Census Jobs - Taking the 2010 Census Practice Test
Recently I took the 2010 census employment test, so I thought I'd share my experience with taking the exam so you can prepare to take it yourself if you are interested in getting a census bureau job during the 2010 US Census.
The census employment test is basically the first step you need to take in order to get yourself hired to work the 2010 census and it's an extremely good idea to prepare for it by taking the census practice test first.
The Census Bureau will be hiring thousands of temporary employees across the United States to work on all aspects of the census, but the biggest job opportunity is the enumerator position -- the enumerators are the folks who go out into the field and visit people's homes.
Scheduling the Census Test
In order to get a job with the Census bureau, the first thing you need to do is give them a call and tell them you'd like to take the census jobs test.
If you call the national 800 number (1-866-861-2010), they will give you the phone number for your regional office. Call the regional office about taking the test and they'll ask you for your zip code and tell you where the next test is going to take place.
It's as easy as that. I called them on a Monday and took the test that Wednesday. One tip -- if you get voicemail at the Regional office, call them back instead of relying on them to call you. I wasn't able to schedule the test until I got an actual human to answer the phone.
Take the 2010 Census Practice Test
The census test itself is pretty simple and only a half hour long, but it can be deceptively tricky. What they are looking for is speed and attention to detail, so many of the answers are very similar.
Be sure to look closely at each answer. I had 27 answers right, but the wrong one was something ridiculously simple that I should never have gotten wrong. My eyes just didn't catch the difference between two answers that were nearly identical.
The test itself is 28 questions and you are only allowed a half hour to complete it. Questions are multiple choice and there are a variety of clerical, numerical (easy math), comprehension, decision making and map reading questions to be answered. If you have trouble reading maps, be sure to read my hub on reading the census test map for tips on how to follow the map and answer the questions.
I strongly recommend taking the Census Practice Test as the real test is identical in format and several of the questions are nearly the same as well. By doing the practice test, you'll already be familiar with what you need to do, so you won't need to sweat the fact that you only have 30 minutes. That will be plenty of time if you are prepared.
Get the Census Practice Test here. It's a PDF file and you should print it out, grab a pencil and time yourself on the test.
If you need more Census test help, I'm in the process of pulling together a website that will address a lot of the questions that tend to get asked in the comments about census jobs, the practice test and the real employment test.
Find out more
- US Census Bureau 2010 Jobs
This is the official website of the US Census recruitment effort. You can find out information on jobs and taking the Census test here.
At the Test Site
When you go to take the census test, be sure to allow about two hours. In addition to taking the test, the recruiter will have you complete a job application and will also check your identity documents. So bring two forms of ID or a US Passport with you to the test site.
In most cases, the recruiter will grade the tests while you wait so you'll know your score before you leave. I believe the passing score is 70%. Veterans also get either 5 or 10 points added to their score.
After that, it's time to wait. The Census bureau has projects on-going between now and the end of 2010, but it could be months before they call you, so be patient.
My Job Hubs
- Working as a Retail Merchandiser
If you're interested in working in retail and prefer flexible hours and working independently, you might want to consider becoming a merchandiser.
- Become a Mystery Shopper
Love to shop? If you enjoy shopping and have a good memory and pay close attention to details, you might enjoy mystery shopping.
- Preparing for the Job Interview
Here's a thorough introduction to how best to handle the job interview.
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