Civil Service Glossary



Admission Notice

Notification sent to all candidates in an assembled test informing them of when and where to report for the test and the materials needed.


Online form or forms a candidate must submit. A completed application form is required to register for an examination.

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Certified List

The Civil Service List or portion of the Civil Service List officially sent to City agencies and from which they can hire.

Civil Service Law

State Law which mandated competitive exams where practicable to fill positions based on the principles of merit and fitness.

Committee on Manifest Errors

A panel assembled to review appeals submitted by candidates regarding their ratings on an examination.

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The Department of Citywide Administrative Services.


DCAS Human Capital.

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  • Education and Experience (E&E) Examinations are used to fill positions in which specific experience, more than general knowledge and ability, is a better indicator of a candidate's qualification for a particular position. E&E Examinations are usually offered for "professional" positions.
  • Online Education and Experience Test (OLEE) allows candidates to apply for an education and experience test online, take the test, and receive immediate feedback about their test results. OLEE makes the tests more accessible to candidates, since it allows candidates to take the tests from their homes, or at locations convenient to them, such as the local library. OLEE has also resulted in establishing Civil Service lists from these exams more quickly.
  • Multiple-Choice Examinations are generally offered for Open Competitive titles or entry level positions to the City's workforce. These exams tend to consist of 40 to 150 multiple-choice questions. The candidate records answers on a Scantron sheet by coloring in circles with a No. 2 pencil.
  • Practical/Physical Examinations test a candidate's skill or fitness in performing a specific task. Frequently, these exams are given in addition to a multiple-choice examination.

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Filing Period

The specific time period during which individuals are able to register to take a specific examination. The time usually lasts approximately three weeks. The City does not accept registration for an examination before or after the defined filing period.

Final Key

The answer key or rating guide in an examination adopted after all protests have been evaluated and by which all candidates are scored.

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The Official Notice of Examination (NOE) explains the specific details of an examination. This includes test date, qualifications required to take the examination and topics the exam will cover. Read the NOE carefully before registering for an examination.

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One in Three Rule

Under New York State Civil Service Law, this rule provides City agencies with the discretion when hiring to select one of the three eligibles scoring highest on the ranked eligible list of exam passers.

Open Competitive Exam

Exams open to anyone meeting the minimum qualifications as described in the official Notice of Examination.

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Permanent Civil Service Status

City employees who have been appointed from a Civil Service exam and passed the mandated probationary period. Persons with permanent Civil Service Status may take promotion Civil Service exams if they qualify.

Promotional Exam

Exams open to permanent Civil Service employees, i.e.: those who have been appointed from a Civil Service exam and passed the mandated probationary period.

Proposed Key

Answers in an examination by which DCAS proposes to grade candidates. Candidates are allowed to submit challenges or protests to the Proposed Key.

Protest Period

A 30-day period during which candidates are permitted to present challenges to the Proposed Key.

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Selective Certification

A method used by agencies to appoint/promote applicants (from an eligible list) who possess additional or specialized knowledge, training, skills or abilities beyond those which are assessed through a Civil Service title's minimum qualification requirements. Applicants who possess a particular specialized skill for which a City agency may have an immediate need are given preference for being appointed/promoted from the eligible list over other candidates who do not possess that particular specialized skill.

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