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Free Police Officer Exam Sample Questions & Hiring Process Preparation – 2024

Aptitude Employment Tests Prep

If you are a courageous and dedicated person who cares about justice and your community, becoming a police officer may be an excellent fit for you. Competition for open positions is intense, and preparing for the hiring process can improve your chances of landing the job.


What Is the Police Hiring Process?

Not everyone is suited for the demanding and stressful nature of police work. Therefore, the application process includes several steps to determine your eligibility. The process varies between states and between individual police stations, but you can expect to experience most of the steps below.


There are several requirements to become a police officer in the United States. You should be a U.S. resident and citizen and have a valid driver’s license. Age requirements vary by state, but you generally need to be at least 18. Depending on your state and the specific police station, you may need a high school diploma or G.E.D., or a certain amount of college education.

You should have 20/20 vision, although it’s usually acceptable if you need glasses or contact lenses. The application process may include a test for colorblindness. If you are colorblind, the station will decide if your condition is too risky, depending on how severe it is.


Many stations require an application before you can move to the written exam, but some request that you take the written exam first. You will need to fill out information about yourself and your previous experience. Start by finding an opening that you wish to apply for. There are many online job boards specific to police work.

Written Exam

The next step in the process is often a written exam, which includes sections on reading comprehension, math, logical reasoning, spatial reasoning, and more. The exam is covered in more detail below.

Physical Ability Test

The Physical Ability Test, or PAT, is sometimes called the Physical Agility Test. It determines whether you are in good enough physical shape to meet the demands of police work. The PAT usually includes a 1.5-mile run, an obstacle course, and a strength assessment. For the strength assessment, you will perform push-ups, sit-ups, bench presses, and other strength exercises.

Background Review

This step of the recruitment process includes a background check into your credit, driving, and criminal history. Most police stations do not allow you to proceed if you have been convicted of a felony. The station will also review your employment history and may interview references as well as previous employers, family members, friends, and neighbors. Some stations work with a third-party investigator to review your background and ensure the information you provided in your application is accurate.

Oral Board/Interview

The oral board is similar to a panel interview, in which you sit before three or more police officers, usually of varying ranks, and answer their questions. The board aims to determine how you handle pressure, your communication abilities, and how well you will work with colleagues and the public. In addition to sitting before the board, you may interview individually with the police chief at the station where you are applying. This step may occur at the same time as the oral board interview, or later in the process.

Polygraph Test

A lie detector test is sometimes given toward the end of the process. Its purpose is to ensure that you have answered questions about yourself, your background, and your mental health honestly and accurately. The test is given by a person who is trained to work with the polygraph device and to monitor you as you answer questions.

The questions are about your background and other information you have provided. Some of them are about drug use, criminal behavior, any history of violence, and other factors that might impact whether you are a good fit for police work.

Psychological Evaluation

The psychological evaluation typically consists of two parts: a written personality test and an evaluation by a psychologist or psychiatrist. The goal of these tests is assessing whether you can handle the stress of the job and ensuring that you would treat people fairly as a police officer.

Medical Exam

The purpose of the medical exam is to ensure that you are healthy enough to perform the duties of a police officer. It typically includes tests of your vision, hearing, blood pressure, and other aspects of your health. There is often a drug test during this step, although it may be given separately.


What Is the Police Officer Exam?

There are different companies that offer entry-level police exams, so there is no one standardized test. You may be able to confirm ahead of time which test your police station will administer.

The written test is timed; you will typically have between one and three hours to complete it. There are between 100 and 200 questions. Scoring may be based either on the percentage of correct answers or pass/fail. Many police stations require a score of 70% to move to the next stage of the hiring process, though a higher score can help you stand out from other candidates.

Depending on the specific exam you take, you may encounter some or all of the following test sections. Note that the name of each component varies slightly depending on the testing company.

Mathematical Reasoning

This numerical reasoning section assesses your understanding of essential math functions. These include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, ratios, and fractions. There may be word problems based on real-life scenarios.

Deductive Reasoning

The deductive aptitude section requires you to read several statements or rules and draw a logical conclusion. Your answer will usually involve identifying if a separate statement is true, false, or if there is not enough information to answer. This test section measures your ability to think logically, as well as your attention to detail.

Inductive Reasoning

While deductive reasoning questions allow you to determine if a statement is true or false, inductive reasoning questions ask you to use the information provided to make an educated guess or to establish a likely outcome. Inductive reasoning skills are often related to your ability to notice patterns and similarities between seemingly unrelated pieces of information.

Reading Comprehension

This section involves reading texts and answering questions to demonstrate your understanding. The texts vary from a few sentences to several paragraphs.

Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary

There are a few different question formats for these topics. For spelling and grammar, you may need to select the correct sentence from four options. You may need to identify the right punctuation mark for an example sentence, or the correct spelling of a word to fill in a blank in the given sentence.

For the vocabulary section, you may be asked to choose the best word to fill in a blank in a sentence or to identify the synonym or antonym of a word. You may read a passage and then identify a word’s definition in the context of the passage.


You are asked to view an image or a short video and remember as much as you can about it. Then, you will answer questions about the image or video without referring back to it and without referring to any notes.

Spatial Orientation

Some questions in this section involve looking at an image or object and identifying it from different angles. Other questions may involve viewing a map and choosing the most direct route between two locations. On some tests, map-reading is a separate section.

Information Ordering

For this section, you will review several statements or other pieces of information and put them in a logical order. The statements often relate to police work, but questions may also be based on sequences of numbers, letters, or symbols.


For the essay, you will respond to prompts in writing. Your response should include an introduction, a body with points that support your overall thesis, and a conclusion. This section measures your writing abilities and your ability to make a persuasive point.

Problem Sensitivity

You are asked to identify a problem in a realistic scenario. For example, you may read sample witness statements from two different witnesses. The problem you identify is that the information given by one witness contradicts the other witness’s statement.


How to Prepare for the Police Officer Exam?

As you can see, there are a number of different skills covered in the police exam and a variety of sections. Preparing beforehand will help you feel confident and avoid becoming overwhelmed on test day. You’ll also know what to expect, and whether there are any areas of knowledge you need to work on if you give yourself the opportunity to prepare.

Online practice tests are one of the best ways to get ready for the exam. There are practice tests that correspond to each of the different sections you’ll encounter, so you can practice in a way that is realistic to the actual test. Practice assessments specific to police testing are helpful since you know the questions will be relevant, but you can also look for tests based on the sections listed above, such as mathematical reasoning and reading comprehension.

Remember, a good score on your exam can go a long way in helping you stand out from other candidates and land the job. Appropriate preparation will make a big difference in achieving a good score.

There are some sample questions below to help you get started. Good luck!


Free Sample Questions for Practice

  1. Which sentence is grammatically correct?
    1. Officer Johnson asked the woman to describe the break-in at their apartment.
    2. Officer Johnson asked the women to describe the break-in at their apartment.
    3. Officer Johnson asked the women to describe the break-in at they’re apartment.
    4. Officer Johnson asked the woman to describe the break-in at they’re apartment.
  2. 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
  3. Your unit responded to the following number of incidents during each weekday last week: 7 on Monday, 4 on Tuesday, 5 on Wednesday, 2 on Thursday, and 6 on Friday. What was the average number of incidents each day?
    1. 4.8
    2. 5
    3. 5.2
    4. 5.8
  4. You are asked to deliver pamphlets on drug abuse to four local high schools. There should be 1 pamphlet per 15 students. The schools have the following numbers of students: School A, 250 students. School B, 1000 students. School C, 725 students. School D, 425 students. How many pamphlets should you bring?
    1. 150
    2. 160
    3. 170
    4. 180
  5. Officer Winston’s squad car gets an average of 22 miles per gallon. The tank holds 19 gallons. If the tank is precisely one-half full, how many miles will Officer Winston be able to drive before the tank is empty?
    1. 209
    2. 214
    3. 274
    4. 306
  6. Choose the most correct statement based on the following passage:On Tuesday, November 4, I met with Thompson’s Floral shop owner Mr. Thompson regarding a vandalism incident. Two front windows had been broken, but there was no evidence of theft. The incident occurred overnight while the shop was closed.
    1. Money was stolen from Mr. Thompson’s shop but no goods were missing.
    2. Thompson is the primary suspect in the vandalism.
    3. Thompson was in the shop when the incident occurred.
    4. The damage consisted of two broken windows.
  7. Officers Smith and Vargas were called to a possible domestic dispute at a woman’s apartment. A neighbor reported that the woman had been arguing loudly with her teenaged daughter, and there were banging noises. When the officers arrived, the woman said that she had been fighting with her daughter because she had not completed her homework. Officer Vargas noticed that the daughter had a bruise on her cheek and asked about it. The daughter seemed nervous and did not answer for a moment, then said that she had fallen while riding her bike earlier that day.Based on the information provided, what is the possible problem in this scenario?
    1. It is not believable that the mother and daughter would fight over homework.
    2. The fact that the mother did not comment on the daughter’s injury.
    3. The fact that the daughter had the bruise and seemed nervous when asked about it.
    4. The fact that a neighbor reported the dispute, not either of the parties involved.
  8. 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
  9. Each of the following statements is true:
    • Singh was home between 5 pm and 10 pm on Monday night.
    • A break-in occurred at Mrs. Singh’s home at 8:37 pm on Monday.
    • Singh did not hear anything during the break-in.
    • Singh called police after realizing the front door was open and some items were missing.

    Based on the above statements, which of the following statements is also true?

    1. Singh was home during the break-in.
    2. Singh was not home during the break-in.
    3. Singh was involved in the theft.
    4. Singh did not call police until after 10 pm.
  10. What is the most logical order of the following steps when responding to a reported crime?
    1. Arrive at the scene of the crime.
    2. Fill out paperwork to record the case.
    3. Detain witnesses for questioning.
    4. Make arrests or issue citations as appropriate based on witnesses’ reports and other evidence from the crime scene.
    5. Question witnesses and collect evidence.
    1. 1, 5, 4, 3, 2
    2. 3, 1, 5, 2, 4
    3. 1, 4, 3, 5, 2
    4. 1, 3, 5, 4, 2


Answer Key

  1. B
  2. C
  3. A
  4. B
  5. A
  6. D
  7. C
  8. C
  9. A
  10. D


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