The correctional officer undergoes a rigorous hiring process prior to starting work. As part of this process, he will take a battery of tests, including a psychological evaluation, to determine his level of mental fitness for the job. This may consist of both oral and written questions. While this is not an exam you can study for, there are certain preparations that will help you do well.
Correctional officers need excellent skills in problem-solving and working under stress. A lack of life experience in working under challenging circumstances can be corrected by reviewing examples and real-life scenarios in how to handle difficult situations, especially with inmates.
The correctional officer also needs excellent communication skills; again, this relates to life experience. Practice analyzing the facts of an event and retelling them in an accurate and concise manner. Verbalize the story in the mirror or with a family member or friend. Do not ramble or include irrelevant information, which can complicate the issue. The correctional officer also needs strong writing and documentation abilities. Practice these by watching someone on TV or at the mall, and documenting events as they occurred.
A correctional officer must be willing to listen to her superiors, or she will not succeed at the job. In addition, she cannot display aggressive behaviors toward inmates. The psychological evaluation has built-in red flags that demonstrate the level of anger of the candidate. If she is aware of this issue prior to testing, she can address it through anger-control counseling or support groups.
Studying or purchasing additional reference materials related to the correctional officer psychological evaluations from the library can help the candidate prepare as well. Do some background research on the department itself and the specific requirements of the position so you are ready for some of the tough questions you will probably be asked.
Psychological evaluations are internally measured for validity. That means that several questions are phrased in slightly different ways to measure the consistency of the candidate. Be honest during the interview process and when taking the test.