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NOMS Prison Officer Recruitment Process

Your first move towards becoming a prison officer is to understand the recruitment process. This page focuses on the selection tests and the POST test.

Prison Officer Selection Process

The first stage of recruitment is the completion of the prison officer application form. This form is fairly basic, and it is used to determine if you are eligible to become a prison officer. See below for a sample of questions you may be asked to answer:

  • Are you an undischarged bankrupt?
  • Are you associated in any way with racist groups such as BNP?
  • Are you willing to be vetted to ensure that you have no criminal record?

Once you have completed the application form successfully, you are sent a link asking you to complete the Prison Officer Selection Test, known as the POST test.

Prison Officer Selection Test (POST)

Prison officer psychometric tests are often misunderstood and can therefore be seen as the most daunting aspect of the selection process. Don’t worry, that’s why we are here to give you the understanding and information you need to get through these tests. There are five different prison officer online tests taken at this recruitment stage, and they are outlined in the table below.

Prison Officer Math Tests

On the prison officer maths test, you must answer numerical questions that arebased on prison scenarios. For example, you may be asked to calculate a prisoner’s bill in the canteen, to help a prisoner change the time from a 12 hour clock to a 24 hour format, and use different tables and charts to calculate different prison activities. While this test is taken online, you can still use a calculator, pen, and paper to help you answer the questions. Make sure you understand how to answer the questions here as you will need to repeat the test during the assessment centre. You are also able to use a calculator then, so there is no problem with using it now. For more information about this section of the prison officer selection test, see our dedicated page.

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 the prisoners are supposed to be and if they are breaking any rules. You are given a variety of 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 Questions Preparation

There are a number of different skills that 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 ideas like calculating ratios and percentages. In addition, you must demonstrate your ability to read and understand written information, know how and where to apply particular rules, and understand how to check for errors or discrepancies in information. While you so need these skills, simply possessing them is not enough to successfully complete prison officer test questions. But practising questions in real time can ensure you are fully prepared.

Check out the table below to learn the number of questions and time limit you get for each of these prison officer online tests:

Test Time limit (minutes) Number of questions
POST Numerical Reasoning Test 40 59
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

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 recommend that as you go through the practice packs to aim for at least 90%. This may sound over the top and perhaps above your level, but with practice you should be able to achieve this score on a consistent basis. This will give you a great result on you actual Prison Officer Selection Test.

If your answers are high enough across all five tests, you will be invited to take part in the prison officer assessment centre, the Recruitment Assessment Day (RAD).

Prepare for the Prison Officer Exam

If you are looking for prison officer test questions to prepare you for your upcoming online test, you’ve come to the right place. In our preparation packages, you'll find comprehensive exercises and guidance to help you prepare for each of the tests you will take.