the application requirements of the Civil Service Exam?

If you’re eligible for the Civil Service Exam, the next step you should do is to prepare the following application requirements:

CSE application form

  • Completely fill out the Civil Service Exam application form. You can get a copy in any CSC Regional Office or Field Office, or download it from the CSC website.

Recent ID photos

  • Submit four (4) colored, passport-size ID photos. Your photo should be taken within three months before the application date, and with your name handwritten in a white background. If you’re taking the COMEX, you can skip these ID photos since your picture will be taken when you go to the CSC office.

Valid ID

  • Prepare an original and photocopy of your valid ID. This can be your passport, driver’s license, PhilHealth ID, postal ID, among others. Kindly check the CSC website for a complete list of accepted valid IDs.


When is the Civil Service Exam schedule?

The CSC conducts the Civil Service Exam twice or thrice a year. Exam schedules differ depending on where you’ll take the exam, and whether you’ll have the pen-and-paper test or the computerized exam. So always be on the lookout for schedule announcements in the CSC official website and Facebook page.


How to apply for the Civil Service Exam?

Depending on what works best for you, you can apply for the Civil Service Exam through the traditional walk-in applications or through online means.

Manual Pen-And-Paper Test (PPT)

  • If you prefer to go the distance and personally see the whole process, submit your complete CSE requirements to the CSC Regional Office or Field Office where you plan to take the civil service exam. Pay the exam fee of Php 500, regardless if you’ll take the Professional or SubProfessional level.

Computerized Examination (COMEX)

  • If online applications suit you better, apply for the CSE through the COMEX site. Just register for a user account and follow the instructions for the application requirements. Make sure to choose and reserve your exam slot in the COMEX reservation site, and pay the exam fee of Php 680.


How to take the Civil Service Exam?

Just like your school entrance exams, come prepared and do your best! On the day of the CSE, go to the CSC office you applied to—regardless if you’ll take the exam through the pen-and-paper test or the computerized exam, and simply follow the test instructions. The Professional level consists of 170 items you should answer within three hours and ten minutes. On the other hand, the Subprofessional level has 165 items and a shorter time limit of two hours and forty minutes.

If you’ll take the exam through the PPT, you’ll be asked to answer the test booklet on the provided answer sheet. Use black ballpen to shade the correct answer. And if through COMEX, you’ll read the exam questions from the screen and type in your answer. Both time limit will be implemented for the tests.


Where can I check the Civil Service Exam results?

There’s nothing more nerve-racking than the waiting game. But don’t worry! The Civil Service Exam results won’t keep you waiting for too long. If you took the exam through the pen-and-paper test, you can expect the results 60 days after the exam date. Or if through the COMEX, you’d just have to wait for a week. To check the official list of CSE passers, simply access the Online Civil Service Examination Result Generation System (OCSERGS).

Should you pass the CSE (we know you will!), the CSC will give you a Certification of Eligibility after a month they released the exam results. Just bring your application official receipt and at least one (1) valid I.D. card to claim it at the CSC office for free.


Reviewing for the CSE will not be easy, but it’ll definitely be worth it. As you study hard and smart for the exam, we do hope you keep these tips and reminders in mind, and that they’ll help inch you closer to passing the exam—with flying colors. Hey, we’re claiming it already!

Ready to ace the Civil Service Exam? Let us help you nail it on the big day. Read more helpful articles like this in the College Life blog section at Edukasyon.ph now!