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Top Strategies to Pass the Police Exam!

July 20th, 2022 top strategies to pass the police exam

Know What Gets Tested!

If you don’t know what’s on the syllabus, how can you know where to begin?

And let’s not forget that each department has their own criteria. What gets tested on the New York police exam is not necessarily what gets tested on the Philadelphia police exam. Each department has their own criteria – and it’s incumbent upon you to learn what gets tested. Having this essential information means you can weave together a comprehensive, long-term plan to tackle each section.

That said, much of the police exam is the same for most police departments.

Typically for the police written test, candidates are tested on a combination of:

  • Spelling and grammar
  • Police vocabulary
  • Communication skills
  • Observational skills / memory tests
  • Reading maps
  • Math and basic arithmetic
  • Reading comprehension
  • Incident report writing

Contact your target police department and get to know which of these subjects gets tested. Check out the department website, too. Often, they provide free sample police test questions on the style, standard, and difficulty you can expect on the day of your exam.

And this applies to the other key parts of the police exam – namely, the police fitness test and the oral board examination. The oral board is pretty much the same for all departments. You will be cross-examined to establish your ability to think through and critically assess problems. You need to do this quick – and to communicate answers clearly and effectively.

For the police fitness test – again, the criteria vary among departments. Most departments test candidates on:

  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups
  • Fixed-distance sprints
  • Lifting weights, such as dummy humans or objects
  • Obstacle courses

Once you know what gets tested, you can start developing a long-term plan that works for you.

Create a Long-Term Plan!

Planning is one of the top strategies to pass the police exam.

Without a plan, you are strategically blind.

Planning isn’t something vague either. It needs to mean something – and it needs to be put together in a realistic way that achieves a set of goals. You must identify these goals for yourself. For instance, is math your weakness? Are you physically fit and already trained to a high level? Are you capable of handling the pressure of the oral board exam?

There are many other variables to consider. What matters is that you identify your existing strengths and weaknesses. Clearly, you do not need to spend as much time developing strengths you already have. The long-term plan must focus on transforming the weaknesses and that side of the equation. You can achieve this by creating a plan that breaks down the weakness into phases – and then tackling these phases over a prolonged period of time.

Let’s take math, for example.

This is a broad subject – and there are many topics to revise. For your plan, you must:

  • Identify all weak topics (eg. percentages, decimals, fractions, algebra).
  • Create a study plan that targets each of these topics individually.
  • Create practice questions that test what you have studied.
  • Add additional time later in the week for revision purposes. Create new questions on this topic and revise accordingly. If you find that you are scoring less than earlier in the week, you must find more time to revise the subject.
  • Always remember that getting answers wrong is the point. These wrong answers can be used to your advantage – highlighting where you need to refocus your study to plug that gap in your knowledge.

You will always prefer to study the subjects you prefer. That is to make a mistake, because you need to work on what you dislike. In time, once you begin to build your knowledge of the subject, that inherent dislike will quickly subside.

  • The plan you create must be realistic and achievable.
  • It must be long-term and regular. No long gaps between study periods or sessions.
  • You must have a defined place to study – free from distractions.
  • You must cover all topics identified. Do not leave any stone unturned.
  • You must be motivated to tackle this work head-on. No excuses!

Remember – competition for places in the police academy is high. It’s not enough to scrape through. To get selected, you must beat the competition – and given how fierce that competition is – you must score as high as you possibly can. Never set the bar low. You will probably score lower than what you expected. By aiming high, you have the highest chance of getting selected. You will also have no regrets that you could have done more (should things not work out as planned).

Diversify Study Materials

One of the top strategies to pass the police exam is to diversify study materials. Not everyone studies in the same way.

Some people prefer books whereas other people prefer auditory or visual learning. Many others prefer a wide combination of study materials – and that often works best.

Don’t just stick to one study source. The more sources of study materials you find, the better. You will find that books and practice questions work well at some points, and visual and auditory tools work better in other cases. Again, this comes down to the person and what works well for them.

Flashcards, too, are a very powerful way to commit facts to memory. The purpose of any effective flashcard is to identify the real points of information that you need to know. This means you can flick through the facts – quickly and effectively – whilst committing the must-know details to memory. Weak flashcards are those that have too much information. By overcrowding the police flashcard, you cannot quickly revise. It becomes more like reading a book that has been divided into 100 pieces.

Keep it short – and keep it simple.

That’s what flashcards are for.

Take Home Message

In this article, we’ve talked a lot about the top strategies to pass the 2022 police exam. We have talked about the need to:

  • Know what gets tested for your police department.
  • To perform a diagnostic test – examining your strengths and weaknesses.
  • To create a long-term plan that works. In practice, this means breaking down the plan to the finest details – time, hour, sub-topic, and revision time.
  • To diversify study materials as much as possible. Try to find more ways to learn, and you will reap the benefits.
  • Take as many police exam questions as possible!
  • To aim high and not “hope to pass”. If you hope to scrape by, you will compromise your motivation and ability to study topics in the kind of depth that they deserve to be studied.
  • Apply these principles not only to the written test, but also the police interview exam and the physical abilities test.

If you are struggling to pass the police officer test, you must take these tips on board. Don’t just read them and do nothing. Take action – and turn your dream of becoming a police officer into reality. Sweep aside any doubts and take the challenge seriously. By doing this, you will shift your mindset into one of success – that you can score far higher than you believe you can, and maximize the possibility of making it through to the police academy.

And in the end, that’s what matters.

Found this useful? Master the police officer exam with our self-paced, online course. Becoming a registered member today and gain instant access to all the tools and features you need to dominate the exam and make it through to the academy.


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