In the absence of strong incentives, public service delivery crucially depends on bureaucrat selection. Despite wide adoption by governments, it is unclear whether civil service examinations reliably select for job performance. We investigate this question focusing on state judges in Brazil. Exploring monthly data on judicial output and cross-court movement, we estimate that judges account for at least 23% of the observed variation in number of cases disposed. With novel data on admission examinations, we show that judges with higher grades perform better than lower-ranked peers. Our results suggest competitive examinations can be an effective way to screen candidates.