Police Officer Exam For Dummies
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After filling out an initial application, candidates vying for a position within a police department can expect to take several qualifying exams. The following table outlines the types of exams and what they entail.

Exam Type What to Expect
Written Exam An exam that may feature multiple-choice, true-and-false, and open-ended questions in a variety of subject areas
Law Enforcement Essay Exam An exam requiring candidates to write several paragraphs in response to a prompt
Personal History Statement A detailed response to questions about a candidate's past experiences, including education and work experience
Background Investigation An investigator uses the information a candidate supplies on the Personal History Statement to conduct a thorough background check
Physical Ability Test (PAT) An exam that assesses candidates' physical fitness — including strength, endurance, and flexibility — to ensure that they're physically capable to endure the rigors of a police training academy
Oral Interview An interview with a hiring panel that may include police department leaders, local government representatives, and local businesspeople
Medical Evaluation A complete physical performed by a certified physician to check candidates for a variety of medical conditions and ensure that they're healthy enough to train to become police officers
Psychological Evaluation A personality questionnaire and/or an interview with a psychologist or psychiatrist to ensure that candidates can mentally handle the stress of police work

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Tracey Vasil Biscontini is Founder and CEO of Northeast Editing, Inc., a full-service educational development firm specializing in test preparation.

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