Police Officer Test Police Officer Test

Many people dream of becoming a police officer. The excitement of danger and the reward of saving lives is an appealing image for most applicants. A desire to protect and serve is a necessary quality to possess as a police officer, but it is not the only determining factor considered during the hiring process. The fact is, the police officer test is one of the most difficult entrance exams for any profession. It requires serious preparation to fare well, yet many applicants fail to succeed.

Only one in three people will pass the police officer test, leaving the other two to sit and wonder where they went wrong. The answer is simple. Those who prepare for the test do well, those who decide to wing it, don't. Another factor to keep in mind is that people who pass the police officer test are placed on a list. This list is one of the determining factors of whether you will be hired as a police officer. The better your score, the more likely you are to live out your dream of becoming a civil servant.

Why Police Exams are Getting Harder to Pass: the Logical Reasons!  

Police exams are becoming increasingly more difficult to pass because law enforcement agencies are looking for the most capable officers from the candidates that apply. The test they are now using is the Police Analytical Thinking Inventory (PATI), which is very similar to the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) used to select the best law school candidates.  

The questions used in each examination focus on logic and analytical reasoning, and PATI searches for those with competence in logical thinking and the ability to reason a problem through, rather than candidates that take a knee-jerk reaction to difficult situations. What police departments are looking for are police officers that are able to use their initiative without having to continually seek help with the situations they come across, and the ability to progress quickly through the ranks to a position of authority and responsibility.  

There are too many trainee law enforcement officers that can handle the simple situations, but when asked to think a problem through logically are unable to do so; they frequently make the wrong decisions, creating situations that others have to sort out later.   

There are many instances where these key skills are necessary in a police officer during the course of their duties. Domestic violence cases, for example, can present a particularly difficult situation for a law enforcement officer to handle. When faced with a wife displaying facial injuries and a husband with a deep cut to his head, three screaming children and the child protective service unavailable for some hours, what do you do?  

Who is guilty of the assault and who had reacted in self-defense.  What happens to the children? Should anybody be arrested, and if so, then whom? This kind of situation is not unusual, and requires logical and analytical thinking to come to the correct decision. Your response will determine how well you will handle yourself in such day to day situations as a police officer.  

New Police Exam Formats are trying to Weed out Candidates that Can’t Make Decisions 

Decisions are not always easy to make, but good police officers are able to make them. A law enforcement officer should be able to make the right call without having to continually seek the advice of their supervisor. Some officers can pass normal question and answer exams, and anybody can pass a multiple choice test, but when faced with an ordinary problem that requires rational thorough processes to resolve, many fold and are unable to handle them properly.  

The police force does not need people that can answer simple exam questions, but law enforcement officers that can think through a problem and come up with the correct solution every time. Police officers on the job rarely come across situations requiring academic knowledge, but every day face problems that have to be solved in practical ways. It is the problem solvers and those that can put their knowledge to practical use that the police force wants: officers that can react quickly to a situation and find the right solution.  

That is why PATI questions are included in the tests and examinations of so many police departments. These “Brain Buster” tests are designed to make you think, analyze, apply logic, and come up with a reasoned solution to problems that police officers come across every day. So how do you learn to become a problem solver like that? Is it possible to learn, or is it a skill that some people are born with? 

What you are able to be taught, and to learn, are certain rules that you can apply to problems. If you enjoy problem solving such as puzzles and riddles, than you should find this fairly easy. There are strategies that can be learned, and applied to specific situations. Apply the rules, and the solutions should follow on logically.  

If You are a Problem Solver you’ll Do Well on the Entrance Exam and be an Effective Police Officer 

When you are getting ready for the Police Officer Entrance Exam, you should be preparing mentally for these kinds of problems. Be aware that they might be asked, so that they don’t come as surprise and panic you. There are more than just intelligence and memory of facts involved here, but a knowledge of the rules and the right strategies to use. Not all exams will include PATI type questions, but you should be prepared in case they do, because that would give you a head start over the other candidates.  

If you improve your reasoning and logical thinking abilities while applying rules and strategies to logic questions, you will find police exams easier to pass, and so improve your career prospects within the police force.   


The Police Analytical Thinking Inventory (PATI) test is being increasingly used by police departments to seek out those police officers that show initiative in logical and analytical thinking. There are strategies that can be learned to enable you to handle such tests and situations, and so improve your performance both in exams and as a working police officer.   

Suggested resource: 

To be better prepared than most for your police exam, check out the Police Exam Digital Manual found at http://www.policepath.com which offers you strategies on how to handle PATI questions, and make it more likely that you are in top 10% of those that pass.

IMPORTANT TEST TIP: When answering police situation questions, do the most important things first! It's IMPORTANT TO PRIORITIZE your response to the situation. It's also important to familiarize yourself with the role of a police officer in the particular police department you hope to join. Each department has a definite set of priorities that govern a cop's decision-making process.

Some of the most difficult questions you have to answer are situational, and understanding the logic behind each question will help you find the answer quickly. Many study materials designed for the police officer test fail to include scenario questions similar to those on the actual police officer test. Instead, they focus on math and verbal skills, forgetting to include the dynamic complexities associated with being a police officer.

If you want the most comprehensive police officer test study guide that money can buy, you will find it at Police Path. The creator of these materials spent decades in the force and is a true subject matter expert. To learn from the professionals visit policepath.com

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