Examination Preparation

Purpose of Testing

Tests are given to assure the selection of the best-qualified people for City-Parish jobs. As an applicant, you deserve a fair chance to compete equally with others. The purpose of a test is to measure the differences between applicants in the knowledge and skills needed for a job. Most of our test questions are in a multiple-choice or true/false format. Test questions vary depending on what is appropriate for the particular classification(s). Just to name a few, tests may include subject areas such as reading comprehension, mathematics, spelling, customer service, filing, etc. A list of the Subject Areas Included on Examinations (PDF) is also available for reference.  The  City-Parish uses written exams for many entry-level jobs and we hope this pamphlet will help you face the prospect of taking such a test. View Examination Preparation Tips (PDF).

Written Examination Study Guides

These study guides were developed to help you prepare for a written examination.  The study guides contain general test-taking advice and also provide specific information related to the exam content.  This information includes the subject areas covered by the exam, the types of questions to expect, strategies for approaching the questions, and sample questions. Though this information cannot guarantee a higher test score, it can give you direction for your test preparation that will assist you in doing your best.  Study guides for each written exam will be developed over time.  If your preferred study guide does not appear below, please check this webpage periodically. To view a study guide, select the name of your written exam below.  

How to Prepare

Read the Job Announcement

The job announcement will tell you if a written test is given. View a list of the topics on the test (PDF). You should also read carefully the description of the job and the specific duties performed. These will give you an idea of the critical knowledge and skills for which you will be tested.

Should You Study?

This depends on you and the particular nature of the job for which you are competing. Some jobs require knowledge of a specific subject, such as accounting, and it would probably be worthwhile to review some basic concepts. There are commercially (ARCO, Barron’s) published study guides and practice tests for employment tests. These books contain sample questions from employers across the country; they are not specific to City-Parish. Most of our tests, however, measure your ability to apply acquired skills and knowledge in a work-related context and you should be able to demonstrate this without a lot of study or preparation.

What You Should Know About Our Tests

How Hard Are They?

Our tests are designed so that the average person is expected to correctly answer about half the questions. If the test is too easy or too hard, it will not do a good job of identifying those candidates who are most qualified for the job.

How Are They Scored?

All answers are recorded on special machine-scored answer sheets. After the test has been scored, you will receive a letter informing you of the results. Your name will be placed on an eligible list ranked according to score, and you will be referred to a departmental hiring authority for a selection interview if your name is certified. Passed exams may be retaken after 6 months (recent score stands). Failed exams may be retaken after 3 months. The position must be open to retest.

Tips For Taking Written Tests

Be Prompt

Note the time and place of the test and allow plenty of time to get there early. This reduces stress!

Know the Rules

Listen carefully as the test administrator reads the instructions and asks questions if there is anything you don’t understand.

Budget Your Time

Look over the test and decide how much time you can afford to spend on each section. Do not waste time on questions you find difficult. Do the easy ones first and come back to the harder ones as time permits.

Read the Questions Carefully

Do not assume that you know what a question is going to ask after reading the first few words. Read ALL the possible answers in multiple-choice questions, and pick the best of the several choices. Consider each question separately. The answer to anyone question is not intended to help you answer any other. Look for keywords. Often words such as always, best, except, generally, least, none, and some provide valuable clues to the correct answer.

Should You Guess?

Yes. Research indicates that people who guess when they do not know the answer do better on tests than those who do not. When you don’t know the correct answer to a question, you should eliminate those choices which you are sure are wrong. Generally, the answer that seems right is right. Avoid reading more into a question than is intended. You should select your answer based on the information provided and not look for any “tricks.” Check your answer sheet often! The numbers on the answer sheet run in columns from top to bottom. Check your place on the answer sheet every few questions to be sure you are using the right line and space to mark your answer. Be particularly careful, if you skip questions.

Follow Instructions For Marking the Answer Sheet

Answer sheets are “read” by a scoring machine. Your answer may not be counted if the marks are too small, too light, erasures are incomplete, or there are any stray marks, smudges or checks on the paper. Be sure your marks are heavy and the response spaces completely filled in.

Correct Way to Complete the Answer Sheet

Answer Sheet

Affirmative Action & Tests

The City of Baton Rouge is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity for all people regardless of race, sex, national origin, age, religion or disability. Our tests are specifically designed to measure those skills and knowledge required for the job. Job-related written tests are particularly fair in that all candidates are treated equally. If you feel that you require any assistance in any stage of the application / examination process due to a disability, please let one of our staff know. We hope this information will be helpful as you prepare for our tests! Good Luck!