Test for Correctional Officer | Our Guide to the Most Important Step in Your New Career
Last Updated on August 29, 2022
Do you want to become a correctional officer and work in different correctional facilities or prisons?
If so, you need to possess all the requirements that the state asks you to.
The Correctional Officer Test is one of those mandatory requirements. A good score on the test is the first and most important step in your career as a correctional officer.
This article will give you all the information about the Correctional Officer Test. Read on to know what the test measures, have access to some sample questions, and understand how to get a high score. We will also point you to the best resources out there for in-depth preparation.
How do I become a correctional officer?
There are some requirements you need to check if you want to become a correctional officer. Those include:
- Being a United States citizen
- Being at least 18 years old on the date of the exam (in some states they require you to be 21)
- Posses a finished high school diploma, or a GED equivalent
- Have a driver’s license
- Have a clean criminal record without felony convictions
- Be able to pass the screening process and required tests
- Be able to finish the Correctional Officer Training Course
If you want to apply for the Correctional Officer Test, make sure that you do have the rest of the requirements. You might need to pay a non-refundable fee for taking the test. Furthermore, even if you do pass the test but don’t have all of the other requirements, you might not be able to continue the screening process.
What is a correctional officer test?
The Correctional Officer Test is part of the Civil Service Tests, administered nationwide in the United States. The Civil Service Tests are required for all government-employed professionals to get a particular job position.
Correctional officers are part of those administrative government-employed professionals. They work in some stressful and sometimes even risky job positions. Thus, they must possess the professional and personal qualities to work in correctional facilities and prisons. The Correctional Officer Test measures just that.
What does the Correctional Officer Test measure?
The requirements needed to be a correctional officer, in a lot of cases, differ from state to state. But, there are some broad sections that will be tested through the Correctional Officer Civil Service Test. Those include:
Career-specific aptitude measures your knowledge of the duties, responsibilities, and requirements as a correctional officer. Through this set of questions, your understanding of your role and duties will be tested.
Those questions might include knowledge of inmates’ rights and obligations, understanding of some professional standards and protocols, as well as an adequate response to certain situations that might arise in the work position.
Reading comprehension is a test section whose purpose is to assess your abilities to comprehend and work with written material. In the test, these questions will be drawn from a previously given passage. All the information will be there and you only need to understand the passage and draw conclusions from it.
Most of the questions will be in the form of multiple-choice answers or true/false/cannot say statements. You might also need to answer some questions by filling in blanks in sentences with the info you can draw from the given passage.
This section doesn’t require any special knowledge other than that you will be given through the passage. The point of the section is to assess your ability to carefully read, understand and work with given information.
Written comprehension questions are similar to the reading comprehension section. It’s designed to assess your English language proficiency and ability to understand the information that is being communicated.
The testing process is similar too. You will be required to read a passage (which can be a text or an incident report) and then answer the multiple-choice questions with the correct answer.
One helpful tip for this part (and every other section that gives you an information-rich passage) is to first read the questions and then go back to read the passage. That way, you will be able to pick out the relevant information as you read the passage.
Preparing written material
Working with written material is required from correctional officers since they need to file reports, logs, and memos.
This section of the test will measure your written communication skills. These include: presenting written information clearly and accurately, logically organizing paragraphs and thoughts, having a proper and adequate vocabulary, grammatical structure, punctuation, syntax, etc.
The types of questions you will encounter in this section are “fill in the blanks,” “multiple choice,” “change to logical order,” “rephrase,” “correct the grammar,” and so on.
This section of the Correctional Officer Test will measure your abilities to do math operations — arithmetic functions in particular.
The format of the questions will usually be word problems, all in relation to correctional officers’ job obligations.
Situational reasoning, also called situational judgment, is the ability to understand, foresee, and analyze certain job-related scenarios. It also measures your ability to adequately respond and interfere in a situation. These work-related scenarios are situations that you might encounter in your everyday work. Measuring your ability to respond to them quickly and efficiently is important.
This part of the test is typically done through multiple-choice questions, where you need to select the one answer you agree with most, based on the list of proposed answers.
The questions might be related to the safety of yourself and others, understanding of rules, regulations, and protocols of correctional facilities, as well as your abilities to foresee possible negative outcomes.
You don’t need to have any prior knowledge of law or regulations to answer these questions. Everything you need to know will be already given either in video or written format. You simply need to carefully read the question, take the time to think each of the options through, and select the one you think is the best.
Inductive reasoning is the ability to understand and combine pieces of information and determine their causality and outcome. For example, through inductive reasoning, we are able to give logical explanations to a series of situations that previously seemed unrelated.
For correctional officers, this is important since often they will need to take into account multiple pieces of information, combine them, and decide how to react. The questions in the section will give you scenarios whose correlation you need to logically find and draw conclusions for action.
While inductive reasoning goes from specific situations towards generalization, deductive reasoning goes the other way around. Through deduction, we apply rules and principles to particular situations.
This set of questions will measure your ability to apply rules to make sense of given information and draw logical conclusions from it. First, you will be given a passage that explains in detail some regulations, rules, or policies. Then, a particular situation related to those rules. It will be your job to determine the best course of action, the mistake, or the inconsistency of the situation.
Memorization and recall
Memorization and recollection are human abilities to remember certain information and then be able to recall them when needed. This ability is very important for correctional officers since they need to memorize protocols and rules of action. But, they will also need to easily recall certain details — either previously learned protocols, or in some situations, details of a particular occurrence.
In this section, you will be presented with photographs that you need to thoroughly study for a couple of minutes and try to remember details. Then, the photograph will be taken and you need to answer questions about details from the photo shown. It might include the number of subjects, their outfit, posture, or facial expressions, objects in the picture, the environment around them, etc.
Spatial orientation is our ability to find our way in three-dimensional spaces and move from one point to another. The spatial orientation tests evaluate your ability to navigate around spaces, usually by providing you with a map and compass.
The questions might require you to give the shortest route, determine where an object is in relation to another object, give directions or follow paths, etc.
Sample questions from the Correctional Officer Test
- Reading Proficiency
- Carrer Specific Aptitude
How is the Correctional Officer Test scored?
The passing score for the test requires at least 70% of the questions to be answered correctly. Since some of the questions might sound confusing, while orders have only a slight difference between the right and wrong answer. Preparing for the test is your best ally in completing it successfully.
Can you practice the Correctional Officer Test?
The Correctional Officer Test is fairly complex and only a small percentage of candidates actually pass it. If you want to pass, you need to practice the format of the questions and get used to the testing material.
We recommend using the help of Job Test Prep and their online-based library with hundreds of sample questions for correctional officers. They have exclusive practice materials you can’t find elsewhere.
Their questions range and cover all of the sections from the test, so you can be sure that you practice all parts of the test. Plus, you can choose the package you want to go with, depending on the state you want to apply in.
The next section will explain what you get with the all-inclusive package or the state-specific packages.
What does Job Test Prep offer?
If you want to go for the all-inclusive correctional officer test pack that is exclusive to Job Test Prep, you will get:
- Personality test preparation
- 12 Memorization & attention to detail tests
- 18 Reading comprehension tests
- 15 Preparing written material tests
- 5 Applying written material tests
- 8 Mathematics skills tests
- 1 Counting test
- 15 extra mathematics skills, reading comprehension, and applying written material drills
- 6 Study guides (fully detailed explanations teaching the simplest & quickest methods)
- Immediate, full 24/7 access
Job Test Prep also offers training and practice the tests based on the state you’re looking to get employed in. These are the state-specific correctional officer tests at Job Test Prep:
New York State correctional officer practice tests
- 10 Information ordering tests
- 8 Math word problems tests
- 13 Memory aptitude tests
- 8 Basic math tests
- 4 Spatial orientation tests
- 18 Reading comprehension tests
- 10 English language tests
- 5 deductive reasoning tests
- 2 Problem sensitivity tests
- 30 inductive reasoning tests
- 10 study guides & video tutorials
New Jersey State correctional officer practice tests
Over 30 practice tests in the following sections:
- Written comprehension
- Written expression
- Problem sensitivity
- Information ordering
- Deductive reasoning
- Inductive reasoning
- Personality test preparation
- Comprehensive study guide, fully detailed explanations teaching the simplest & quickest methods
- Immediate access, practice 24/7
California State correctional officer practice tests
- 4 basic math drills (addition & subtraction)
- 11 following rules drills
- 5 identifying differences drills
- 14 English language drills
- 6 scheduling drills
- 5 understanding forms drills
- 5 SJT’s + guide
Massachusetts State correctional officer practice tests
- 11 Applying Information Practice Tests
- 9 Reading Comprehension Practice Tests
- 3 Math Word Problems Practice Tests
- 2 Understanding Data Tests
- 15 English Skills Practice Tests
- 2 Checking Tests
- 8 Basic Math Practice Drills
- 7 Study Guides & Video Tutorials
A correctional officer is a risky and very demanding job position. In order to ensure fair employment to competent individuals, different states are using different kinds of tests for correctional officers.
Job Test Prep offers you practice materials for different correctional officer tests, both all-inclusive and state-specific packs. Use their tests to practice English writing and reading, math skills, deductive and inductive reasoning, spatial orientation, situational judgment, and everything else you need for the testing process.
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Written by Victoria Todorovska
Victoria (or Viki) is a Freelance Writer, Psychologist, and Gestalt Therapy Consultant. With years of experience in higher education as well as counseling others, she is well-placed to offer expert advice on guiding others up the career ladder.