Oral Board Exam Police Test Study Guide

How to Ace the Oral Board Interview.

Sep 20th, 2021
oral board interview

Prepare Ahead of Time

Facing a panel of officers is no easy task, that’s for sure. But that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare to maximize your exam result – because you can. It takes time and effort, though, and you must invest the hours needed.

Below, we have put together some of the best strategies to consider; what you must think about when answering questions. No matter what answer you give the oral board panel, it must always be an honest one. That must always be the starting point.

Answer Questions Honestly

This may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many police candidates are actively dishonest during the oral board interview.

Dishonesty and deception take many different forms, among them include:

  • Outright lying to the oral board panel.
  • White lies: often said to avoid any uncomfortable truth.
  • Lying-by-omission: a form of lying where details are deliberately left out to give a misconception of the actual truth.
  • Halftruth: a statement that is partly true, partly false.
  • Minimization: using language that minimizes an action or event to give a false impression.

The oral board panel has seen it all.

You may think you can get away with lying, but anything other than the truth will be detected. If the panel detect even a whiff that you are being deceptive, your chances of making it through to the next round are slim.

Learn to Directly Answer Each Question

One of the best ways to pass the oral board exam is by directly answering each question.

Again, this may seem obvious. But it isn’t. Interviewers report that candidates often do not directly answer the question that was asked.

Instead, the candidate answers a similar/related question for which they have “pre-prepared an answer”.

True, you should prepare answers in advance. But that doesn’t mean you need to use these answers – verbatim – during the exam. Instead, you need to shape your answer to the question, not the question to your pre-prepared answer.

Moreover, try to avoid waffling.

There’s nothing worse than someone who doesn’t answer a question. If your senior officer asks you if you have ever stolen, don’t give them a roundabout speech about how you were the victim of theft or that you have never stolen.

These answers just won’t cut it.

Answer questions directly and you cannot go wrong.

Do Your Homework

Learn as much about the role of a police officer as you can.

Take the time to learn about the history of your police department, what policies and procedures it follows, as well as the latest news and developments for that department. Also, think about researching crime statistics and what measures were taken to tackle specific law enforcement problems in the local area.

The more knowledge you have, the better-quality answers you can provide.

Moreover, it tells the oral board panel that you are serious about the position. You have done your homework and know what to expect of both the position and the police department.

Don’t just rely on the Internet, though. Take the initiative and visit your local police department and speak with officers there.

If possible, organize a ride-along, too, as it gives you the dual benefit of learning what day-to-day life is like as a law enforcement officer as well as giving you the invaluable opportunity to ask questions along the way.

Come to the Exam Prepared

Coming prepared shows that you care. That’s what examiners look for.

First, you should dress appropriately and act professionally. Don’t forget – this panel is taking their time out to evaluate your suitability for the role. If you haven’t taken the time to don the correct attire and animate the best behavior, what is the point?

You just end up wasting their time and yours.

Whilst you don’t need to attend the oral board interview with an Armani suit, you should look clean, crisp and presentable.

  • Your body language should be formal, not too relaxed.
  • When answering questions, always look your panel in their eyes.
  • Stay focussed throughout and don’t let your mind drift off.
  • Sit up straight and deliver your answers confidently.
  • Don’t make inappropriate jokes when answering serious points.

Furthermore, coming prepared means bringing a pen and notepad, resume, relevant papers, and copies of other documents you need to bring.

Of course, like every other part of the police test, it’s imperative that you show up early – but not too early. We suggest turning up 10-15 minutes before your exam is about to commence.

Practice Interview Questions

One of the best ways to ace the interview is to practice oral board questions. The more questions you practice, the better.

Remember, many of the questions asked are of two main types:

  • Personal
  • Scenario

Personal questions can include:

  • Why do you want to become a law enforcement officer?
  • Why have you chosen this police department?
  • Have you ever stolen?

Scenario questions can include:

  • You pull over your drunk father. How do you react?
  • An officer is down, shots have been fired. What should you do?
  • You encounter a sexual act in the local park. What is your response?

To successfully pass the oral board interview, you must have a rounded knowledge of how to answer both types of question – as well as how to answer single questions and dynamic oral board questions. This takes preparation, often lots of it – which can make a dramatic difference to your exam result.

Long-term preparation is essential for success at the police interview test.

Avoid Negativity

You will be asked difficult questions during the police interview.

For example, some questions may ask you to say something about a former co-worker, employer, or another type of person with whom you developed a personal relationship.

In these circumstances, you must avoid being negative.

Speaking ill of former employers etc. gives the twin impression that:

  • You are immature.
  • You are not a positive person.

Furthermore, if you are willing to be negative about your former employer, what is stopping you from being negative about your future employer – the police department itself?

You can see why they might seek to trip you up at this point.

Don’t take the bait.

Instead, try to frame your answers with a positive slant. Always use diplomatic language when talking about potentially contentious issues – for example: “I respect that view…etc.”.


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