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Police Personality Test Online Preparation – 2021

Aptitude Written Exams

A job as a police officer can be satisfying and rewarding, and give you a chance to make a difference in your community. It also involves a high amount of stress, long hours, and making difficult decisions. Part of the hiring process is an evaluation to determine if your personality is a good fit for the demands of the job.

There are usually three aspects to the personality evaluation. The first is a questionnaire about your experience, beliefs, strengths and weaknesses, and background information. Next, you will take a written personality test, which is described in more detail below. The third part is a psychological examination in-person with a trained professional, usually a psychiatrist or psychologist.

During the in-person evaluation, you will likely be asked to give more information about your answers to the questionnaire. The psychiatrist or psychologist will also ask questions that determine various personality traits. Don’t be surprised to hear questions that seem very personal or even intrusive. Remember that the goal is to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for police work, not to judge or critique you as a person.

Several candidates are often evaluated at the same time, so when you arrive for your screening, you can expect to meet other people who are going through the same process. Your psychological evaluation will be private with just you and the examiner in the room.

The results of the evaluation determine which of three categories an applicant fits into: low risk or acceptable, medium risk or marginal, and high risk or unacceptable. An acceptable applicant is likely to move on to the next steps of the recruitment process. A marginal applicant may or may not proceed, depending on other factors in their application and the specific police department’s procedures. A candidate who is determined to be unacceptable will usually not continue on.

The personality evaluation usually occurs near the end of the recruitment process, but the specific order of the steps depends on the department.

 

What Is the Police Personality Test?

There are a variety of testing companies that offer personality tests. The police department you are applying with should let you know ahead of time the specific test you will take. There are similarities between most of the exams.

You may take your test on a computer or using a pencil and paper, but the format is the same either way. Questions are multiple-choice with the answers on a scale of five options:

  • Strongly disagree
  • Somewhat disagree
  • Neutral/no opinion
  • Somewhat agree
  • Strongly agree

There are often at least 100 questions, and some tests have up to 500. You will have a relatively short time to complete the assessment, such as 15 minutes for 100 questions. The quick test time is a purposeful way to ensure you are honest and don’t deliberate too much over your answers.

Some of the questions might seem repetitive or like the same question re-worded multiple times. This strategy is also a way to ensure honesty as the test scorer will be able to see if your answers are consistent.

The personality test typically measures five main traits or factors, which are often called the Big Five. These traits are indicators of success in a public safety job, such as police work.

  1. Extroversion: describes a tendency to be high-energy, positive, assertive, talkative, and social. Extroverts gain energy from being with others.
  2. Agreeableness: agreeable people are cooperative and compassionate toward others. They work well in a team and like to be helpful.
  3. Emotional stability: not experiencing an overwhelming reaction to emotions such as anger or frustration. Likely to be self-confident and needless outside validation than others.
  4. Conscientiousness: applies to people who are responsible, dependable, and organized. Relates to being self-disciplined. Conscientious people also care about justice and doing the right thing.
  5. Openness to experience: a sense of curiosity about new experiences. People who are open to experience appreciate adventure and are likely to be creative and independent.

Some exams focus on additional traits, including some or all of the following:

  • Teamwork
  • Self-confidence
  • Attention to detail
  • Stress tolerance
  • Independence
  • Emotional resilience
  • Self-awareness

All of these traits or skills, in addition to the Big Five, are qualities that successful police officers possess to some degree.

 

How to Prepare for the Police Personality Test?

First, remember that the purpose of the test is not to determine whether you’re a good person or how rational or stable you are. Instead, the purpose is to determine if your personality is a good fit for the specific demands of police work.

Current police officers who have passed their personality test report that you should avoid giving too many extreme answers, i.e., “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree.” These answers can imply that you are stubborn, submissive, or too much of a risk-taker. However, this doesn’t mean that you should never choose those options. Be honest about how you feel.

While you should answer honestly, that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare for the personality test. Understanding the format of the questions and knowing what to expect will help you avoid test-day anxiety.

Practice personality tests are an excellent way to prepare. Taking online practice tests will give you a chance to think about how you want to answer different kinds of questions about yourself. Many practice exams feature questions that are very similar to those you’ll see on the actual exam. These practice tests also help you prepare for the practical aspects of taking the test, such as time management and paying attention to details.

On any practice tests and the real test, make sure to read the questions and answers carefully. Don’t assume that “strongly disagree” will be first and “strongly agree” last, or vice versa, as the response order can vary.

Success as a police officer requires a unique kind of person. Passing the personality test will help show a hiring police department that you are that kind of person. Careful preparation will make you more likely to pass, and you’ll be one step further on your way to an exciting new job.