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How to Pass the Police Exam

Instructor: Jessica Munk
You will have to take some version of a police exam as part of the application process for a job as a peace officer. Because there is a lot of competition for these police jobs, you will want to score highly on the exam. Keep reading to get tips for passing your police exam and learn where to find study materials, practice tests and more.

Know Your City or State's Exam Requirements

Not all jurisdictions require the same police exam, so the first step to earning a passing score is to understand what exam your state or city requires. Many police departments use the National Police Officer Selection Test (POST) or the National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory (NCJOSI). Other departments have their own exam. You can typically find out what exam is required online, through a city government or state highway patrol office website, or by contacting a police academy in your jurisdiction.

Find Out What Will Be On Your Police Exam

Generally, police exams are designed to test a variety of basic skills in such areas as grammar, writing, vocabulary, reading comprehension and math. You may also be required to show your ability to make decisions based on your judgment and reasoning skills.

The questions themselves might consist of multiple-choice, true/false and fill-in-the blank formats. Some tests also include a writing section that requires you to write an incident report or a video portion during which you will have to watch several scenarios and select the appropriate response to each.

You will not necessarily need law enforcement training or knowledge to pass these exams, but you will need a good understanding of the skills mentioned above.

Take Practice Tests

POST sample questions and practice tests are available for a small fee from the company that creates the exam. If your state has its own exam, it might offer practice tests online as well. You can also find a number of websites that offer free practice questions similar to those found on the actual tests.

You will have a time limit on each section of your police exam. Therefore, it is important to practice taking the exam under these conditions. Most likely, your score will not decrease if you select an incorrect answer. You will need to practice time management in order to ensure you select an answer for every question, even if it's only your best guess.

Find Additional Study Resources

You can sign up for study courses online that include review material, general study tips and strategies for answering questions that will require you to exhibit reasoning and judgment. You can also find print study materials and books.

Because you will need to be proficient in reading, writing, grammar and math, Study.com offers many resources that can help you prepare for the police exam. You can use the following lessons to refresh your general knowledge on each of these topics and take quizzes to track your progress:

Utilize General Test-Taking Strategies

Feeling your best on test day will, of course, help you do well on the police exam. It's important to go into the exam well rested, well fed and relaxed.

On test day, be sure to listen to the instructions given to you by your exam administrator. If you are unsure about any of the directions, ask for clarification. Also, be sure you are clear about the time limit for the exam. For time management purposes, it may be helpful to note the start and stop time for each section.

Following these simple tips and utilizing the above resources can help you feel prepared for the exam and also reduce your anxiety, leading to a better score.

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