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Police & Law Enforcement Situational Judgment Test (SJT) Online Preparation – 2024

Solving Aptitude Tests

An essential part of being a police officer is the ability to make good decisions in stressful situations. To measure this ability, many police agencies use a situational judgment test (SJT) as part of their hiring process. The purpose of an SJT is to measure candidates’ judgment in response to various realistic scenarios.

There is not one specific SJT that all police departments use, but you may be able to confirm in advance which exam you will take. Police agency tests that involve a situational judgment component include the following:

If your exam includes a section called Human Relations, this is often the same as or similar to an SJT.


What Is the Police Situational Judgment Test?

The test format usually requires you to read a short paragraph describing a scenario. The questions describe four or five different responses to the scenario. You then rank the responses according to how effectively they would resolve the situation. Depending on the test, you will complete each question in one of three ways:

  1. Select the most appropriate response
  2. Select the most and least appropriate responses
  3. Rank the responses from most to least appropriate

Some tests, such as the Ergometrics FrontLine Exam, require you to watch short videos about different situations rather than reading texts.

The number of questions and allotted timeframe vary, but most SJTs are timed. In many cases, you only have a short time to answer each question, such as ten seconds. This is to help you answer honestly and rely on your instincts, rather than trying to guess what the police department would consider the correct answer.


How to Prepare for the Law Enforcement SJT?

A situational judgment test can seem tricky to prepare for since it tests your own judgment and decision-making skills. However, there are ways to prepare that increase your chances of passing a police SJT.

While you should not need prior experience with law enforcement to pass, it may help to study the characteristics police departments usually look for in a candidate. These include the following:

  • Common sense, including the ability to apply logic, rationality, and prior experience to a situation
  • An understanding of the police priorities such as protecting others, upholding the law, and maintaining order
  • An understanding of the relative importance, or hierarchy, of police duties. For example, protecting life is more important than protecting property, but both tasks are a significant part of police work

Also, keep in mind that police officers must treat people fairly regardless of their culture, religion, age, gender, race, and other characteristics.

You might feel nervous about the SJT, especially if you have not taken this type of assessment before. An excellent way to increase your confidence is with online practice tests. There are practice SJTs aimed at potential police officers, but even practice tests that are not specific to police work may be helpful. Understanding the format of the questions and what to expect can go a long way. Look for a timed practice test so you can work on answering quickly and avoid deliberating too much on each question.

In general, you should try to give a range of answers. If you always select “strongly agree” or “strongly disagree,” it can give the impression that you are stubborn or likely to engage in risky behavior. If you do feel strongly about the statement, however, feel free to say so. Honesty is vital for this type of test.

It is often the case that two or more of the possible responses seem acceptable. This is a purposeful strategy since real-life scenarios are not always black and white. Remember, your task is to identify the most appropriate response, not the only appropriate response. The same is true if you need to identify the least appropriate choice. There may be more than one option that is clearly not right. Carefully consider the potential outcomes of each option as you decide how to rank them.

Attaining a high score on your SJT can help you stand out from other job candidates. Confidence and proper preparation will make you much more likely to succeed and move on to the next step of the hiring process.