Tips to Pass the Police Written Exam

So many law enforcement applicants have asked me to teach them how to “pass” the law enforcement entrance exam and so I feel compelled to share information that isn’t readily available to candidates or for those that will someday, find themselves taking the written exam.

25 years ago when I was testing for a position in law enforcement there weren’t too many resources for applicants to garner information about how to prepare for the exam. Sure, there were a few books but most of them were dated and for me and a number of the applicants that I knew personally, those study guides were a pretty tough read, unnecessarily complicated, very dry and not terribly helpful. Technology has certainly changed and thankfully advanced our abilities to garner information but at the same time, information overload is in my opinion, can be just as detrimental as the older, confusing stuff that I dealt with so many years ago.

Having been intimately involved in the hiring process for more than 20 years, I’ve seen the tricks of the trade if you will and there are now so many different testing styles it’s almost mind boggling. There remains one unchanged constant over the years, and it’s the proficiencies that we test you for. There’s great information on the internet and there’s bad and it truly depends upon where you look and whom you choose to trust.

I’d like to share a tidbit with you in the event that you’re truly interested in learning a little known hole-and-corner type of testing technique that’s becoming more and more common. It’s the impromptu essay assignment usually assigned to applicants at the completion of the written exam.

How Old is too Old to Become a Police Officer?

Having been in law enforcement for more than 25 years and as the creator of Earn Your Badge I’m often asked by would-be applicants, “how young is too young — and of course, how old is too old.”

Most agencies as I’m sure you know, begin hiring at the age of 21, but there are still many that will employ candidates at the age of 18. The more burdensome question for other applicants is, am I too old to move into the law enforcement workplace. Chances are, you’re not too young or too old.

I know many officers that began their careers in their mid to late 40s and a handful that were in their 50s…

The Six Slip-ups of the Police Exam

In my training of police candidates, I’m very calculated in how I train and what I say because I don’t want those that I assist to be lead astray. I speak plain English, I use analogies often because they paint a mental picture and I teach through verbal repetition and three examples of terms I use very often are, standing out, working to be above average and the word reasonable.

Standing out, positively of course, during the hiring process isn’t just a good idea or something to strive for, it’s essential. Entering the hiring process as an “above average” candidate is also essential and finally it’s important that you know, the career of law enforcement and the basis for and the foundation on which our decisions are build, is reasonableness. We base our profession on this premise. As you move forward in your bid for a career in this most noble profession, please keep these three elements in mind .

For now, I’d like to answer a question that I’ve been asked many, many times over the years and it’s this. Is there anything I should know ahead of time about my written exam? My answer is two part and it is, yes there are a few things you should know. I always told applicants to find a good study guide and learn as much as you can about the testing proficiencies before the written exam.

I never told anyone where to look because I didn’t know. What I found out later was, the preparation guides that I found were substandard and they weren’t video based. I took care of that problem with Earn Your Badge and I’m very pleased with the result of the first ever, video based exam guide available.

So, that’s problem one solved right, the how to prepare. But other than proper preparation what is there to a written other that just showing up right? Remember, it’s your goal to be different than the others, not freaky different, but stand out positive different.

So, here are the six-slip-ups that I see most often, at the written entrance exam for law enforcement officer…