Exam Day!

It's exam day for quite a number of government officers. The last time the figure exceeded more than 1,000 civil servants with the majority coming from Division 2 and a few holdovers from Division 1. For those not in the civil service yet, you must have heard about the dreaded 'exam' word that most civil servants have to undergo nowadays. What makes this one harder is that you don't have classes to attend apart from a few briefings given by both the Public Service Department (JPA) or given by the Treasury Department - and the syallabus is huge.

The General Orders and Service Regulations paper (more popularly known as G.O. as the paper is based on the General Orders 1961 and all the service regulations issued since then to now) was originally a part of the Administrative Service examinations set way back from the late 1950s when the Administrative Service was first formed by the then British led government. The admininstrative service formed the backbone of the government machinery then with officers taken in to administer and carry out decisions made by policy makers (politicians). The service also formed the backbone of the judicial system where these officers when posted to outlying districts and areas became part time magistrates. So the examinations which these officers had to undergo was both G.O. as well as about 5 law papers made up of the Constitution as well as the major legislations. The number of law papers have been trimmed down to 3 but in the late 1980s, an additional Financial Regulations paper was included.

The Financial Regulations (FR) is based on the Financial Regulations first issued in 1974. The regulations governed all the financial dealings in the government service from procurement to storage. The regulations are quite massive. Sometimes when a payment voucher is returned back to the department issuing it, a stamped remark will be on it referring to some regulations which have not been complied with such as 117 etc and we have to go through the FR to find out what it is that we have not complied with.

The GO and FR exams were at first selectively applied to non-admin service officers in the mid 1990s before being made compulsory to all officers in Division 2 a few years ago. Nowadays every officer needed to know service and financial regulations as practically everyone will find themselves in conducting their work eventually to refer or to do things which may involve GO and FR.

I am sure readers would have lots of comments about these exams and I won't go through them. I passed all the GO, law papers and FR in the late 1980s and I know how tough they can be. The examination questions I have been told have evolved since then. In the older days, it was much more a regurgitation of what you learned and only a few analytical questions but nowadays the more favourite questions are the scenario questions - a description of something happening more or less based on real life situation encountered by either JPA or Treasury - and for the candidate to sift through that sitution and judged the various rules and regulations etc that may be applied to that particular scenario. The skills being tested are different and requiring understanding of the regulations rather than a straight forward what a rule or regulation is for.

To all candidates - all the best for today and Saturday.


Anonymous said…
Had my exams friday and sunday... Yes they were tough... what with my amah on leave and I have to do the house chores... I told my friends, if I get through the exams... it would be a miracle. Me and my wishful thinking huh! :) good day to you.
Anonymous said…
glad i hav passed both exams several years ago :)

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