Census Test Taking Tips

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Census Taking TipsAre you considering applying for a job with the U.S. Census Bureau? If so, you might need to brush up on your basic math and reading skills. In order to be considered for a census-taking position, you must complete a 30-minute census test.

Although I don't plan to apply for a census job, I hopped online this morning to the U.S. Census Bureau's website to check out the practice test. The practice test is in downloadable PDF form, and can be found on their website. With pen in hand and my stopwatch ready, I began my test.

At first glance, I noticed that I would need scratch paper. So, I temporarily stopped my watch to grab a notepad from my desk. The questions were fairly easy; most adults who have been educated to an eighth-grade level could answer them comfortably. Although the bureau does not specify an educational background when applying, they do require that you be at least 18.

The 28-question practice test assessed my clerical, reasoning, math, organizational and reading skills. The questions involved defining the meaning of words, adding and multiplying a group of numbers, properly analyzing and solving word problems, following a map properly, and accurately matching and alphabetizing a series of letters and numbers. When I began, I assumed that I would finish in less than 15 minutes. However, some of questions require you to read long passages, so I ended up finishing in about 22 minutes. At the bottom of the test, the correct answers are provided so that you can easily score yourself. And after looking over my answers, I was surprised to see I had gotten the first question wrong.

As for the real test, you must go to your local Census Bureau office to have it administered. After calling my local census office about what to expect, I was told that applicants should bring their personal identification and job application. In addition, you are not allowed to use a calculator for the math portion. Applicants who get 10 of the 28 questions correct will be considered for a census taker job. The higher the score, the better chance you have in getting hired.

With so much stiff competition this year, I suggest that you take the practice test so you can get familiar with the types of questions you will be asked. My local office informed me that you can take the test as often as you like to get a better score until your branch no longer accepts them. Depending on who's administering the test, you could get the results the same day.

To schedule your census test, contact your local office. Usually, you can take the test within a week.

Next: 750,000 New Census Jobs: A Blessing and a Curse >>

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