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National Police Officer Selection Test (NPOST) Online Preparation & Sample Questions – 2023

Aptitude Written Exams

The National Police Officer Selection Test, or NPOST, is one of the most common written assessments that police departments use during the hiring process. It was created by testing company Stanard & Associates, Inc. and is an entry-level test.

Agencies use the NPOST at the municipal, state, and federal levels. The Associations of Chiefs of Police in 25 of the 50 states use it. There are three states (Iowa, Utah, and Wyoming) that use the NPOST statewide for entry-level police agency hiring. This means there is a good chance that you will take the NPOST when applying for a job with a police agency. However, you should always confirm ahead of time the particular test you will need to take when applying for an opening.

The purpose of the NPOST is to determine if candidates have the necessary cognitive skills to succeed at policework. Test-takers do not need prior experience or knowledge of law enforcement to pass.


What Is the NPOST?

The NPOST is a timed, written exam made up of four parts, as described below. In the first three sections, the question formats are multiple-choice and true or false. The fourth section requires you to write out your responses. You should try to answer each question even if you need to guess, as there are no penalties for wrong answers. To pass, you must score 70% or higher on each test section.

The total time required to complete the exam is about 1.5 hours.


The mathematics section measures your ability to use basic arithmetic functions. These functions include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The questions are based on word problems and often relate to situations police officers experience on the job. You may not use a calculator, but you can use a pencil and scratch paper, provided in your test booklet, to perform calculations.

You have 20 minutes to answer 20 questions.

Reading Comprehension

For this verbal section, you will read texts and answer questions to demonstrate that you understand the information in the text. Each text or passage relates to policework-based scenarios, but you do not need any prior knowledge of law enforcement. You can find the required information to answer the questions in the passage. Some questions are based on a short article or group of paragraphs, while others might be based on an incident report or another form of paperwork.

There are three question formats in the reading comprehension section:

  • Indicate whether a statement is true or false
  • Choose the correct answer from multiple options
  • Select the best option to complete a sentence

You have 25 minutes to answer 25 questions in this section.


This test section assesses your understanding of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. There are two question formats:

  • Choose the best option to complete a sentence
  • Identify the sentence that contains a spelling error, or identify an incorrectly spelled word from four or five options

For this section, you have 15 minutes to answer 20 questions.

Incident Report Writing

This section measures both your writing skills and your attention to detail. The questions are based on a sample incident report. You must answer in complete, grammatically-correct sentences. Scoring is based on whether your answer contains the right information and whether it is written and spelled correctly.

Each question typically requires a one-sentence answer. For example, a question might ask, “what is the name of the suspect?” If the incident report lists the suspect as David Williams, the correct answer would be “The suspect’s name is David Williams.” Only writing “David Williams” is not sufficient since answers must be in the form of a complete sentence.

There are ten questions in this section, which you have 15 minutes to answer.


How to Prepare for the NPOST?

Preparing for the NPOST will ensure that you know what to expect and understand the question formats. The mathematics, arithmetic, and grammar sections are likely to be familiar based on other tests you’ve taken. The incident report section may be less familiar, since some candidates who don’t have prior experience with police work may not have seen an incident report before.

Practice tests will help you prepare for each section of the NPOST, including incident report writing. A good practice test will help you work on the specific skills the NPOST measures as well as your attention to detail and concentration.

Since the NPOST does not require specific knowledge of police work, you may already have most of the skills the test requires. However, proper preparation will help you feel calm and confident on test day and avoid unpleasant surprises. A passing score on the NPOST is critical if you want to move on to the next step of the hiring process and land a rewarding new job.


NPOST Sample Questions

  1. Which word in the following sentence is misspelled?In 2016, police arrested more than 1 million drivers for driving under the influince of alcohol or narcotics.
    1. million
    2. arrested
    3. influince
    4. narcotics
  2. A suspect has been arrested in a burglary case. The judge set the suspect’s bail at $500,000. If the bail bondsman requires a 10% deposit to issue a bail bond, what amount does the suspect need to pay for the bail bond?
    1. $50,000
    2. $5,000
    3. $500
    4. $50
  3. You are called to a crime scene and need to get there as quickly as possible. The crime scene is 10.5 miles away. You will be able to drive an average of 45 miles per hour. Approximately how long will it take you to get to the scene?
    1. 5 minutes
    2. 10 minutes
    3. 5 minutes
    4. 14 minutes
  4. Your unit has arrested a drug dealer who was in possession of $675,00 worth of heroin at the time of the arrest. If the value of heroin is $150,000 per kilogram, how many kilograms of heroin did the dealer have?
    1. 5
    2. 5
    3. 5
    4. 6
  5. Which word is the best fit for the blank space in this sentence?Mrs. Garcia was ______ after witnessing the armed robbery.
    1. Dapper
    2. Dismal
    3. Disturbed
    4. Dark
  6. Each of the following statements is true:
    • Jackson left Ray’s Pub at 10:34 on Friday night.
    • 74% of people who left Ray’s Pub after 9 pm on Friday were intoxicated.
    • Jackson drove himself home.

    Based on the above statements, is the following true or false: Mr. Jackson was intoxicated when he drove home on Friday night.

    1. True
    2. False
    3. Not enough information to answer

Answer Key

  1. C
  2. A
  3. D
  4. A
  5. C
  6. C