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Dear Mr. Ryan,
Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!
We searched the National Archives Catalog and located Records Relating to Civil Service Job Examination Specifications, 1932 - 1954, Case Files, 1905 - 1969, Publications, 1883 - 1979, and Policy Records Relating to Schools, Colleges, and Civil Service Examination Eligibility, 1904 - 1962 in the Records of the U.S. Civil Service Commission (Record Group 146) that may provide information about the contents of federal civil service examinations in the 1920s and 1930s. These records are in the custody of the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2). For access to these records please contact RDT2 via email at email@example.com.
The exact contents of civil service examinations often varied by the nature of the job, and sample questions were sometimes included in the announcements of examinations to fill particular jobs. For example, we searched online and located a United States Civil Service Examination Application for prohibition officers, 1927, in the custody of University Libraries of the University of Washington. The announcement describes in general the subjects of examination and provides sample questions and directions for taking the test. The sample questions are specific to law enforcement. It is also notable that this version of the test contains written, oral and physical parts. Tests for clerical positions generally placed a large emphasis on typing and English writing skills.
We hope this information is helpful. Best of luck with your family research!