Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where to get "legit" info on multiple choice exams for government jobs (USPS, Census); ETS Praxis

Government jobs often require taking multiple choice tests as a qualification. There are companies and websites around that offer to help you pass these tests for a fee – and the government insists that these services are not necessary. You should never have to pay for information on government jobs.

Nevertheless, the test 473 for USPS letter carriers has a certain degree of notoriety, particularly sections on address matching and memory for addresses. The legitimate place for information on this test is at the USPS website itself, here. The National Association of Letter Carriers offers a link for the test. I also recall that there was a section on predicting the next number in a pattern of numbers. The test is in sections and is timed, with a strict "pencils down" after each section.

The Census Bureau also gives a much shorter multiple choice test (28 questions) on reasoning, reading, “problem solving” and clerical skills. The Census Bureau itself offers a sample practice test online here.

Again, a candidate should not have to pay for coaching previous to a test like this.

While agencies offer links to practice tests and information, the tests themselves are copyrighted; other parties may not sell them or even post them online (apart from links to authorized copies).

Agencies may vary on their proctoring rules; some do not allow writing in test booklets and collect everything, including scrap paper.

Teachers have to pass a variety of exams given by the Educational Testing Service called Praxis. The specific tests and required scores can vary among states, and typically they are too long for the time allowed. However Kaplan sells guides as large paperback books that are very helpful, for both multiple choice and free response preparation.

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