Corrections Officer Exam Practice Test

Let’s face it, not every person who takes the Correctional Officer examinations will make it. The truth is, although every candidate for this officer’s position wants to pass the exams, not everyone is willing to put in effort and hard work. And this is where the wheat is separated from the chaff.

If you want to pass the said examinations, you must invest the right amount of time and diligence. But if you really want to make sure that you’ll pass, you have got to do more than that. Thankfully, there are a lot of help you can find online nowadays, which you can tap to get all the info you need.

Knowledge is Key

It is wrong to have an advanced copy of the questions that will be given in the exams. While it guarantees you will pass the test, you are also at risk of getting caught. In fact, if you are caught, you might end up in jail, and worse, be totally banned from taking the exams and then you can forget about ever becoming a Correctional Officer.

However, it is not wrong to have an idea of what the test questions will be like. Then, you would be able to place yourself in a better position to correctly answer the majority of the questions, if not all of them. It would be easy sailing once you know what the characters of the question would be like.

Taking a correctional officer practice test at every opportunity therefore, is your best option. If you will constantly practice answering correctional officer test questions, you will get a feel of what the real questions will be like. Thus, when you go to class, your study will be more directed towards getting the right answers to those questions.

Where to Find Correctional Officers Exam Questions 

You are fortunate because unlike before when applicants for correctional officers have to scour for materials to help them get through the exams, today you can find everything you need online. Nowadays, there are so many websites offering test questions for all kinds of examinations, including that of correctional officers.

Here are some of the good sources that you may want to consider:

  • Corrections Officers

You can find this website at When you are already in their site, there is a link where you will be led to the correctional officer test sample questions.

However, there is more to this website than sample questions. They will give you all sorts of information that will increase your chances of passing the exams. Such information include the examination format and layout, overview of the civil service corrections officers test, tips, tricks and secrets for the test, correctional officer practice questions (jailer/prison guard sample questions) and many more.

  • Mometrix Test Preparation

The website address of this source of sample questions is at This website proudly announces that if you use their services, you will learn how to quickly solve difficult corrections officers test questions. If that is true, then you’ve got it made – you can surely pass your exams with their help.

The correctional officer written test, according to them, is to objectively assess your knowledge and skills about the position of correctional officer. They say that you can succeed on the test by learning critical concepts on the test so you can correctly answer as many questions as possible.

This is the reason why they have created their Corrections Officer Exam Flashcard Study System. They have taken all possible topics and reduced them down to the hundreds of concepts you should know. Thus, you will have an easy to use learning method that will guarantee your success in answering the questions correctly.

  • Corrections Officers Exam Study Guides

The website address of these sample test questions for correctional officers is found at They claim that with their help, you won’t need to take a second or even a third exam – you will pass the exams the first time you take it.

You can access the sample questions through instant download straight to your computer. The contents of their guide include: access to their 150 plus pages of an up to date Corrections Officer Study Guide and preparation material, an insider peek at the questions formatted to exactly mirror the real exam so you won’t be surprised, a full, comprehensive practice test for correctional officers, and many more.

What to Look For

When searching for sources of sample questions, you must determine if the source really has the most updated sets of questions for correctional officers exams. The questions must also be accompanied by their corresponding correct answers and you need to check if the answers are explained in detail as well.

Pitfalls to Avoid

There are websites offering sample questions that are not up-to-date. These are the websites that you need to avoid. You also need to check the quality of the answers that they provide. If they are not fully explained, you will not get so much information in that website.

The Best Source of Correctional Officers Sample Tests

By surveying the sources of sample test questions, the Corrections Officer Practice Test Questions and Answers take the first seat. You can find their website at

This is the best source because unlike other sources offering study guides and a few sample tests, this website offers a greater amount of correction officer practice test samples which can really help you get the feel of an actual exam.

Their correctional officer exam study guide can guarantee your success because:

  • They will teach you how to spot the right answers even with the many clever-sounding traps that were set by the writers of the tests.
  • They will boost the speed of your thinking under stressful test conditions.
  • They will help you increase your ability to absorb information.

Correctional Officer Interview Tips

The job of a corrections officer is ideal for individuals who prefer working in an environment that is relatively quiet and has very little exposure to noise pollution, with the competency and ability to deal appropriately with people from any race, religion, socio-economic background, age, culture, and nationality. If you think this is the perfect profession for you, it’s time for you to prepare for some correctional officer interview questions and answers.

Types of Interview Questions and Answers

Before the qualifying exam, however, the applicant must already have at least his or her high school diploma. Some states require completion of several college credits, albeit this is waived if the applicant has had civil service or law enforcement experience previously. Although not mandatory, other states require applicants to be graduates of law enforcement academies. 

There are several types of interview questions and answers. There is an oral board interview conducted for the assessment of the applicant’s motivation, professional demeanor, and background. This assessment is designed to find out the extent of your capability as far as verbal communication, decision-making, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving are concerned.

Typical Test Coverage 

The typical coverage of the test for corrections officers includes grammar, situational reasoning, inmate security, reading comprehension, decision-making, and memory. Most tests last around three hours and have a hundred questions in the multiple choice format. The test’s minimum score for passing is 70 in most states. These tests are mainly written but there are some states like Maryland which require written as well as video-based examinations.

Higher scores will obtain more opportunities for the applicants not only from state but from private corrections facilities and agencies as well. Meanwhile, there are some states with specific rules on applicants who fail and want to retake the same test for the second time. Most states will allow an applicant who failed the test previously to take the same test only in the succeeding year.

Possible Interview Questions

That oral interview, according to police officer Scott Hallock, is given weight by most police departments in deciding whether to hire an applicant. In that interview, all the applicants will answer the same set of questions which are, more often not, open-ended to maintain subjectivity. Responses are evaluated by a professional panel of three or four individuals. The score scale ranges from “excellent” to “is unable to meet minimum competency.”

Some possible corrections officer interview questions which you might be asked may include the following:

1.    Why do you think you are the right fit for the job?

2.    How will you handle an emergency situation such as a fire in an inmate’s cell?

3.    What are your core competencies that you will use on this job?

4.    How often do you lose your temper and what do you do about it?

5.    What be the form of discipline you are likely to impose for minor and major infractions by the inmates?

6.    How do you see yourself in five years at this correctional facility?

7.    What would be your motivations for staying on or leaving this job?

8.    Would you have any weaknesses which could be detrimental in carrying out your duties and responsibilities?

9.    What are some of your personal qualities that can become assets to your job?

10.What motivated you to apply for this job?

 Stop Yourself from Giving Out the Wrong Answers

 To question number one, for instance, the wrong answers could be any of the following:

 ·         You’re unemployed and have been so for far too long.

·         Because of your unemployed status you will take any job.

·         You need a job immediately because you are in debt.

·         You’re willing to fill in the vacancy.

·         Government jobs have pensions.

·         You want the look and feel of being in uniform.

·         You want to “put people in their proper places.”

·         You’re desperate for a job because a family member is sick and needs the funds.

 Any of these answers is definitely not what corrections facilities management wants to hear. While these may be real reasons, they shouldn’t be yours for applying as corrections officer. What they your interviewers want to hear are reasons which are good from their own point of view and logical from yours.

 What the Right Answers Should Be

 What they want to hear includes your interest in the corrections officer position, motivations you have for wanting the job, and any added values you might bring to the table if you go on board. Along this line of thought of the interviewers would be Questions numbers 3, 7, 9, and 10 as mentioned.

The right answers should have the following tone:

·         I have read the job description thoroughly and I qualify for the position based on my education and skills (add training if you have had any in law enforcement or similar fields).

·         I have the willingness and enthusiasm for the things which I should learn to fulfill requirements of this job.

·         It would be a privilege and an honor for me to serve my community (or city or state) as a corrections officer and make a difference in other people’s lives.

·         This job is my way of helping societal reform.

Don’t Second Guess, Come Prepared

Those interview questions for correctional officer positions are, in fact, the first difficult situation that applicants encounter and must hurdle successfully. The leading cause of failure in the Corrections Officer Examination isn’t insufficient mastery of the review material but panic caused by crippling anxiety. Remember that the interview is a significant part of the whole hiring process; don’t second guess the occasion. Come prepared to the interview.

The right attitude and appropriate behavior during this first exposure to your prospective job is important for your future superiors to see that you are who they want. If you feel self-conscious, awkward, and nervous during the interview, that’s understandable. Be prepared by knowing how to answer interview questions correctly and precisely. Have a look-see and check out to help you get back on the right track.

Correctional Officer Test


The correctional officer exam is usually the step right before the oral interview. If you do well on the test, the next phase is normally a sit down with the higher ups for an interview. There’s a lot riding on the examination as it will determine if you move ahead in the hiring process or not.

I find that there are a lot of misunderstandings about corrections officers, and because of these misunderstandings, the reputation of corrections officers sometimes gets unfairly dragged through the mud.

I watch movies like The Longest Yards, and I see prison guards portrayed as dumb thugs who use steroids.  I watch The Green Mile, and I see a more empathetic side to the officer, where they almost befriend and care for the prisoners.

Other movies show them as sadists who use their control to inflict pain on the inmates.  Meanwhile, television shows such as Criminal Minds have had episodes where the prison guards actually become so close to the prisoners that they are turned into criminals.

The sad thing is that the media tends to give corrections officers a bad rap.  The good thing is that in real life, the vast majority of corrections officers are nothing like the media’s portrayal.

Most of the corrections officers I’ve met are diligent, hard-working men and women who are focused on protecting both the inmates and the rest of society.  They see their job as fulfilling a need for the rest of society to ensure that dangerous offenders are kept off the street, and also given the chance to rehabilitate.

Two questions are common from reader of this blog, the first one I get asked quite often is “do you have to take a physical fitness test in order to be a correctional officer.” The second most frequently asked questions is how’s the corrections officer exam differs from that of other law enforcement agencies like that of a police officer, and/or probation/parole officer.

A lot of people figure that the tests are similar, but in reality they are vastly different.  While both corrections officers and police officers are there to enforce the law, they enforce it from opposite ends of the system.

A police officer needs to be aware of the law at all times, and understand how it fits into the real world where, for the most part, the law is followed.  Beyond this, police are trained on doing community outreach, protecting crime scenes, and issuing citations and misdemeanors.

Corrections officers need less understanding of the law, as they are not looking for crimes taking place at all times.  Rather, they are enforcing the rules of the prison to ensure that the daily administration of the prisoners, maintaining order based on the rules of the prison.  Because of the different roles they play, it is understandable that corrections officers would be tested in different areas.

The corrections officer test focuses on 4 distinct areas – reading comprehension; spelling and grammar; math; memory; and situational judgment.  The first 3 areas are tested largely for administrative purposes, as corrections officers have a number of reports to fill out daily, and need to use basic math and reading skills in the practical aspects of their job such as population counts and security rounds. As well, the situational judgment is logical, as the officers are going to be forced to identify problems, and the best method of dealing with them, each shift.  However, it may not be clear exactly why the memory test is included.

I think the reason most people don’t understand the inclusion of the memory test is because they really don’t understand the job of the corrections officer.  Officers are given tasks each day that involve remembering which inmates are in what area of the prison, who has (or has lost) their privileges, and other items.

I mean, it’s not as if each guard can carry around a grocery list to help them remember things about the prisoners.  A guard needs to be able to remember things about the prisoners as they look around at them, staying aware the entire time not only of the thoughts in their head, but the events surrounding them.

I have always found the memory tests to be similar to those you see in children’s activity books.  Sometimes, you will be shown a picture.  You will have two minutes to memorize all aspects of the picture.  After your two minutes is up, the picture will be taken away, and you will be asked a series of questions.

This is an activity that many children do, and it uses the visual memory processing of your brain.  This activity will be replicated by officers in their daily work, as they are asked to remember and describe incidences or inmates in their reports.  The accuracy of these reports needs to be beyond question, as they can have a distinct influence on the inmate’s experiences in prison.

The other type of questions on the memory test are written out.  I find that most people don’t read these questions, and often make dumb mistakes.  You will be given a short story to read, and after the time limit is up, you will be asked questions about what you read.

Again, this is a very practical test.  Often, officers will be given briefs on new prisoners or specific instructions due to changes in regimen, and they need to be able to read and remember the details of what they read.

What you need to remember about this part of the test is simple – figure out how you best remember things.  You can’t study the pictures ahead of time, but you can practice to improve your short term memory before the actual test.  Practice and figure out what works best for you.  The worst thing that can happen is that you are not confident in your technique, as this will only increase your inaccuracy.

I realize that this memory test is an aspect of testing that does not take place.  By now, you should have an idea of the basics, but if you are looking for more details, I’ve put together a great study guide.  You can access it here.  You will find practice tests from all five areas of the test, and specific hints and techniques for the memory section as well.

corrections Officer Job Interview


Honestly it really doesn’t matter if you’re aiming to be a prison guard, county jailer, or a detention officer inside a state/federal prison. The interview questions will likely be similar as inmates have similar habits.

Therefore, be prepared for questions like “why do you want to become a corrections officer” or “what are the duties of a detention officer.” Those two questions are guaranteed to be asked regardless of what agency you’re interviewing for.

I always shake my head when people complain about the interview process for any job.  I’ve heard a bunch of complaints about many different aspects of the interview process, but the ones I find to be really funny is when someone complains that the questions being asked by the interviewer are dumb and have no relevance to the job.

First of all, I laugh because when they say this, they are actually saying that they already no more of what is involved with the job than the interviewer.  But besides the ego being presented, I also try to explain that those questions do have purpose.  They may have no purpose or reason in your opinion, but the interview is not a chance for you to learn about the agency, but a time where the law enforcement agency tries to learn about you.

I think that this purpose of the interview is especially important to remember during the Correctional Officer interview.  They aren’t interested in why you want to be a corrections officer, but whether you will fit into their agency’s team. The interview is not for you, but for the Interview board.

They will not be asking you the questions for you to show off your best attributes.  They will be asking questions for you to show off the attributes that they are looking for.  This means that you need to prepare before going into the interview, because if you are only knowledgeable and aware of the attributes that you think are your best, you may not be prepared to show the attributes that the board is looking for.

So, if the interview is for the board, then what are they looking for?  That is the question that you should focus on before heading into the interview.  Interviewing techniques and hiring qualities may differ slightly between employers in the federal, state, county, and private sectors, but will usually revolve around some general categories:

  • Honesty
  • Respect for Authority
  • Non-Discriminatory Views
  • Character Strength
  • Ability to Handle Stress

Interviewers tend to use two types of questions: Behavioral-Based and Situational.  Behavioral-Based questions ask you to describe an event or choice you made that indicates a certain attribute: for example, “Describe an event where you made a choice that was not popular, but you felt was right.”  you can look over a list of sample behavioral base questions here.

Preparing For Interview Questions

Conversely, situational questions are based on hypothetical settings and events, where you explain what you would do if those events did happen: for example, “What would you do if an inmate offered you a bribe?” You can review a list of frequently asked situational questions and best answers here.

If you know what type of questions are going to be asked, and what categories of attributes are going to be focused on, I figure that it should be easy to guess what questions will be asked during the interview.  If you are struggling to figure out the questions, I’ve created a detailed study guide that can lay them all out in a way that is clear and concise.

Now, if you know what questions will probably be asked during the interview, the next step is to plan ahead.  I think that the Behavioral-based questions are the easiest to prepare for, but I also find that most people shrug off their preparation because it might be too easy. I would suggest that you make a list of potential questions they could ask, and then go through your life and find examples that fit each question.

I find that it is easier if you pick “big” examples, whether they be major life events or just serious examples.  These examples tend to be more fluid, so if you can answer a number of different or modified questions in an attribute area, it should be easier than trying to remember a small example for each specific question.  As well, this is a time where your honesty can come through – making mistakes in the past is usually not as serious if you are honest about them and show that you have changed.

For the Situational questions, you need to know not only what you would do, but also the answer that is being looked for by the interviewers.  Now, if you are going into corrections as a career, I would hope that those answers would be very similar, if not the same.

However, there are some answers that you should automatically know and give based on the expectations.  Don’t hesitate when they ask the no-brainers like whether you would take a bribe or abuse an inmate.  Give them the answer that they are looking for, and continue on.

At the same time, still find resources that will give you sample  interview questions for corrections officers so that you can know what will probably be asked.  As well, doing research on the specific prison may be helpful, as prisons often have specific problems that they are dealing with.

A prison that is filled with gang-members will probably have more questions regarding dealing with gangs or discrimination, while a minimum-security prison with white-collar criminals will focus more on privileges and bribery.  Go in with planned answers for as many of these questions as you can.

I think that the other thing that is often forgotten in the interview process is that the board is watching your confidence level as they go through the questions.  They want to know that you know the answers, and also know why they are the correct answers.  By being prepared for their questions, your answers will exude more confidence, which is one of the most important attributes that they will be looking for in their corrections officers.

Correctional Exam Practice Test

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to work as a correctional officer in a county jail, prison, or maybe what it takes to become one? As someone whose been in law enforcement for over 10 years, I can tell you that there are some people who don’t care about upholding the law, and unfortunately, a good number of prisoners fall in this category.

This means that correctional officers must not only have a strong mind, but also be capable of maintaining their composure at all times, since things occasionally get really tough and volatile. The nature of the job requires a mentally tough individual, whose not only smart, but physically capable in case you know what hit the fan.

The requirements for this professional shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. You cannot have been convicted of a felony, must be a person of high character, prior military experience isn’t necessary, but it does look favorable.

Similar to that of the NYC Correctional officer selection process, you will have to pass a couple of important examinations such as the corrections officer test, and the oral interview before getting hired.

Some states like the North Carolina Department of Public safety requires that all applicants pass a physical fitness test (also known as physical Abilities Test). It should be pointed out that many agencies don’t administer a fitness exam.

If you are serious about getting the job, the best advice I can give you is to familiarize yourself with this test because your score will determine whether you advance in the hiring process or not. Usually scoring under a 70% will disqualify you.

So, what does the correction officer exam entails, and how can you pass it? Before we get to that point, let’s review the responsibilities of a corrections officer.

Duties of a Corrections Officer

Correction officers are essentially the security personnel tasked with overseeing accused criminal offenders pending trial, as well as convicted criminals sentenced to serve time.

These officers work in courthouses, jails, reformatories, and federal/state prisons, where their key duties include maintaining a secure, safe, and humane prisoner confinement, in addition to establishing an environment that contributes to reducing the likelihood of re-offending by preventing assaults and maintaining security.

Areas of assessment and how to prepare for them

The first step when preparing for the detention officer test is to find out the kind of questions asked in your state or county, so that you can know where to direct your study efforts. It’s important to note that you can look over practice test questions before taking the test.

This is all made possible when you download a correctional officer exam study guide. Many of the study materials has examples with test questions, as well as best answers.

There are a few differences between the tests administered to correctional officers in different states, though they comprise typical sections for verbal reasoning, reading comprehension, situational reasoning, and memory and observation.

For the next section, I’ll relate the duties of a corrections officer to the areas that are examined in a correction officer test.

Tests assessing Cognitive ability areas

Correctional officer testing seeks to measure four cognitive abilities of candidates, including mathematics, reading comprehension, problem solving, and writing ability.

Problem-solving: These questions examine your ability to anticipate situations and come up with alternative plans of action. As a correctional officer, you will deal with both routine and unusual events, and you will often find yourself in positions that require fast and effective action to control the situation.

Reading comprehension: these questions seek to identify your ability to comprehend written materials and the ideas associated with them. As a correctional officer, you will be required to read, understand and interpret procedures, policies, and various departmental correspondences containing vital information for the effective performance of various tasks and responsibilities. These questions are usually very long, and you must read through all the material carefully in order to provide a correct response.

Mathematics: This section evaluates your ability to perform simple on-the-job arithmetic computations such as addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. Such questions prepare you for various duties of an officer, like calculating the worth of items, establishing bond percentages, and a few other vital tasks. Usually, candidates are provided with all the information required for computations, and they have to determine the proper calculations or formulas based on the question asked.

Writing ability: This test checks your ability to use correct spelling, grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation when communicating through writing. This is a necessary skill since correctional officers are regularly required to write reports on all incidents that they respond to, as well as any cases they are currently pursuing.

This can only be accomplished if you are able to provide logical information accurately and coherently. The questions may require you to fill-in a missing word, arrange words in a sentence, or substitute awkward phrases in a sentence. Some states like Massachusetts provide every applicant a downloadable preparation guide.

Test Topics

As you go through a correctional officer exam study guide, you will notice that most correctional officer test questions revolve around topics related to the work you will be doing on a daily basis. Most topics touch on various aspects of professional ethics, crisis response, constitutional rights, health care issues, trial procedures, memorization, and detention facility management.

However, the questions also focus on specific topics like control centers, housekeeping plans, personality disorders, in-take and pat-down procedures, hostage situations, drug abuse, food strikes, inmate rights, elderly and terminally ill inmates, due process, evidence discovery, sentencing guidelines, and first and fourth amendment issues.

How to pass

As I’ve indicated above, the correctional officer exam is extremely broad, and there is really no way to read every single topic that is likely to be covered thoroughly. As such, I’d suggest you go through plenty of sample correctional officer exams online, and if possible, visit the agency’s webpage, sometimes they have practice tests there. I know New York State provide downloadable guides for the following counties in NYS: Nassau, Westchester, Suffolk, Orange, Rockland, and Putnam county.

Study the topics covered in the sample test questions when relaxed and with a fresh mind, to avoid overwhelming yourself and feeling frustrated. Every now and them, you can take timed, correction officer practice tests, to see how ready you are.

Look for several correction officer practice exams to go through before the exam day, and I believe that this should be enough to get you through to advance you to the next round of the application process.

Basic test rules

So, after you have gone through as many correctional officer practice exams as you can, it’s time to sit for the exam. No need to be nervous, as there’s a really good chance that the questions you see are more or less the ones you went through during your studies and preparations. So, get enough rest/sleep on the day before the exam, and:

  • Arrive at the exam venue before the scheduled time
  • Have a winning attitude and believe that you have the necessary skills and abilities to serve as a correctional officer.
  • Carry formal identification that has your photo
  • Carry two pencils and a sharpener
  • Leave your portable communication devices at home
  • Be confident, focused and attentive