The race to be New York’s Strongest has come to a close…for now.
Nearly 94,000 people registered to take the New York City Sanitation Department exam, a two-hour-and-fifteen-minute written test that was held over the weekend. That was over 50,000 more than the number of test-takers the last time the exam was given, in 2007.
The test was held three times a day at fourteen different schools on both February 7 and 8, according to Cathy Hanson, a spokesperson for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, which administers the exams. It included sections in problem solving, written communication, and spatial reasoning. And if you missed it? Good luck, says Hanson: “The exam is over.”
People who were registered for the exam but missed it have a very limited number of excuses that allow them to get a make-up test. Military duty, temporary disabilities, or problems related to childbirth are pretty much the only acceptable excuses for not showing up. “It’s not like someone could wake up and say, ‘Oh, I forgot the test,’ ” says Hanson. “That doesn’t work.”
In October, we wrote about how getting into the highly competitive department felt like something between a lottery and a Kafkaesque shit show. In reality, the written exam is just the beginning.
First, those who pass the exam are later asked to take a test of physical strength and endurance known as the “Superman test.” The successful supermen and superladies are then placed on a list, ranked according to their overall scores. People are called from the list in order, to take jobs that become available. If the new hires have a commercial driver’s license and a clean bill of health, then they begin training at the city’s sanitation academy. The department is still currently drawing from the list of successful applicants based on the 2007 test.
According to the Daily News, the test had the largest number of applicants in more than twenty years. In 1993, more than 101,000 applied to take the test. And that number was matched four years earlier, in 1989.
Official city numbers for the number of people who actually took the exam will not be available for two weeks, Hanson says. But there are usually a few applicants — nearly ten percent, Hanson guesses — who decline to take the test.