Positions in the NYC federal departments are some of the most sought-after jobs in the US. Candidates from all over the state apply for a federal position in the largest city in the country. In 2015, over 94,000 people filed the NYC Sanitation Application. This number will far exceed the 100,000 mark in the upcoming DCAS Sanitation Exam 2060.
These positions are competitive for a good reason. NYC federal departments offer higher salaries and more benefits than similar positions in the private sector. If you want to join the DSNY, FDNY, or NYPD, you have to work harder for it than the average Joe.
Here are six tips that can give you an edge in the exam and make you stand out with your score.
1- Understand the Hiring Process
Many people appearing in the DCAS exams don’t even bother to learn about the hiring process. They hear someone say, “the exam won’t ask you anything technical,” and they figure they can just wing it. This is a recipe for failure.
True, you won’t be asked how to analyze a building for escape routes in an FDNY exam or how to work a submachine gun in a Suffolk Police Exam. Still, that doesn’t mean the exam is easy; it’s far from it. Considering that your exam score is the only thing determining whether you’re hired, it’s worth understanding as thoroughly as possible.
2- Give The Exam Your Everything
Many candidates make the mistake of not preparing for the exam and filing the NYC Sanitation Application again seven years later. Don’t follow their steps. For all practical purposes, you get but one chance to do well in the exam. You don’t want to learn the importance of preparing the hard way when it’s too late.
The exam is designed to filter the best candidates from the rest. It contains word problems, math equations, logical reasoning questions, spatial puzzles, and other questions that test your natural abilities.
You may not need many of these skills on the job, at least not in the entry positions. However, if the exam was easy, many people would get a perfect score, and the department won’t be able to decide whom to hire first. This makes this difficulty a good thing but only for those who prepare.
3- Show a Humanitarian Outlook in The Interview
The interview is not as important as the exam, but it’s still worth preparing for. The NYC Sanitation Department and the NYPD will only call you for an interview after you’ve already been selected, so for these departments, we suggest focusing on the exam first. However, the FDNY conducts an interview right after the DCAS exam, which you need to prepare for.
Regardless of the department, federal interviews look for passionate candidates for the job. They look for people that want to help others with their careers. Many questions will be about why you chose that particular department and what you aim to do once you’re recruited. Show a humanitarian outlook and consciousness for the city, and you’ll do good.
4- Don’t Give Up Sleep for The Exam
Many candidates stay up at night preparing for the exam, especially the days before the exam. This does more harm than good. Almost all of the exam questions you’ll have to attempt will require you to collect, store, and process information in real-time. Sleep affects these abilities more than anything else.
When you’re preparing for DCAS exams, you train your brain to attempt complex problems. However, you don’t want to train so hard that you cross the point of diminishing returns. Just as you can’t win a race with an injured leg, you can’t pass an exam with an overworked, sleep-deprived brain.
Not sleeping properly the night before the exam will directly impact your ability to solve the problems during the exam. However, not sleeping properly in the weeks leading up to the exam will impact your ability to prepare for the exam. You can’t learn to solve a complex problem no matter how hard you try if your brain is incapable of holding enough working memory.
5- Prepare Earlier in The Day
The time of day doesn’t matter much in traditional exams, but in DCAS exams, it can make all the difference. Many factors can affect your ability to learn throughout the day. Early in the morning, you get a boost of serotonin that makes you feel wakeful and improves your ability to learn. Serotonin levels decline as the day progresses. The levels plummet around 1 pm for biphasic sleep and rise again in the evening. Periods of high serotonin activity are the best times to learn.
Your body also depletes a compound called adenosine throughout the day. This compound progressively makes you feel tired and sleepy unless you block adenosine receptors with caffeine in coffee. Some sleep scientists think that just being awake damages the brain and that sleep works to repair the damages caused during wakefulness. These factors make morning the best time to prepare for mentally requiring DCAS exams.
6- Take Preparation Classes
Taking preparation classes is the only way to cover all your bases. It’s hard for candidates to understand the hiring processes of the federal departments fully, let alone thoroughly prepare for all the steps. Experienced DCAS exam instructors can guide you through the process, so you don’t make any first-timer mistakes and get hired.
At Civil Service Success, our preparation classes are taught by retired civil service workers that have led successful careers in different federal departments in NYC. We’re starting our NYC Sanitation Exam prep classes this August. We also host classes for the Suffolk and Nassau County Police Exams and the NYC Firefighter Exam.
Want to land an NYC federal job successfully? Get in touch now!