This includes city departments, sheriffs offices, state police/highway patrol, and federal law enforcement agencies.
The police psychological test is used to establish whether you are mentally capable of performing the daily duties of a law enforcement officer. And if you think about it, this makes sense. Police officers in the United States are exposed to many mentally strenuous situations. The daily duties they face are themselves difficult to handle. Not everyone is capable of being a police officer – and that’s where this exam comes in.
Of course, there is an important distinction to be made. Not everyone with a mental health affliction is automatically excluded from the role of being a police officer. There are many astoundingly effective police officers who do their duties but who may also have some form of mental affliction, however mild. In these cases, there is no reason to disqualify those members from serving their public duties. Similarly, there are many mentally healthy people who may not be an appropriate choice to become a police officer.
The police psychological test is entirely geared towards establishing whether an individual is suited to the role of a police officer. Candidates will be evaluated to learn whether they have the requisite psychological skills and abilities, as well as emotional maturity, to work within this demanding profession.
First, candidates face a written examination. You will be asked a series of questions – some of which may come across as odd. But these questions are asked for a reason. Sometimes, questions are asked to examine your response to them. Some questions may even invoke anger in a candidate. That’s precisely why these questions are asked – to knock you out of your comfort zone and to see how you respond.
Honesty is another important factor. Always answer questions honestly. If, during the later phase of the police psychological interview you are found to have misled or even lied, this will not be taken lightly. If you are willing to lie about small things, why not lie about larger, more important things? The question is trust comes into the equation. You do not want to be considered as an untrustworthy candidate. That impression must not be allowed to even enter the examiner’s mind.
How you behave will also be examined. For instance – it’s not uncommon for candidates to discuss habits, including drinking or the use of illicit drugs. You may also be asked questions about your family and your current relationship to them, about your history of personal relationships, if any. As you can see, the police psychological test is about a whole-scale evaluation of you as a person – your actions and behaviors, and how you respond to questions – whether honestly, deceptively, or defensively. If examiners establish that you are being defensive, it may give them the impression that you have something to hide – again, not an impression you want to seep into their overall evaluation of you as a candidate.
Some questions are asked more than once, often in different ways. Again, the purpose of these kinds of strategies are to establish whether you have been telling the truth. If you have answered a question one way at the beginning of the police psychological exam, but later answer a similar question in a very different way – these discrepancies in your answers may be brought up. Alternatively, they will not be brought up, but noted and documented by the examiner who will then pass this evaluation onto the police department. Further investigations into your statements may also be made, although you will be unaware this is happening.
Many candidates ask the question – how should we prepare for the police psychological test?
The reality is that there’s not much you can do. After all, the truth is the truth and how you perform will depend on what questions you are asked. As we have urged, you should not at any point lie during the test. You need to remain alert throughout the exam and understand what you are saying. Always correct yourself if you have accidentally said something wrong. Perhaps later in the interview you realize you made a mistake. If so, then take the opportunity to tell the interviewer and explain the reasons why you believe you made a mistake. Again, this is about building a relationship of honesty with the interviewer.
To remain alert throughout the exam at this high level, you must sleep well the night before the exam. If you don’t sleep well, you will be groggy and may inadvertently mark wrong answers in the written part of the exam. These mistakes may come up during the interview assessment. These are avoidable mistakes and so it’s essential that you sleep well on the night before the police psychological exam. Always arrive to the exam hall on time, 30-minutes before the test. Know how to get to the center in case of any emergency.
Stay relaxed throughout the exam and understand that, if you have nothing to hide, then there is nothing to fear. Don’t put on an act; it’s obvious and the examiners have seen it all before. Instead, just be yourself and understand that, by hiding nothing to the examiners, you are merely having a social conversation with them. They are not trying to trick you or to fail you. They are there to assess you.
By adopting these tips, you will demonstrate excellent judgement and reasoning skills throughout the exam, passing the police psychological test, and make it through to the police academy.