Understanding the Public Service Entrance Exam suite of products

The Public Service Entrance Exam is an innovative suite of recruitment and selection tests for staffing officer-level positions in the public service. It is used to assess 2 competencies:

  • Reasoning and problem-solving ability; and
  • Judgement for solving problems in work-related situations.

What is the Public Service Entrance Exam suite of products?

The Public Service Entrance Exam includes the following:

  • Supervised tests;
  • Optional unsupervised internet tests as part of a two-step assessment; and
  • Flexibility to assess a single competency or both competencies in a single test.

The two-step assessment process that incorporates an unsupervised internet test is an efficient way to manage large volumes of applicants and identify qualified candidates in the early stages of a staffing process.

How to use the Public Service Entrance Exam?

A major innovation of the exam is that each competency can be assessed:

  • In 2 steps with an unsupervised internet test (Step 1) first, followed by the corresponding Public Service Commission supervised test (Step 2); or
  • In one step by assessing all candidates with the Public Service Commission supervised test only.

Unsupervised Internet Testing (Step 1) screens applicants, based on merit, at minimal cost to clients and applicants. Costlier and more time-consuming, supervised testing is limited to those who pass the unsupervised internet test and those who have successfully met all other requirements for the position.

Supervised testing (Step 2) must occur prior to appointment, but hiring managers can choose at what stage in the selection process they make use of this test. Options include:

  • Inviting all those who pass the unsupervised internet test (Step 1) to the corresponding Public Service Commission supervised test (Step 2); or
  • Conducting additional screening and/or assessing other merit criteria first, thereby leaving the supervised testing to the final stage of assessment, with a smaller number of applicants.

When using a two-step assessment process, please note that:

  • Applicants must pass both tests (Steps 1 and 2) to be deemed qualified for appointment on the assessed qualification(s);
  • Only applicants who pass the unsupervised internet test (Step 1) are eligible to take the corresponding Public Service Commission supervised test (Step 2); and
  • Applicants with a valid pre-existing score on the supervised test cannot bypass Step 1.

Why opt for the two-step assessment process?

  • Less supervised testing saves time and money in the staffing process; and
  • Applicants who move on to supervised testing (Step 2) are more likely to succeed, having already demonstrated their abilities in Step 1.
  • For a more extensive list of advantages for both hiring managers and applicants, see Unsupervised Internet Testing.

Learn more about unsupervised internet tests

Unsupervised Internet Testing is an innovative merit-based tool that helps reduce the volume of applicants and identify qualified candidates in the early stages of a selection process.

Unsupervised internet tests are only used as Step 1 of a two-step assessment process. An applicant's unsupervised internet test results must be verified by administering the corresponding Public Service Commission supervised test (Step 2) before an appointment can be made.

Applicants complete the test online, without supervision, at a time and location of their choice, within a specified time frame.

Unsupervised internet test results are non-transferable and cannot be re-used for another staffing process.

These tests can be administered to applicants:

  • On submission
    The unsupervised internet test is part of the application process and must be completed before an application can be submitted.
  • By invitation
    Applicants are invited to take the unsupervised internet test after the advertisement has closed.

The suite of Public Service Entrance Exam unsupervised internet tests includes:

Learn more about supervised testing

Supervised testing involves administering tests in a supervised environment at a predetermined time and location.

It can be done by using traditional paper tests or by administering the test electronically using the Public Service Commission's On-line Testing Facility.

Supervised tests can be used on their own or as a follow-up (Step 2) to an unsupervised internet test (Step 1) in a two-step assessment process.

Unsupervised internet test scores are non-transferable. However, existing supervised test results can be re-used by candidates in other staffing processes.

The suite of Public Service Entrance Exam supervised tests includes:

Selecting the right combination of Public Service Entrance Exam products

Public Service Entrance Exam assessment tools can be selected and combined according to the needs of the hiring manager. Please note that in a two-step assessment process, an unsupervised internet test must be followed by supervised testing, using the corresponding Public Service Commission test. Some options are as follows:

Competency Being Assessed Sequence of Testing Alternative
Reasoning and judgement

Step 1: 370 unsupervised test
Step 2: 371 supervised test

Choose only the 371 supervised test

Reasoning alone

Step 1: 372 unsupervised test
Step 2: 373 supervised test

Choose only the 373 supervised test

Judgement alone

Step 1: 374 unsupervised test
Step 2: 375 supervised test

Choose only the 375 supervised test

Candidate information about the tests

  • For technical questions, contact the HelpDesk.
  • For more details about the job, contact the hiring manager or program.

Information for managers and human resources advisors

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