The Police Written Test
The police written test is a crucial step in the police officer selection process that is stressful for most applicants. When you successfully pass the police written exam, you will be placed on the eligibility list. This is the roster from which the agency will draw its finalist for subsequent testing. The higher you score on the written test, the higher you will be placed on the list. Bottom-line, this means you will be interviewed before other candidates.
Even though most agencies are testing applicants for 12th grade knowledge, approximately 80% of students taking the test will not pass. So your first caution – DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POLICE WRITTEN TEST.
The police written test will vary throughout the country. Some police agencies subscribe to written test from third-party companies that specialize in the police selection process, while other agencies have written tests provided to them by state run organizations, such as the POST (Peace Officer Standards & Training). Many municipalities write their own police exams.
In the days and weeks prior to taking the written test it is imperative to study. This is one phase of the process that you will have the opportunity to prepare, so don't cut yourself short. Preparation and lots of practice are the keys to success.
Types of Questions on Police Test
Most police written tests nowadays use multiple choice questions. Multiple choice questions are easy to grade and remove any subjectivity. However, you may still find the written essay is required by some departments.
The types of questions that may be found on most police exams are listed in the following paragraphs. Examples of each of these will be found in the Practice Exams provided on this site.
Logical Reasoning Questions
There are many types of logical reasoning questions that police written exams include. Sometimes these are called “Judgement and Problem Solving” questions. It is important for applicants to study all of the potential classes of logical reasoning questions that may be asked. These can include:
Deductive Reasoning tests one’s ability to apply general rules to specific problems and come up with logical answers. It involves deciding if an answer make sense.
Inductive Reasoning involves the ability to combine separate pieces of information, or specific answers to problems, and form general conclusions. It reveals one’s ability to think of possible reasons for why things go together. Questions generally have you read a procedure then draw conclusions from what you read.
Verbal Reasoning is the ability to use words correctly and to understand meaning from the use of words (as opposed to pictures and diagrams.) Examples include common sense questions, analogy questions and classification questions.
Non-verbal Reasoning tests measure one’s ability to recognize visual patterns and sequences, interpret diagrams and maps, and memorize visual features.
Arithmetic Reasoning is a fancy word for “math questions.” The math requirements on police written exam are usually minimal and frequently presented as word problems.
Writing Skills Questions
Law enforcement agencies place high priority on ones’ ability to write clearly due to their demand for accurate and clearly written police reports. The most common elements the applicant will find on police written tests include:
- Writing Clarity
- Written Essay (less common nowadays)
Preparation for these questions is very important, as most of us have forgotten much of what we learned about proper grammar and how to write. Be sure to find a prep course that provides plenty of help on this subject.
Reading Skills Questions
There are two broad categories of reading comprehension questions.
Traditional Reading Comprehension Test
The Traditional Reading Comprehension Test involves reading a passage and being able to identify specific points and draw conclusions about the main ideas that are presented.
CLOZE Reading Test
The CLOZE reading test is used by the California POST and CHP, as well as other agencies throughout the U.S. Most applicants have never be exposed to the CLOZE test. The CLOZE presents the student with a passage where words are omitted. The applicants is to fill in the correct word. This test is a powerful way of testing a whole range of English skills including grammar, spelling, and vocabulary, as well as reading comprehension. Special practice is required in order to learn how to master the CLOZE.
How to Select the
Best Police Exam Prep Course?
Think about what you want in a prep course? There are many choices ranging from $20.00 books on Amazon, to $600 courses that you can attend. Based upon nearly a decade of working with police applicants, here are the criteria most students want when investing in a prep course for their police written exam:
- Focused lectures that give you tips and strategies for attacking the types of questions that may be asked by any law enforcement agency in the U.S.
- Access to hundreds of practice questions characterized by the following:
- Detailed answers with explanations of how to arrive at the right answer.
- Visually stimulating and entertaining media to make your journey less tiresome.
- Use of modern, eLearning technology to make your learning experience fast and efficient.
- Instant, online access to updated info (this rules out books)
- Access to advanced subjects like the polygraph, background check and job interview should be included at no extra charge.
- Personalized support should be available from a law enforcement expert who is dedicated to your success.
- Great value – reasonably priced with unlimited use.