The civil service exam was held on June 15, 2019. Many students prepare for the civil service exam while attending university. Some of them will be curious about how to prepare for the civil service exam, such as how long to prepare for it and how to study, and others will envy those who passed it despite high competition rate. Therefore, in this article, I asked some questions that students have been curious about to a successful applicant of the civil service exam and tried to convey helpful information to the students who want to prepare for it. Let's find out about the civil service through an interview with Kim Hyuk-Jae of ’08, who passed the civil service examination in 2018 and is currently working for the property tax team at Icheon City Hall.
1. What made you prepare for the civil service?
I was the type of person who used to going on a trip as soon as money was saved. As a result, I had none of the qualifications. After I came back to university from the army, I thought my future was gloomy, which led me to prepare for the civil service exam. Also, I used to think that a sense of service to other people is essential for a civil service, and I wanted to serve others.
2. How did you study for the exam?
I think the most important thing is to study consistently even if it's too hard. I studied for 14 hours a day, and it was tough to concentrate for 14 hours. Therefore, I endured, imagining how happy my parents and myself when I pass in the future. I passed the written test after three attempts and failed the interview twice, and felt it is very important to keep my mental attitude straight. I did not feel despair over my poor results in the mock test, but studied, thinking, "Even if I had a hard time, I would get better someday." I took a year and a half off after the third grade, and I took some online lectures instead of attending any offline academies.
3. What are the subjects of civil service exam? And which was the most difficult and why?
Typical subjects are Korean, English, Korean history, and elective subjects vary widely from series to series, and there are general subjects such as science, math, public administration and social studies. People are good at memorizing subjects such as Korean history, so success or failure in the exam depends on subjects like English and Korean. Elective courses do not reflect all the scores, but in the case of common subjects, five points is given per question. It means you have to try one more time next year because of one wrong answer. I chose accounting and social studies because I applied for the tax office section, but both subjects require more time to solve the questions than other subjects, so I had difficulty when taking the exam. If anyone is preparing for a tax test now, it would be better not to choose accounting and social studies simultaneously.
4. How did you feel when you finished your last interview?
I was so nervous at my first interview for a local job that I couldn't even remember what I answered. The second was a national job interview, which took 50 minutes for each applicant. I gained confidence after interviewing for both local and national jobs, and I felt composed in the third interview. You can feel whether you can pass or not after an interview. To prepare for the interview, you can find people to study together at an internet community like Naver cafe "Gong Dream". There are some formalized answers in the interview, so it's very important to share them with others. Taking a mock interview seriously is also a good idea.
5. What were the difficulties and ways to overcome when preparing for a civil service exam?
First of all, economic hardship was the biggest. I am not from a rich family, so I often ate cheap meals at convenience stores. As a result, I became very unhealthy and gained weight. I was in no condition to exercise so I had a hard time studying, and even mentally, I found it very difficult to see my score not improving. When I studied for only three months and took the first test, I was proud of myself because my grades were good, but since then, I got more and more frustrated because my grades were getting worse. Especially, I was discouraged a lot when I failed the interview. Honestly, there seems to be no special way to overcome these difficulties. I think when you fall into despair, it would be better to shake off quickly and study again since you should study anyway, even if it is too hard.
6. What do you think are the pros and cons of a civil servant’s life?
There are many benefits such as the welfare system and children's benefits, so I think I don't have to worry in terms of economy. Additionally, holidays, freedom, and independence are guaranteed at the same time. The downside is that when I first joined, I felt like I was back in the army. There was a rather rigid hierarchy, so I had to greet each member of the team and couldn't take my suit off until boss allowed me to. Also, the process of getting paid for overtime hours has become tricky. There are cases where overtime is inevitable, and applications must be made in advance to be paid for overtime. If you can't apply because of a sudden shift in overtime, the process would be tricky until your overtime would be admitted. The maximum working overtime on the weekend is 4 hours, and more overtime hours beyond that are counted as free service. For example, I worked more than 80 hours last August and I got paid for only 57 hours maximum.
7. People say, “If you want to be a public servant, why do you go to college?”. What do you think about it?
I agree, there is no need to go to college. Times are changing. I think it is a better choice to study quickly and pursue a career after passing the exam rather than go to college. Also, an academic background is not important at all in the civil service exam. Even when interviewing, they don't fill out the school from which you graduated. I think the civil service exam is the most equitable test along with the national college entrance exam.
8. Word to people who want to prepare for civil servants exam
There is a famous saying about the civil service exam. Those who fail in the exam with a slight grade difference are enough to fill the next year’s recruits. If you are going to quit halfway, don’t even start, because you cannot pass it with a light heart. There are many loopholes in the high competition rate. The actual competition rate will be around 10 or 20 to 1. The online lecture website called ‘Gong Dan Ki' says that if you pass, you can get back all the tuition fees. Can you guess why? That's because there are so many loopholes. When others study for 8 hours, you must do put an extraordinary effort into studying for 9 hours. Therefore, if you are going to prepare for the civil service exam, I hope you study really hard.
It seems like everyone is preparing for civil service exams, but you can see that there are many more difficulties than you expect, from preparing for the exam to working as civil servants. Therefore, I hope that you do not prepare for it because you don’t have a clear career path yet, or you want to have a stable job. It is not easy to hope and try more earnestly than others.< Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >