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Top 10 Tips on How to Pass the Police Officer Exam.

April 15th, 2023 how to pass the police officer exam

How to Pass the Police Officer Exam

Here we’ve put together the top 10 tips on how to pass the police officer exam – the best way to prepare for the needs and demands of this year’s police exam.

Apply these ten principles to your next police exam and watch your score rise, as well as your prospects for entering the police academy.

Get enough sleep.

That means going to bed early, not late.

Too many candidates try to cram the night before. This is counterproductive for two reasons. First, it means sleep deprivation before the exam the next day. Second, you are unlikely to remember much from this cram session.

There’s no point spending 6-months preparing for this exam, only to turn up to the exam with red eyes and a sleepy disposition.

Not only with the written exam either. The same principle applies to the physical abilities test, psychological evaluation, and oral board exam.

Always make sure you get enough sleep before any exam.

Watch your diet.

We don’t want to sound like your parents but take a few moments to think about what you intend to eat both the day before and on the morning of your police exam.

Avoid junk foods or other foods that can make you feel lethargic.

Instead, try to pack your diet with healthy vegetables – particularly green, leafy vegetables – as well as fruit or eggs. Also, don’t forget to stay fully hydrated both before and during the police exam.

On the morning of your exam, don’t eat something too heavy.

Instead, keep it light but sufficiently filling. After all, eating too much can make you feel tired.

And it goes without saying that candidates should avoid consuming alcohol the night before your police test.

By taking these steps, you optimise your body’s performance both before and during your exam.

Don’t stress.

This moment has been building up for months, and the day of your exam has finally arrived.

It’s easy – and completely understandable – to feel stressed out.

After all, your career depends on your exam success.

But this stress carries consequences. When the body is stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. In excess, this “stress hormone” can increase your heart rate, induce anxiety, as well as cause problems with both memory and concentration.

You probably know more than you think you do to succeed at the exam. Keep this confidence in mind, stay relaxed, and do your best.

Arrive to the exam early.

Each year too many applicants arrive late to the exam.

Think about the consequences of that – the stress of arriving late, finding a seat, and mentally preparing to begin the test in a state of rush.

Avoid this problem by arriving early – at least 10-15 minutes early. This gives you the time needed to find a comfortable seat. After all, you may not prefer to be seated near the window, as it may serve as a source of distraction.

Try to visit the testing site the day before your exam. Know where the exam hall is, where you intend to park, and how long it took you to arrive. Always take other factors into consideration – such as the time of your exam and the impact this may have on your way to the exam center (rush hour, for example).

As tempting as it may be, try to avoid talking to other test applicants. Not only are they competitors to you but they may be nervous. And nervousness is often contagious. Keep your thoughts to yourself, stay chilled, and enter the exam hall on time and with your confidence intact.

Never rush police test questions.

Too often, candidates rush through police exam questions they believe are easy. That way, they can spend more time on more difficult problems.

The results from many years of police exams suggests that this isn’t a wise strategy.

Rather than securing these “easy marks”, applicants overlook the question and end up choosing the wrong answer. This may be because they misread the question or, alternatively, that they missed a detail – often a very obvious detail that they would have otherwise identified had they taken their time.

This is a lesson worth learning – imagine scoring badly on the police written exam from questions you would have gotten right had you invested the time?

Proportion your time equally between all questions, and always double-check answers.

Rather than rushing into the police exam, take a minute or two to briefly scan the exam paper. Look at the questions and read all the answers. Get a sense of the lay of the land – of what you are about to confront.

Always remember that not all information in questions must be used. Often, examiners drop irrelevant pieces of information into questions to distract you. The idea is that candidates should be able to identify the details they need to answer the question. Try to avoid the common mistake of using all the information in a question, particularly a math question – because that means you’re falling into the trap set by the examiner.

Listen to police exam instructions.

Even though you feel you may know all the instructions, it’s possible that you do not. Always be vigilant of police exam instructions.

It’s entirely possible that some rules have changed, for example.

Also, many police departments do not follow the same instructions. If your agency is different from the one you originally prepared for, don’t be surprised if there’s a change in exam instructions.

Of course, this principle applies across the board – to the written exam and fitness test, as well as the interview exam and psychological evaluation.

Mark your exam paper right.

Most police departments use electronic means to scan exam performance. It’s therefore imperative that you fill out the exam paper correctly.

When filling out the exam paper, there are two key factors to keep in mind:

  • Are you using the correct checkmark?
  • Did you fill out more than one spot for a question?

Some departments use different checkmarks. The most common is the hyphenated mark ( – ) – where you simply enter a horizontal dash into the answer box. Some candidates incorrectly fill out the exam paper, instead using a forward slash ( / ) instead. This means the electronic paper will not be able to register that result correctly.

  • Always read exam paper instructions to know exactly how you need to fill out the answer sheet.
  • Always make sure that you didn’t fill out more than one answer spot for a question, as this invalidates any answer contribution you made.
  • Always double check that you didn’t accidentally forget to answer a question.

Don’t bring in anything you don’t need.

Unfortunately, there have been cases where some applicants were accused of cheating, even though that was not their intention.

That’s because they brought in something to the exam hall that was expressly forbidden.

For instance: calculators are not permitted. You are also not permitted to have notes present on your person, even if that means the notes are in your pockets.

Electronic devices, such as mobile devices, are also not permitted in the testing area.

Always double-check that you are abiding by exam regulations.

Maximize your time in the exam hall.

Squeeze as much time out of your exam experience as possible. Try to avoid the ever-present temptation to leave the exam hall early.

There are two primary advantages to not leaving the exam hall early.

First, it means you can spend more time on questions that you believe you may have gotten wrong. Alternatively, you can also double-check whether your method was correct.

Second, it means you can spend the time necessary to confirm whether your methods on easier questions were correct. Remember what we said about never rushing. Any extra time at the end of the exam can be invested in establishing whether you got these easier questions correct, too.

You don’t want to miss out on easy marks.

Moreover, don’t forget that everyone else in that exam hall is your competitor. They want your place in the police academy. For the sake of 30 minutes or an hour, don’t waste this opportunity to maximize your score.

In the end, it may make the difference between securing your place in the academy.

And that brings us to the last of our top tips to pass the police officer exam – namely, don’t be afraid to guess.

Don’t be afraid to guess.

Guessing sounds bad, but it depends on what you mean by guessing. After all, there’s a world of difference between a blind guess and an educated guess.

It’s easy to avoid difficult questions, or to take a blind stab at an answer.

As tempting as that urge may be, try to avoid it. Instead, take the time needed to work through the question. After a minute or two of assessing the question and possible answers, you may be able to at least eliminate one – or perhaps even two – answers.

After all, let’s not forget how police test questions are structured. Often, there are two more obvious false answers, and then two answers which are more reasonable to be correct. If you can eliminate those two obvious false answers, you have a 50% chance of guessing the correct answer.

And most importantly of all, don’t leave a question blank.

Always guess, even if you can’t put together an educated guess.

Found these top tips on how to pass the police officer exam helpful? Become a full member of Police Test Study Guide and gain instant access to your personal learning dashboard – all the exclusive features you need to succeed at the police officer exam.


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