How to Pass the DCAS Carpenter Exam


What Is the DCAS Carpenter Exam?

The DCAS Carpenter Exam is a computer-based, multiple-choice, NYC public-sector examination that covers the different subjects and skills that are necessary to work in a carpenter position. You need to get a score of at least 70% in order to pass the exam.

The test is administered by the City Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the same agency that is responsible for hiring special officers, traffic device maintainers, caseworkers, sanitation workers, and more. 

Step #1 - Education and Experience Exam

The Education and Experience Exam is held separately from the DCAS Carpenter exam (usually several weeks prior). Unlike the DCAS Carpenter Exam, which is held in a proctored setting, the Education and Experience Exam is actually a sort of questionnaire that you need to fill out on a computer. You will need to answer questions about your education and work experience.

It is important to answer these questions truthfully, because if it is revealed that you misrepresented your professional past in some way this may cost you your application and your chance to work for the City of New York.

Step #2 - Multiple Choice Test

After providing DCAS with information regarding your eligibility for the position, it is now time to prove you possess the right skills needed to strive as a city carpenter. Here are a few sample questions that illustrate what the multiple-choice exam is all about:

Professional Carpenter Knowledge

Please note that the preparation pack does not cover the professional carpenter knowledge section.

The Professional Carpenter Knowledge section of the DCAS Carpenter Exam evaluates your knowledge of technical subjects that are relevant to your work as a carpenter. The questions are posed to the candidate as multiple-choice questions.

  • Professional Carpenter Knowledge Sample Question

What type of hammer is usually chosen for trim work?

A. 28-ounce long handle waffle head
B. Framing hatchet
C. 16-ounce wood handle curved claw
D. 20-ounce long-handle straight-claw
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The basic all-purpose carpentry hammer is a 16-ounce curved claw hammer. The other hammers on the list are intended for specialized use.

For this reason, the right answer is C.

Written Comprehension

A carpenter must be able to understand work orders, catalogs, and other materials that they encounter as part of their work. Therefore, a section testing the candidate’s ability to comprehend written texts is included in the carpenter exam. (This is typically known as ‘reading comprehension’ but the DCAS exam refers to this as a ‘written comprehension’ skill).

  • Written Comprehension Sample Question

Hawkins was puzzled. Quasars are powered by matter that shines fiercely as it swirls into a supermassive black hole typically billions of times the mass of the sun. Their light does vary, for example as stars are ripped apart by the black hole's enormous gravity. But these flare-ups make quasars brighten and fade within a few days, not years and decades as Hawkins found.

What happens to a quasar when it enters a black hole?

A. its light dims
B. its light intensifies
C. its mass changes
D. it accelerates
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

According to the passage, "Quasars are powered by matter that shines fiercely as it swirls into a supermassive black hole".

The correct answer is B.

Written Expression

Even though a carpenter’s work isn’t very writing-oriented, it is sometimes necessary for carpenters to write work notes for coworkers, superiors or subordinates. Because those notes must be written in correct English, the Carpenter Exam includes a written expression section.

This section, too, is in a multiple-choice format.

Mathematical Reasoning

The Mathematical Reasoning section evaluates your ability to understand a problem, and then organize it in your head and solve it using mathematical methods. As a carpenter, you might have a problem with some tiles that do not fit together well, which you could solve by calculating the area of the tiles and cutting them to fit accordingly.

  • Mathematical Reasoning Sample Question

Which number can replace the question mark to complete the series?

3 | 3 | 3 | 6 | 3 | 9 | 3 | ?


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

There are two ways to look at this series:

1) There are two inner series. each following a different rule:

Odd terms remain constant: 3

Even terms increase by 3:

3 + 3 = 6,   6 + 3 = 9,   9 + 3 = 12.


2) Another point of view:

The series in this question follows two rules:

1) The mathematical operations between the terms change in a specific order: multiplication, division, and so forth.

2) Every two steps the number by which the terms are multiplied or divided increases by 1.

Either way, the correct answer is 12.

Number Facility

Number Facility is just a term for your ability to handle arithmetical actions – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

  • Number Facility Sample Question:

4186 / 0.001 = ?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The decimal point can move an equal amount of places on each side of the quotient

4186 /0.001

= 41860 /0.01

= 418600 /0.1

= 4186000 /1

= 4186000

The correct answer is 4186000

Deductive Reasoning

Deductive Reasoning is the ability to apply general principles in order to resolve a specific problem. For example, this is the reasoning ability you would use to apply your general carpentry knowledge to install a set of parts in a non-standard configuration or layout.

  • Deductive Reasoning Sample Question

Five bears – Jinan, Knot, Lee, Mushu, and Nee-Hau – are kept in three adjacent rooms numbered 1-3 from left to right.

• There is at least one bear in each room.
• The knot is in a room to the left of Lee's.
• Mushu and Nee-Hau are not kept in the same room.
• Either Mushu or Jinan, but not both, are kept in room 2.
• Nee-Hau is kept in room 3.

A sixth bear, Osami, is brought into either room 2 or 3. If there are now two bears in each room, which one of the following must be true?

A.  Knot is kept in room 1
B.  Jinan is kept in room 2
C.  Mushu is kept in room 2
D.  Osami is kept in room 3
E.  Lee is kept in room 3
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

If one of the answer choices must be true, we should deduce it based on the information we already have. The first thing to notice is that we know the exact position of N – room 3. The other conditions provide us with some information, but not enough to place any of the other bears in a specific room. Therefore we should look at what we know about the new bear: O can be either in room 2 or 3. Let's check both options:

If O is in room 2:

The second bear in that room can be either M or J since one has to be in room 2 (fourth condition). Now that room 2 is full; we can turn to the other two. According to the second condition, K is left to L. Since neither is in room 2, K is in room 1, and L is in room 3 (together with N). M/J takes the remaining spot in room 1:

1 2 3







​If O is in room 3:

Room 3 is now full. For K to be to the left of L (second condition), L must be in room 2, and K – in room 1. M and J are placed the same as before.

1 2 3







In both cases, K is in room 1, as is stated in answer choice A.

The correct answer is A

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive Reasoning is the reverse of deductive reasoning: here you draw general conclusions from a set of specific pieces of information.

  • Inductive Reasoning Sample Question

Please mark the object that doesn't fit the rule

scales ix pattern
scales ix pattern
scales ix pattern
scales ix pattern
scales ix pattern
scales ix pattern
scales ix pattern
scales ix pattern
scales ix pattern
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The objects form a formal series. All objects contain 3 shapes of different types (a trapezoid, a square and a triangle), one inside the other. When moving from one object to the next one in the series, the outer shape becomes the inner shape, the middle shape becomes the outer shape, and the inner shape becomes the middle shape.

The only object that does not fit this rule is object #7, in which the inner shape is a square instead of a triangle and the middle shape is a triangle instead of a square.

The correct answer is object #7.

Information Ordering

Information Ordering is the ability to follow a set of rules or actions in a pre-set order. This comes into play, for instance, when using an installation manual.

  • Information Ordering Sample Question

Read the following instructional page about how to handle chemical contamination, then proceed to answer the question.

Read Instructions

You are responsible for a clean room for running chemical tests. The following is the standard protocol in case of contamination.

1. If the contaminating chemical is not listed in the HCL-2017 list, contact a lab technician to run the NHC50P test:
1.1 If the NHC50P test result is below 50%, contact the shift manager, cease work for one hour, and request a cleaning crew. Record the incident in the safety log.
1.2 If the NHC50P test result is above 50%, contact the head scientist, cease work for three hours, and request a cleaning crew. Record the incident in the safety log.

2. If the contaminating chemical is listed in the HCL-2017 list:
2.1 If the chemical has an STR ranking of 4 and below, contact the shift manager then begin extensive cleaning protocol. Record the incident in the safety log and the company's QA log.
2.2. If the chemical has an STR ranking of 5 and above, initiate immediate lockdown before contacting the shift manager and head scientist. Record the incident in the safety log and the company's QA log and open an SI report.

3. If the contaminating chemical is a neutral substance, defined as water, oxygen or hydrogen, contact the shift manager, cease work for 30 minutes, and ask for a cleaning crew.

4. The following is the only exception to the above rules:
Declare emergency when:
1. The contaminating chemical is from an external source, OR
2. There is more than one contaminating chemical, OR
3. The contaminating chemical was recorded in the safety log in the last 24 hours.

In case of emergency, act as in case of a contaminating chemical with an STR rating of 5 and above.

A single contaminating chemical from an internal source was found. The first thing you should do is:

A. Call the head Scientist
B. Check the safety log
C. Initiate immediate lockdown
D. Check if the chemical is in the HCL-2017 list
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The first thing you should do when discovering a contaminating chemical is to decide whether it is an emergency. There are three cases of emergency:
1. The contaminating chemical is from an external source, OR
2. There is more than one contaminating chemical, OR
3. The contaminating chemical was recorded in the safety log in the last 24 hours.

Since the text explicitly states the two first cases are not applicable, the only one left to check is case 3, which requires looking in the safety log.

The correct answer is B.

Spatial Orientation

Spatial Orientation is the candidate’s ability to decide where they are in relation to a given object, or, vice versa, figuring out where the object is in relation to them.

  • Spatial Orientation Sample Question

DCAS carpenter test


Which of these shapes represents the whole of the parts shown above?

Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The shapes combined and rotated 180 degrees look like this:



The correct answer is shape A.


In terms of the Carpenter Professional Exam, visualization is the ability to imagine how different items are going to look once moved or rearranged in space, folded or unfolded.

  • Visualization Sample Question



Choose the mirror image of the shape above


Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The original figure contains a T shape in the right-side corner, which means that its mirror-image would necessarily contain a T shape in its left-side corner. This rules out the first and fourth answers.

Additionally, the original figure contains on its left side a rectangle within which there is an arrow pointing right. This means, that the mirror-image must contain a right-sided rectangle, within which there must be a left-pointing arrow.

Therefore, the correct answer is

Tips for Taking the Carpenter Professional Exam

  • Have a good night’s sleep the night before the exam.
  • Eat a light breakfast before going to take the exam. (You will not be able to leave the examination building after checking in).
  • Don’t forget to bring personal identification, scratch paper, a pen, and a calculator with you. (Any other electronic devices, including ‘scientific’ calculators, are banned from the exam room).
  • You should rehearse your professional knowledge before the exam, as well as practicing for the aptitude questions.

Succeeding in the Carpenter Professional Exam requires not only professional carpenter knowledge, but also mastering a variety of aptitudes that are seen by DCAS as necessary for the role. Get our prep packs to practice the right skills and improve your grade in the exam. Here at JobTestPrep we have a variety of prep packs that will help you study for the carpent



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