Glossary of Terms

Examination bulletins contain extensive information about the examination that is helpful in helping you to prepare for the rest. Before filing for any examination, you should read and understand the requirements found in the bulletin.

Bulletins include a number of terms that may not be familiar to you. The following glossary the most common terms, but does not include every term used on a bulletin.

  1. Competition in examinations may be limited based on whether or not you already work for State Service.
    • Open and Open Non-Promotional Examinations. These examinations are open to anyone who meets the minimum qualifications, regardless of their current place of employment.
    • Departmental Promotional Examinations. These examinations are limited to Department of Forestry and Fire Protection employees with permanent status.
  2. Final File Date. For most examinations, applications are accepted only for a period of 3 weeks for promotional exams and 4 weeks for open exams. Each bulletin includes a final file date. Applications must be received by or postmarked no later than the final file date. Applications postmarked, personally delivered or received via interoffice mail after the final file date will not be accepted.
  3. Minimum Qualifications. For each classification, a legal document called a Class Specification is prepared which describes many facets of the class. Minimum qualifications are a part of that legal document. Similar to prerequisites in course work, the minimum qualifications outline the minimum amount of specific education and experience that a candidate must possess to be admitted to the examination. If you do not possess the minimum amount of education and/or experience, your application will be rejected and you will not be allowed to compete in the examination.
  4. Examination Information. Examinations may consist of one or more components such as a written test, oral interview, supplemental application, and/or performance test. The examination information section of the bulletin describes the type of test to be used. In some cases, two or more components may be combined to determine the final score (for example, it is very common to combine a written test with a qualifications appraisal panel oral interview). If that is the case, the bulletin will show the weight given to each part of the exam. The most common types of tests are:
    • Written. This consists of multiple choice questions, but may also include essay questions.
    • Qualification Appraisal Panel. This is a scored interview conducted by a panel that includes a chairperson who assures State requirements are maintained during the interview, and subject matter experts who evaluate the answers provided by the candidate.
    • Supplemental Application. This is an examination consisting of job-related factors such as education, training/certification and experience that evaluates your competitive standing against other applicants by using a detailed questionnaire.
    • Performance Test. This test requires the candidate to replicate certain duties actually performed on the job.
    • Education and Experience Evaluation. This compares the candidates' applications as reflected on the application against a pre-set rating standard.
  5. The Position. This describes typical duties performed by the class for which the examination is being given.
  6. Scope. The class specification also includes the knowledge, skills and abilities required for success in the class. The scope identifies which of the knowledge, skills and abilities will be examined in the test. This is most important, as it identifies areas of questioning for which you can develop your own study plan to help you prepare for the test.
  7. Eligible List Information. This section includes information on the expected length of time that the list will be used (generally from 2 to 4 years).
  8. General Information. This includes a variety of information that applies to all examinations, such as where to call if you have questions or don't receive a response your application, where to find applications, general qualifications, etc. It is to your benefit to read and understand this general information.

If you have questions regarding exams described in the bulletins you find on our website, you may contact the Exam Unit at (916) 445-7824.



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