About Correctional Officer Testing

The Correction Officer Exam is administered by the Department of Civil Service in the state or municipality offering the exam. Questions are generally multiple-choice and the test itself can be either computer-administered or a written examination, depending on the location.


Correctional Officer Written Test Content 

Learn more about the Correctional Officer Civil Service Exam and view a detailed explanation of the test subjects below.

Memorization & Attention to Detail
Reading Comprehension
Preparing Written Material
Applying Written Material
Situational Judgment
Mathematics Skills

Memorization and Attention to Detail

This section of the corrections officer written test, measures skills in observing and recalling facts or information. The questions may be in the form of a passage, depicting a prison-type scene, or an image of similar content; approximately five minutes are given to study the material before it is removed entirely and then candidates are presented with a set of questions based on the passage or image they observed. These correctional officer test questions call for retaining information on specific details and may be either followed by four answer choices or two True/False options.

How is this section related to correctional officer duties? Detention officers are routinely required to gather information by observing prison inmates and watching for certain patterns of behavior or possible gang affiliations, and recall specific details of events they witnessed. Precision and a high attention to detail are expressly required from candidates of the job.

Reading Comprehension

A major part of the written test, especially on the NYS Corrections Exam, measures candidates’ abilities to understand and interpret written material by using critical and deductive reasoning skills. The test presents several reading passages, chiefly related to the corrections position, followed by a set of questions that may ask what can be concluded or supported by the passage, or what cannot. You are required to draw logical conclusions based only on the information given in the passage; you must distinguish between what was and what was not explicitly given or inferred to in the reading statement. At times, passages may be in the form of prison officer related rules and regulations, and questions require you to understand these written procedures.

How is this section related to correctional officer duties? Full command of the English written and spoken language is extremely important as a correctional officer; officers are required to read and understand information such as reports, understand what occurred in an event through hearing a description, and primarily be able to adhere to and follow written and verbal commands.

Preparing Written Material

On this section of the Corrections Written Test, you are tested on your ability to clearly and logically organize information. The correctional officer exam questions may present several sentences followed by four answer choices that contain restatements of the given information, requiring candidates to choose the closest and best option. Other questions are in the form of a paragraph or narrative with its sentences out of order, requiring you to order the statements into the most logical sequence of events.

How is this section related to correctional officer duties? Comprehensible communication between prison inmates and detention officers is vital for a well-working corrections system. Correctional officers must be able to develop and express their thoughts clearly and concisely in order to accurately relay to another individual the content of the original message or idea.

Applying Written Material

This section can be found on some Detention Officer Tests, containing questions that present you with a set of information related to a correctional services setting and require them to apply this to a situation typically experienced by officers while on duty. The information may be in the form of guidelines or rules followed by an occurrence in a prison situation; you must choose the most appropriate procedure or response to the given problem. No prior knowledge is needed or required in order to answer these questions; all the information is presented in the cited passed or rules preceding the questions.

How is this section related to correctional officer duties? Familiarizing potential correction officers with situations they are likely to find themselves in is great practice and allows them to get a feel of what it is like on duty.

Situational Judgment

In other cases on the Correction Officer Written Test, you may be presented with only a situation or problem related to correctional services without any guidelines or procedures, and then required to choose the option that best suits how they would respond or react.

How is this section related to correctional officer duties? Correction officers are not only required to understand written rules and regulations, but use common sense and decision-making skills to apply them appropriately to different situations. On many correction tests, this section assesses the character, strengths, and weaknesses of candidates by measuring their different reactions to certain problem-events and allows recruiters to determine which candidates are right for the job.


Mathematics Skills

This section is less commonly found on local and state correction tests but is still applied in some, like the Texas State Corrections Test. Questions contain basic arithmetic problems- addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division- in the form of equations or occasionally graphs and tables.

How is this section related to correctional officer duties? The basic requirements of correction officers entails them to maintain records in order to track inmates, supplies, and equipment; keep accurate meal counts; identify certain trends or problems; and understand and track demographic breakdowns.


Correctional Exam Prep with JobTestPrep

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