What Is the Prison Officer Assessment Day?

The prison officer assessment day, the RAD or recruitment assessment day, is the final face-to-face stage of the prison officer recruitment process. On this day, you will undertake a range of assessments, including tests of your interaction with others in role plays, extra POST tests, a medical assessment, and a fitness test.

If you pass the initial POST tests, you will be invited to the prison officer assessment day. During this assessment day, you are examined on a range of skills needed to be a successful prison officer.


What Are the Different Tests You Will Take at the RAD?

There are a number of different POST tests that you must pass at the assessment centre. They are detailed in the table below: 

Test Time limit (minutes) Number of questions
POST Numerical Reasoning Test 20 30
Reading Comprehension and Completing a Standard Form Section 1.1 20 27
Reading Comprehension and Completing a Standard Form Section 1.2 10 8
Checking Information and the Application of Standard Rules Section 2.1 15 18
Checking Information and the Application of Standard Rules Section 2.2 15 5

Reading Comprehension and Completing a Standard Form

Prison officers should be able to understand the written information presented to them in many different formats, including forms, reports, and case files. The two prison officer online tests in this section aim to evaluate your ability to extract relevant and correct information from texts and passages. You are presented with a passage that you must analyse. You must then answer questions based on this text. Learn more about this test and work through a sample question on our prison officer test questions sample page.


Checking Information and the Application of Standard Rules

Prison officers must ensure that prisoners are in the right place at the right time and that they are conducting themselves properly. The two tests in this section aim to determine if you can check where prisoners are supposed to be and if they are breaking any rules. You are given several different tables that contain information on prisoners’ whereabouts. You must compare these tables to other relevant ones and determine if there are any mistakes. For more information and to see a short prison officer selection test question sample, take a look at our POST checking information page.


Prison Officer Test Question Practice

There are several different skills you should master if you want to complete the questions on this test successfully. These range from simple, everyday skills—such as counting, addition, and subtraction—to more complex calculations like ratios and percentages. In addition, you must demonstrate your ability to read and understand written information, know how and where to apply rules, and understand how to check for errors or discrepancies in information. While you do need these skills, simply possessing them is not enough to successfully complete prison officer test questions. Practising questions in real time, however, can ensure you are fully prepared.


Prison Officer Selection Test Pass Mark

The Prison Officer Selection Test pass mark is determined by a number of different factors, with more weight given to the prison officer numeracy test than other tests. However, as a general rule, the pass mark is 76% for each test. It is recommended that as you go through the practice packs, you aim for at least 90%. This may sound over the top and perhaps above your level, but with our quality prison officer test practice resources, you should be able to achieve this score on a consistent basis. This will give you a great result on your actual Prison Officer Selection Test.


Prison Officer Role Play Scenarios

You will be asked to carry out five role play exercises, each one lasting 10 minutes. The prison officer role play scenarios are used to assess the following competencies:

  • Non-verbal listening skills
  • Suspended judgement
  • Displaying understanding
  • Assertion
  • Respecting others
  • Acting with integrity

For each of the competencies, you must earn a grade of at least a B to be considered. The scenarios reflect the type of situations you may face in your life as a prison officer. You are given 10 minutes before the session starts to read the profiles of all five people you will see during the role play, as well as a few minutes before going into each room to refresh your memory. You are expected to approach the role plays in the same way you would in your professional life. You can learn more about the prison officer role plays by looking at the NOMS official video.


Prison Officer Interview

For some job applications, you will also have an interview that lasts between 20–60 minutes. Generally, it is more like a conversation than a formal interview. They are observing you to determine whether you fit in with the other prison officers. As a team, you must be able to trust each other completely, so this interview is a chance for you to show you can trust others and that others can trust you. The questions are fairly standard, such as the following:

  • Why do you want to become a prison officer?
  • Why do you think you will be good at the job?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years' time?

The best way to prepare for the prison officer interview is by taking a mock interview. JobTestPrep provides an online interview preparation pack that gives you complete preparation and feedback so you'll know exactly what to do during the real thing.


Medical Assessment

As a prison officer, you need to be fit as well as healthy. You will go through a series of medical tests and assessments, including the following:

  • Health questionnaire
  • Blood pressure test (no higher than 170/80)
  • Eyesight test (either unaided or with spectacles/contact lenses, measured by Snellen equivalent of 6/12)
  • Calculation of your BMI

Fitness Test

If your medical assessment is successful, you will be asked to take the fitness test. There are five sections that test your strength, agility, general fitness, and ability to use protective equipment.

What Should You Wear?

'What should I wear at the prison officer assessment day?' is one of the most common questions asked. The answer is to wear something comfortable, as you will perform the fitness test (bleep test) wearing these clothes. That said, make sure you are still well-represented to make the best impression you can. This means wearing something comfortable but not overly so. You are assessed on your performance in the activities, not on how you look, so as long as you look nice enough, your choice of clothes shouldn't matter.


Prepare for Prison Officer Tests

We have gone through the prison officer recruitment process and pointed you in the direction of prison officer practice tests. The exercises you will experience in the prison officer recruitment process are challenging in that they are all designed to test you on a specific set of skills. If you cannot prove you have these skills, you will not be offered the job. We hope you have enjoyed this article and look forward to helping you with your preparation.


Prepare for the RAD

The prison officer assessment day can be quite daunting, which is why it is imperative to prepare in advance. Our experts have created a customised PrepPack™ just for you to get ready for the RAD. With JobTestPrep, you will be exposed to the same types of questions you will face on the assessments, see role play examples first-hand, and get ready for your interview—all in one place. We look forward to helping you prepare for your new career.