Verbal, Written Expression, and Comprehension Study Guide for McGraw-Hill's Police Officer Exam (page 3)
Verbal or Written Expression
This ability area encompasses several different question formats. Each question format is geared toward assessing your ability to use language and includes knowledge of vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure.
Some law enforcement exams provide a list of vocabulary terms with the pretest materials. You must familiarize themselves with the terms and the definitions provided, and you should be able to use the terms correctly in a sentence. You are not allowed to take the vocabulary list—or other pretest materials—into the exam. You must rely on your ability to recall information about the terms provided.
You should be careful to learn the definition provided and not rely on your own understanding of the term. Often these vocabulary words are terms of art, meaning that they are defined by the profession that uses them.
Code: A body of law covering one general subject that is established by the legislative authority of a governmental body, such as a state or local government.
Officer James consults the codebook. He is most likely looking for:
(A) A signal flag pattern
(B) Codes currently utilized by spies
(C) The definition of a crime
(D) A Morse code pattern
The correct answer is C. It is the answer that most closely meets the definition provided.
Grammar and sentence structure questions attempt to assess your ability to convey ideas using written language. Some agencies provide a list of rules of grammar with their pretest materials and then require you to correctly apply those rules on the exam. Other agencies do not provide any particular list of rules, but ask questions that require a general mastery of basic rules of grammar and sentence structure.
Which of the following is correct?
(A) Officer Jones took they're shoes away.
(B) Officer Jones took there shoes away.
(C) Officer Jones took their shoes away.
(D) Officer Jones took theirs shoe away.
The correct answer is C. It is the sentence that uses the correct form of their.
A third type of format used for verbal expression questions asks you to put a list of sentences in the order that makes the most sense.
1. Mrs. Peterson took her cat home.
2. The cat had been in the tree for days.
3. Mrs. Peterson thanked the fire department.
4. The fire department was called.
5. The fire department rescued the cat.
Which of the following is the most logical order for the above sentences to appear?
(A) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
(B) 2, 4, 5, 3, 1
(C) 2, 4, 1, 5, 3
(D) 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
The correct answer is B. You may not see the sentences placed in the order you would like to see them placed, but you must choose the best arrangement presented. However, you should look for sentences that must be in a certain order and then rule out any answers that do not follow that order. For example, the fire department must be called before they can rescue the cat. Therefore, D is clearly wrong because sentence 4 must come before sentence 5.
Ability to Provide Information Clearly and Concisely
Another type of question that analyzes your ability to express yourself is one that requires you to determine the best method of conveying information. Typically you are given some information and then asked to select a sentence that best conveys that information. Answering this type of question requires the ability to recognize conclusions, opinions, biases, or judgments that have been attached to the original information.
As Officer Parker arrived at the scene of an accident involving a bicycle, he saw a white sedan leaving the scene.
Which of the following statements best conveys Officer Parker's information?
(A) A white sedan hit a bike.
(B) A white sedan hit a bike and then left the scene of the accident.
(C) A bicycle hit a white sedan.
(D) A white sedan left the scene of an accident involving a bicycle.
The correct answer is D. All of the other answers draw conclusions that have not yet been proven.
Investigative Report Writing
A few exams require you to write reports and complete forms. Generally, information about the reports is provided in the pretest packet. You must memorize the instructions for filling out the form or forms prior to taking the test. Then, on the day of the exam, you are given a short scenario and then asked to fill out the appropriate report form based on the instructions that you learned earlier. Example
The police officer is asked to complete a form concerning the following incident: On July 11, 2006, at approximately 9:00 P.M. Patty Smith walked into the Super-Mart, located at 502 E. 69th Street N.
What information should be placed in box 2?
(A) 9:00 P.M.
(B) 900 hours
(C) 2100 hours
(D) 9 A.M. appx.
The correct answer is C because the directions state that all time should be noted in military time.
Verbal, Reading, or Written Comprehension
Questions in this ability area are designed to assess how well you understand language. There are two question formats that are designed to test this ability: applying learned information and understanding information. Both begin by requiring you to read a long passage of information, typically one-half page to a page and one-half. The information relates to law enforcement.
Applying Learned Information
In this testing format, after you finish reading the passage provided, you are asked a few questions requiring you to apply the information to a specific scenario. For example, you will read a passage about departmental arrest procedures and then read a short scenario about an arrest. Then you will be asked to evaluate the arrest described in the scenario using the information learned from the preceding reading passage.
The best approach to these questions is to read the questions first and then go back and read the passage. That way you will be looking for the information you need as you read. Then, review the first question and seek the correct answer in the passage. There will be a huge amount of information, but most of it will not be necessary to answer the question.
In this testing format, you will read a long passage filled with details. The questions will require you to recall those details and then recognize that same information when it is presented using slightly different words. For example, after you read a passage about a robbery, the questions may require you to recognize what level of disorder is described in the passage, for example, if the robbers searched for something specific, took everything of value, or took a single item and left.
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