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What to Expect on the 2023 Police Officer Exam.

January 7th, 2023 2023 police officer exam

Syllabus Standards for the 2023 Exam

The 2023 police officer exam is expected to be largely like the exam format taken over the past year. The fundamental core features of the exam will remain the same, with an emphasis on the following four subject areas:

  • Written test
  • Physical abilities test
  • Oral board examination
  • A polygraph, background checks – or both

Of course, this depends which police department test you intend to take.

Some departments do not conduct a polygraph exam. Instead, they focus more on the oral board exam and background checks to ensure that what the candidate is saying is as accurate as possible.

Minimum Requirements

Note that candidates who wish to apply to become a law enforcement officer continue to face high levels of competition.

To join any department, it’s not sufficient to simply pass the exam. Instead, only the best performing candidates are taken through to the police academy for advanced training and further professional development.

Again, minimum requirements vary to some degree – depending on which law enforcement department you wish to join. Generally, the following minimum requirements apply:

  • To pass the police entrance exam – often from at least the age of 17.5 years. The minimum entrance age is often set at 21-years old. Candidates must have taken the exam before the age of 35-years.
  • To be a US citizen.
  • To have a valid drivers’ license.
  • To have a clean criminal record. For instance: candidates convicted of a felony may not apply to become a police officer. Candidates may also be disqualified based on inappropriate past behaviour – even if that behaviour is related to recent employment.
  • To meet minimum education requirements. For instance: to have earned a minimum number of college credits (often 60) with at least a GPA of 2.0.
  • Candidates who have a history of military experience in the US Armed Forces, at least 2-years, may also apply to become a police officer.

However, given the variability of entry requirements to become a police officer in the United States, we recommend consulting your own agency to learn more about the specific requirements that apply in your case.

What to Expect on the 2023 Written Test

The 2023 police written exam follows broadly on what we’ve seen over the past number of years.

The trend is moving more toward questions that assess the ability of candidates to think outside the box. This means questions that examine the candidate’s problem-solving ability – to think laterally about how to work through questions.

Ultimately, this is a necessary soft skill for police officers. Law enforcement officials must have the ability to work things out, to piece together what has happened in a case, and to logically determine the most appropriate path going forward. This is not the kind of skill you can develop overnight. It takes time, many months – if not years, of effort to foster.

That said, there are steps you can take to develop these soft skills going forward. We have examined many of these techniques and strategies in our self-paced online course, but there are many other ways you can develop these skills at home. This means analysing more, reading more, breaking large problems into smaller, manageable topics. The more you’re aware of the skill you need to develop, the more you will develop that skill.

Subjects assessed on the police officer exam in 2023 include:

  • Math
  • Reading comprehension
  • Map reading skills
  • Observational awareness
  • Communication skills; including accuracy with spelling / grammar
  • Incident report writing
  • Logical reasoning skills

What to Expect on the Rest of the Police Exam

The interview test remains one of the core features of the police exam and this does not change with the 2023 exam syllabus.

Candidates must prepare well for the interview. This means taking the time to practice oral board questions and to prepare sample answers. One of the common mistakes that some candidates make is that they try to memorize the sample answers. That’s a massive mistake because you will never know what you will be asked. For example, you could be asked a slightly different, dynamic oral board question that’s different to what you prepared.

Suddenly, your pre-prepared answer is not good enough. In other words, the purpose of preparing sample answer is not to memorize the answers but to develop the skill of working out how to answer questions. If a similar question pops up, you need to adjust your thinking accordingly. That doesn’t mean you blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind. Often, it’s better to take a few seconds to gather your thoughts.

This way, you can articulate a more accurate answer – and the oral board panel will appreciate the maturity of this way of responding.

How to Prepare for the 2023 Police Officer Exam

What to expect on the 2023 police officer exam is largely like the syllabus we have seen in recent years. As we have already discussed, the trend is more toward assessing a candidates’ critical thinking skills.

The days of trying to memorize the police exam are over.

That means candidates must adjust how they prepare for the exam, accordingly. Many candidates find the physical abilities test the easiest part of the exam. This exam will remain unchanged for the 2023 police test.

For the written and oral board exams, candidates should put together a comprehensive study plan that deals with all aspects of both exams. This plan should include when you plan to study, how you plan to study, what resources you intend to use, and when you intend to revise what you have studied.

It must be complete and more importantly, it must be achievable.

By taking these steps, you make it far easier to prepare a long-term plan that works for you. With enough preparation, there is no reason why you cannot succeed at the 2023 police officer test.

Remember: it’s not enough to “just pass” anymore. Competition for places within the police academy are high. To beat that competition, you must score high.

That take time, and many times more effort. Each candidate needs to decide for themselves whether they are willing to invest that time and effort to turn their dream of becoming a law enforcement officer into a reality.

Found this helpful? Study and pass the 2023 police officer exam with our complete, self-paced online course. Receive instant online access to your personal learning dashboard to learn everything you need to know to succeed at the 2023 police exam and join the academy.


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