8 Tips on How to Pass the Civil Service Examination Next Time

Since I graduated, I have conducted Civil Service Examination review from time to time and I know several people who took many times. Sadly, until now, some of them have not yet passed the exams.  I tried to think about what was wrong and here are my insights about it.

First of all, truth be told, if you look at the content of the Civil Service Examination, aside from Republic Act 6713, almost all of the scope of the examination is High School level. Now, if you have not passed the examination, it does not mean that you are dumb, but your review approach is probably wrong. Of course, for those who graduated before I was born (just kidding), you need a lot of brushing up to do.

Below are my insights on what must be wrong and what to do about them. If you can add more, it will be valuable for other readers.

Note: The tips below are for those who want or those who have taken the Civil Service Examination in the Philippines. 

8 Possible Reasons Why You Failed the Civil Service Examination

1. You forgot the basics.

As I have mentioned above, the content of the Civil Service is mainly High School level. So, you need to dig up those high school textbooks. Buy mathematics as well grammar and correct usage books . You don’t need to buy and expensive ones, try going to book sales (try Booksale in malls if you’re in the city) and surely you’ll get some good books for lesser price. Try also reviewing basic mathematics: integers, decimals, percents, fractions, and word problem solving.

2. In mathematics, you mastered the shortcuts and not the concepts.

I think one of the mistakes in mathematics of those who take the CS examinations is that they keep on focusing on the shortcuts. Well, in real examinations, you are under some pressure that sometimes you forget things. If you forgot the shortcuts and you have nothing to back them up, well, I think you know what would happen . It is good to have some shortcuts but you have to be sure that you know the basics if you forget them. Better still, master the basics and find a way to develop your own shortcut method.

That is why I am not discussing the shortcuts in this blog yet. 

3. You know a lot of stuff, but you’re slow.

When I took the Computerized Examination, many of my batchmates did not finish the test. I am not really sure if it was the lack of skill to use the computer, especially the older ladies, or something else. Well, first, if you are not very good with computers, take the paper and pencil test. Secondly, try to practice solving and answering questions under time pressure. Monitoring your speed in solving and reading is a good practice.

4. You crammed.

If you were born before the Civil Service Commission existed, and you are not in the academic community, then you have probably forgotten the basics. I suggest that you read a lot and solve a lot of math problems. I don’t think that reviewing two weeks before the exam can really do much good.

5.  You read the wrong books.

Most takers of Civil Service Examination only read the Civil Service reviewers.  The Civil Service Examination reviewer shows you what the Civil Service exam will look like. The important thing you should know is that why are the answers in your reviewer are such. Further, in buying a reviewer, try those with answer keys and explanation. Knowing the answer without knowing why helps very little.

In addition, I suggest that you read grammar and mathematics textbooks aside from the Civil Service Reviewer sold in bookstores. Of course, you should read this blog as often as possible. 😀

6. You memorized a lot.

Memorizing something without context can be very hard.  For example, you are given a lot of words where you memorize their meaning without using them. Sooner or later, you will forget them.

If you want to be good at vocabulary, read novels and magazines, and list down the words that you don’t understand. Find their meanings and use them in a sentence or write them in a notebook. Use them in conversation or writing (like blogging) whenever possible.

You also might want to read 5 Effective Ways to Improve Your Vocabulary.

7. You lacked confidence.

When you yourself know that you are not ready for something, then the nervousness comes in. Under pressure like the Civil Service Examination where often tenure is the prize, things could go wrong during the examination. So, review a lot and be ready. That’s the only thing that will give you confidence: that feeling of being ready.

8. You failed and then stopped reviewing.

Many who failed the Civil Service examination, stop reviewing. They wait for the time when the next examination is near and start reviewing again. In effect, the things that they have learned before the previous test had to be relearned again. You see the picture? So, don’t stop until you passed.


Learning is a constant process and you should learn even though you are not studying. Buy a book or two, solve a problem or two, solve a crossword puzzle or two. It will keep the mind active. Someday, the things that you learned will help you — like passing other examinations.

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