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Computerized Testing FAQs

Computerized Testing Frequently Asked Questions


1. What is ICE?
2. When and where can I take a computerized test?
3. How do I apply to take a computerized test?
4. How is a computerized test different than a paper test?
5. How can I prepare for a computerized test?
6. What assistance is available for persons with disabilities?
7. What should I take to the test center?
8. What should I expect at the test center?
9. What happens after I take a computerized test?
10.   Do you have additional questions about computerized testing?


1. What is ICE?

     "ICE" is the State Civil Service Commission’s Integrated Computerized Examination System that is used to develop, administer and score civil service examinations. With the use of the ICE System and our other automated systems, the Commission is able to provide better services to our customers. ICE helps agencies fill vacancies faster and hire and promote the best-qualified candidates in a more efficient manner. ICE also allows candidates to receive their examination scores faster.


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2. When and where can I take a computerized test?

The ICE System is currently used for examinations administered Monday through Friday at State Civil Service Commission offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh.

Computerized testing is also available at our test centers in Allentown, Erie, Johnstown, Lock Haven, and Scranton. Tests are held at these five centers approximately 10 days a month, including some Saturdays and evenings.

For further details on test dates, contact one of the Commission's Offices listed below.


Office Voice Text Telephone (Deaf/Hard of Hearing Callers only)
Harrisburg (717) 783-3058 (717) 722-2685
Philadelphia (215) 560-2255 (215) 560-4367
Pittsburgh (412) 565-7666 (412) 565-2484
All Other Test Centers (717) 787-2935 (717) 787-5581

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3. How do I apply to take a computerized test?

You can apply to take a computerized test by reviewing the Open State and Local Government Career Opportunities located in the Job Seekers > State and Local Govt. Career Opportunities tab link on our website. and the appropriate test announcement(s) before completing an application. Make sure you meet the requirements listed on the test announcement. The test announcement contains other information that you will need to complete your application. When completing your application, make sure you apply for all job titles for which you want to be tested. You will NOT be permitted to add job titles after you test.

For most examinations which require testing at one of our test centers, you will be automatically directed to select a date, time and location to take your civil service test. For other job titles, you will be notified, when you can select a date, time and location for testing. If you complete a paper application, you will be notified by letter of your scheduled date, time, and location for testing. If you cannot report for testing on the date you are scheduled, click on the “Online Services" link on our website, login and select the “Schedule/Reschedule” option to reschedule your test. You may also contact one of our offices or email us at ra-cs-bitsreschedule@state.pa.us.

On most testing days, we may be able to allow you to test as a Walk-In on a first-come, first-served basis depending on available seating. Available seating occurs when an applicant scheduled for testing does not arrive or when an applicant completes a test early. For more information on stand-by testing, visit our Walk-In Testing link.

If you are traveling a long distance or are limited in the amount of time you can spend at the test center, we suggest scheduling your test through the Online Services link on our website at www.scsc.state.pa.us


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4. How is a computerized test different than a paper test?

You take a test at a workstation equipped with a computer, mouse, keyboard, and headphones. You do not use paper test booklets or paper answer sheets.

On-screen instructions will guide you through the examination process. Test questions will appear on screen. Only one question appears at a time. You will select answers by pointing and clicking with a mouse or by typing answers in text boxes. Your responses are recorded and stored for scoring.

In cases where a calculator, audio, video, graphics, and/or reference documents are associated with a test, you will access them by clicking on buttons displayed on the screen.

The amount of time you have to complete the test will be constantly displayed in a window on the computer screen.


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5. How can I prepare for a computerized test?

Whether this is your first experience taking a computerized test, or you are experienced with this form of testing, you should take the time to go through the Quick Help tutorial. The tutorial familiarizes you with the various boxes and buttons you will use during the application and examination process.

You should go through the Mouse Tutorial if you need assistance in learning basic computer skills such as:

holding and moving the mouse clicking, dragging, and scrolling with the mouse inserting text into boxes using radio buttons, check boxes, and drop-down menus highlighting, cutting, copying, and pasting text


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6. What assistance is available for persons with disabilities?

The Commission offers reasonable testing accommodations for persons with disabilities. It is your responsibility to inform the Commission of your needs prior to the test date. This information will be kept confidential. A Justification for Testing Accommodation form must be completed and on file before testing accommodations are granted. If you have not tested previously or since 2003 with the Commission, it will be necessary to return the completed signed form to the State Civil Service Commission, Test Administration Division, P.O. Box 569, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0569 or faxed to (717) 783-0838.

All information regarding candidate disabilities is kept confidential and is not provided to employing agencies.


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7. What should I take to the test center?

You MUST bring two forms of identification; one form of identification must contain both a signature and a recent photograph such as a driver’s license or a non-driver's photo identification card. IF YOU DO NOT PROVIDE THE REQUIRED IDENTIFICATION YOU WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO TAKE THE TEST.

If a calculator is needed for testing, a non-programmable calculator will be provided to you at the test center. A Microsoft calculator is also available, on screen, through the ICE System.

If you need to complete or update an application, you SHOULD bring accurate and complete experience and training information such as names, dates, etc. This information will be used to determine if you meet minimum job requirements.

If you need to provide documentation for veterans’ preference or to determine if you meet the minimum experience and/or training requirements for the job title (e.g., DD-214, college transcript) send a copy immediately to the following address: State Civil Service Commission, P.O. Box 569, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0569. YOUR QUALIFICATIONS WILL NOT BE REVIEWED UNTIL AFTER YOU TAKE THE TEST.

You are strongly encouraged NOT to bring any wireless communications or other unauthorized devices (i.e., calculators, cell phones, blackberries, IPODs, personal digital assistants) to the test site. The use of such devices is strictly prohibited in the test room.

UNATTENDED MINOR CHILDREN ARE NOT PERMITTED AT THE TEST SITE. Candidates who report for testing with an unattended minor child will not be permitted to test.


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8. What should I expect at the test center?

The following procedures will apply:

You must show two forms of acceptable identification. One form of identification must contain both a signature and a recent photograph such as a drivers license or a non-driver's photo identification card. You will be directed to a computer workstation. Upon request, arrangements will be made for left-handed mouse users. You must carefully follow the on-screen instructions which will guide you through the ICE system. You must notify the proctor if you need to leave the room at any time. You must IMMEDIATELY notify the proctor if at any time you are having a computer problem. You must not communicate with other candidates while at your workstation. You may not use wireless communications or other unauthorized devies (i.e., calculators, cell phones, blackberries, IPODs, personal digital assistants) in the test room. You may NOT bring unattended minor children to the test site.


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9. What happens after I take a computerized test?

The Commission will send you the results of your examination. If you meet the minimum requirements and pass the test, your name is placed on the list of eligible candidates (eligible list) for that job title according to your score. Positions in the merit system are filled from this pool of eligible candidates.

When a job vacancy occurs, the hiring agency requests an eligible list from which to interview for that job title. Hiring is normally done from the highest ranking candidates on an eligible list.

Your standing on the eligible list may change as more persons are tested and added, and as appointments are made.


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10. Do you have additional questions about computerized testing?

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