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Top Tips to Pass the Police Officer Exam!

December 26th, 2019 top tips to pass the police officer exam

Know Your Goals!

Many people struggle with the police test because they don’t prepare in advance. Here, we’ve put together the top tips to pass the police officer exam. Put these tips into action and you’ll ace the police test.

First, you need to know your goal.

What are you setting out to achieve? A passing score? A very high score? You need to know what the target is before you try to achieve it. Without a goal in mind, candidates are setting out to fail before they even begin.

Let’s be honest. Competition for places within the police academy is high, very high. To succeed, you need to stand out from the competition. That means scoring very high – within the top 5% – on the day of the exam.

That may sound too ambitious, but that’s the mindset you need to have to succeed. Always aim higher, no matter how unachievable you believe it to be. Over time and with enough effort, that “unachievable” goal suddenly becomes more reasonable, manageable and – ultimately – attainable.

To pass the police officer exam is no small feat. To succeed at it and reach the highest possible result is an even greater feat.

Then again, you are joining an elite law enforcement profession admired throughout the world as well as within the community you wish to serve. That alone should motivate and energize your study performance – whether you are studying for the police written exam, physical abilities test, or oral board exam.

With this goal in mind, let’s turn our attention to some core strategies you need to consider in the weeks and months ahead.

Do Your Research

You’d be surprised at just how many people just don’t do their research. It remains the most fundamental of the top tips to pass the police officer exam, as well as any other exam for that matter.

After all, if you don’t know what’s on the exam, how will you know what to study!?

Take some time to learn:

  • What type of questions are asked on the police written exam
  • What fitness standards are expected by your local police department
  • What to expect during the oral board exam

Learn more about your local police department, too. The more you know about the exam, the better decisions you make about what to study, when to study, and why.

We’ve already covered a lot of this on our blog already.

Make a Study Plan

So, once you’ve completed this research, you need to make a study plan.  

We can’t stress enough how important planning is.

Planning gives structure to your study. An effective plan meets your targets, but it’s also one that is realistic and something you can stick to. You can’t expect to learn everything in a short space of time. After all, life gets in the way when we least expect it.

Instead, prepare a plan that meets realistic objectives.

When developing that plan, avoid spending more time on preferred subjects. It’s easy to fall into the trap of spending more time on the subjects we most like to study. Try to avoid this type of bias by spending more time on your weakest subjects.

By doing this, you can turn those weaknesses into strengths and maximize your long-term exam results.

Stay Motivated

It’s true – very few of us like to study. Does anyone?

One of the problems with studying is that we often don’t see the relevance of what we’re studying.

Many people ask: why are we studying math, vocabulary, and reading comprehension? What relevance does it have? If you are one of those who believe that these subjects have no value to your future career, you’re unlikely to be motivated to study them.

But the reality is that these topics are relevant. In fact, extremely relevant.

That’s because we all use numbers, language, and communication in our day-to-day work. That’s no less true for police officers. In fact, if anything, it’s truer.

By testing these subjects, the exam measures your critical thinking skills – how effective you are at problem-solving and working things out.

And, in law enforcement, critical thinking skills are incredibly important.

So, the more you see the relevance of what’s being examined, the more motivated you will be to study that material.

Know How to Study

Of course, everyone studies in different ways. No two people are the same.

Some people prefer to take notes, whereas other people prefer videos such as this or even audio.

Use what works best for you. No matter what way you prefer to study, always try to keep these factors in mind:

  • Keep distractions at bay. Turn off mobile devices and keep the TV off. Don’t casually check social media either. You need to stay disciplined throughout each study session. Discipline matters. The best performing candidates on the police exam are those who remain disciplined throughout their study over many months.
  • Next, you need to find a defined study space. For example, you shouldn’t study on your bed because your mind links that place to sleep. Find a defined study space that is associated with study and study alone.
  • Third, you should study one topic for each 50-minute period. Know what you intend to learn in that period and what you want to take out from that study session.
  • Fourth, take a 10-minute break after each 50-minute study session. You need to oxygenate your brain and keep things flowing. Breaks give you this opportunity. Do whatever you need to relax and unwind. Then return to study your next topic.
  • Fifth, you need to revise what you have learned. At the start of the next study session, take some time to revise the notes you put together from the previous study session. Revise those notes again on the third day and again on the seventh day. The more revision you do, the better.

You need to build these tips into your study for two reasons:

  • First, to maximize the value of each study session
  • Second, to convert short-term memories into long-term memories

In the end, it’s these long-term memories that deliver exam results.

Gather Study Materials

You need to ask yourself the question – do I have all the study materials I need to pass the police exam?

You may be using police department aid – it might be a short PDF or perhaps you are attending some local classes. It’s often provided, but one of the drawbacks is that the material is often not current and not up to scratch. They provide few practice questions and so you’re never really fully prepared.

There are also some great police test prep books out there. Again, you have the problem that their content isn’t as current as you would like. Plus, no one book can cover all police departments. That said, there are a lot of great test prep books out there that you should consider using.

Finally, there are online police test prep sites. At Police Test Study Guide, we have put together over 600 test questions on all aspects of the police exam. We’ve also put together some cool full-length practice exams to give you some real-life experience of what to expect; as well as some neat flashcards – over 400+ now – to cover all aspects of the written exam, fitness test, and oral board exam.  

We keep our content fresh and current. We also make it interactive, too, with some great video lessons and quiz tools. The great thing about test prep sites is that you can bring them anywhere, anytime, as they are fully online and mobile and tablet friendly. As you can see, it gives you a lot of different options and the flexibility to learn what you need, when you need to.

But no matter what learning materials you use, you need to study it well and learn from your mistakes.

That’s what’s important.

Police Exam Day Preparation

We cannot emphasize how important it is to prepare for exam day itself; one of the most important tips to pass the police officer exam. To be fully prepared for the exam, there are four key factors to consider:

  • First, get enough sleep the night before the exam.

There’s no point cramming. Study after study shows that cramming is not effective. Late-night cramming also reduces your potential sleep time, too. You need enough sleep to perform well on the exam.

  • It’s important that you show up to the exam on-time.

Make sure you have enough time to make it to the exam center. Life can throw curveballs when you least expect it. Try to arrive at least 15-20 minutes before the exam is about to start. The last thing you need is rushing to the exam hall, all flustered, about to start the test. You need to stay calm before the exam. Arrive early. It’s a must.

  • You need to eat a healthy breakfast

The healthier, the better – it almost goes without saying. Exams are draining experiences and you need all the energy you can get. For breakfast, eat wholesome, healthy and natural foods, as well as foods high in protein. Avoid processed foods and sugars at all costs. They only provide short-term energy bursts and rapidly leave you energy-deficient, craving for more, and can lead to the onset of fatigue.

  • Finally, you need to manage your time.

Try to manage your time so that you have enough time to answer each question. Don’t let one or two questions take up a disproportionate amount of time. Better to get those questions wrong and spend your time on many more questions that you can get right. Don’t rush through the exam, either, as you’re more likely to make mistakes – even on easy questions. Keep an eye on the time throughout the exam and be sure to have enough time to review your answers.


Passing the police test is difficult enough. Attaining a high score within the top 5% is even tougher. These top tips to pass the police officer exam are some of the best ways to maximize your long-term result.

Make a conscious effort to implement each of these tips. Done properly, you will be surprised at the difference it can make. The worst thing you can do is become complacent – assuming you have the exam in the bag.

Chances are you won’t. Moreover, competition for places within law enforcement is notoriously high. You must stand out. That means investing more time but also studying smarter, too. There’s no point studying for an hour if, after that hour, you have poorly studied the material and committed next to nothing to your long-term memory stores.

Check back to our police test blog for more great content on how to pass the police test and achieve the highest possible result. With Police Test Study Guide by your side, we bulletproof your exam success.


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