Elements of the Written Police Officer Exam

By Raymond Foster, Tracey Biscontini

Part of Police Officer Exam For Dummies Cheat Sheet

The written police officer exam is usually the first step in the hiring process, after a candidate fills out an application. This exam tests candidates in a variety of subject areas. Though the written exam may vary depending on the police department, two common exams are the National Police Officer Selection Test (POST) and the New York City (NYC) Police Department Police Officer Candidate Test. The following table outlines the most common subject areas and the types of questions related to each subject area.

Element Content
Reading Comprehension Passages and question sets that test your ability to understand
and interpret what you read
Grammar and Spelling Questions that test your grammar and spelling skills and your
ability to choose a sentence that’s clear, accurate, and
complete
Observation and Memory Photographs that you have to study for a set amount of time and
then answer questions about from memory; information-ordering
questions, questions requiring you to visualize direction and
placement, and questions about maps
Incident Reports Multiple-choice and open-ended questions about incident
reports
Mathematics Basic mathematics, including solving problems using addition,
subtraction, multiplication, and division, and determining
percentages and averages
Essays Writing an essay in response to a written prompt
Personal History Statement Answering questions about your education and work
experiences