The New York State Department of Civil Service has developed this Guide to familiarize you with the Entry-
Level Correction Officer Series written test. It provides a general description of the subject areas to be tested
and the different types of questions you will see on the test. The Examination Announcement will specify the
exact subject areas to be included on the test you will be taking.
The Entry-Level Correction Officer Series written test has an overall time allowance of 3 hours. The test is
divided into four separate subject areas and the questions are designed to evaluate the following abilities:
1. OBSERVING AND RECALLING FACTS AND INFORMATION: These questions
are designed to test how well the candidates can observe and recall information
presented. The candidates will be presented with information describing or depicting
prison scenes or other facts. They will have a short time to memorize the
information before it is collected by the monitor. They will then be asked to recall
2. APPLYING WRITTEN INFORMATION IN A CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
SETTING: These questions are designed to evaluate the candidates' ability to read,
interpret and apply rules, regulations, directives, written narratives and other related
material. The candidates are required to read a set of information, and to
appropriately apply the information to situations similar to those typically experienced
in a correctional services setting. All the information needed to answer the questions
asked concerning the situations presented is contained in the rules, regulations, etc.
which are cited.
3. PREPARING WRITTEN MATERIAL: These questions test for the ability to present
information clearly and accurately and to organize paragraphs logically and
comprehensibly. For some questions, you will be given information in two or three
sentences followed by four restatements of the information. You must then choose
the best version. For other questions, you will be given paragraphs with their
sentences out of order and then asked to choose from four suggestions the best
order for the sentences.
4. UNDERSTANDING AND INTERPRETING WRITTEN MATERIAL: These questions
test how well you comprehend written material. You will be provided with brief
reading selections and will be asked questions about the selections. All the
information required to answer the questions will be presented in the selections; you
will not be required to have any special knowledge relating to the subject areas of
These are the only subject areas that will be included on the written test.
The remainder of this guide explains how you are tested in each of these subject areas. A TEST TASK is
provided for each subject. This is an explanation of how a question is presented and how to correctly answer
it. Be sure to read each one carefully.
You will also be given at least one SAMPLE QUESTION for each subject area. It will be of the type that
you will see on the actual test. The SOLUTION and correct answer are provided after each question. You
should study the question and its solution until you understand how it works.
SUBJECT AREA 1
OBSERVING AND RECALLING FACTS AND INFORMATION
TEST TASK: You will be given
a Memory Test Booklet
photographs. During a limited
study period you must try to
memorize as much as you can
about the people, objects and
events shown in each of the
photographs. You will not be
allowed to take notes during
this study period. Look closely
at the people in the scene:
who they are (e.g., correction
officer, inmate or instructor),
what they are wearing, what
they are doing, etc. Note the
setting of the scene: what
objects are present, how
objects are positioned, what
people are doing with objects,
etc. After the study period, the
photographs will be taken
away and you will have to
answer questions about them.
INMATES IN PRISON YARD
(There are two types of questions you will have to answer for each photograph in the Memory Test Booklet.
The first type is a four-option multiple choice question. The second is a two-option, "true or false" question.
Below is an example of each.)
Answer the following question using the Answer the following question using the information
information contained in the photograph contained in the photograph labeled "INMATES IN
labeled "INMATES IN PRISON YARD." PRISON YARD."
What was the focus of attention of the group?
A. a weightlifting bench One of the inmates in the prison yard was holding a
B. an inmate holding his fist out barbell.
C. a barbell on the ground A. True
D. an inmate lifting weights on a bench B. False
Answer is B.
SOLUTION: To answer this question, you Answer is B.
would need to recall from memory what the
inmates in the photograph were doing and be SOLUTION: To answer this question, you would
able to recognize that they all appeared to be need to recall from memory that none of the inmates
looking at an inmate holding his fist out. The in the photograph were holding a barbell. The
correct answer is "an inmate holding his fist correct answer is "False" (choice B).
out" (choice B).
SUBJECT AREA 2
APPLYING WRITTEN INFORMATION IN A CORRECTIONAL SERVICES SETTING
TEST TASK: You will be given a set of rules, regulations or other written information which you must read.
Next, you will be provided with a situation that is similar to those typically experienced in a correctional
services setting. Finally, you must answer the question based upon your application of the rule to the situation.
RULE: Personal Grooming Standards - Employees shall be well groomed, appropriately dressed
and present a neat, clean appearance while on duty. Moderate amounts of cologne or perfume may be
I. Hair - The hair must be kept clean and within Department Standards. Uniformed staff may not
wear hair styles that feature spikes, shaved patterns, lines, tails, symbols or names cut into the
hair. Unnatural color dyes, or any other styles which distract from their professional appearance
should be avoided.
Males - The hair shall be neatly groomed so as not to fall over the ears or eyebrows or extend
more than 1/2" below the top of the uniform collar.
Females - While in uniform, the hair shall be neatly groomed and arranged/styled so that it does
not extend more than 1/2" below the top of the uniform collar. Pins, combs, or barrettes similar to
the color of the hair are permitted, provided they are tasteful, not ostentatious, and concealed as
much as possible. Hair ornaments or ribbons shall not be worn.
II. Facial Hair - Recruits reporting to the Academy shall keep existing facial hair trimmed as set forth
below. Recruits shall not be permitted to grow new facial hair while at the Academy.
Beards - Security staff appointed after 1990 are not permitted to wear beards. Security staff
appointed prior to 1990 may wear beards provided they are kept trimmed within one inch.
Sideburns - Shall be neatly trimmed, the base shall be clean shaven on a horizontal line and shall
not extend below the lowest part of the exterior ear openings. Muttonchop or flared sideburns are
Mustaches - Must be neatly trimmed and not extend beyond the corners of the mouth or fall below
the center line of the lips.
SITUATION: While inspecting the appearance of Correction Officers at pre-shift briefing, a Sergeant observes
the following four officers: Officer A - a male officer wearing his hair 1/4" over his ears and 1/4" below the top
of his uniform collar; Officer B - a female officer wearing shoulder length hair arranged in a single braid;
Officer C a female officer who is wearing a yellow ribbon in her hair in recognition of her husband who is
overseas with the military; Officer D - a male officer who did not have a mustache when graduating from the
Academy, but who has grown a neatly trimmed mustache since reporting to the facility.
QUESTION: Based upon the preceding rule, which one of the officers is
in compliance with the Personal Grooming Standards?
A. Officer A
B. Officer B
C. Officer C
D. Officer D Answer is D.
SOLUTION: To answer this question, you must compare the descriptions of the four officers provided in the
SITUATION to the relevant sections of the stated RULE.
When doing so you would need to recognize that Officer A's hair extends " over his ears is in violation of the
section of the Rule which states that, for males, hair, "...shall be neatly groomed so as not to fall over the
ears... " You would need to recognize that Officer B's shoulder length braid is in violation of the section of the
Rule which states that, for females, hair must, "... not extend more than " below the top of the uniform collar."
In addition, you would need to recognize that Officer C's yellow ribbon is in violation of the section of the Rule
that states, "...Hair ornaments or ribbons shall not be worn."
You would also need to confirm that no portion of the Rule prevents Officer D from having a neatly trimmed
mustache even though he did not have one when graduating from the Academy.
The correct answer is "Officer D" (choice D).
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