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The Police Officer Suitability Test for Police Officer Exam Study Guide

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Updated on Mar 16, 2011

By now you know that becoming a police officer takes study, effort, and time. You may also have realized for the first time that the process may involve years of your life. This does not mean you will be busy every day being a police applicant, but it does mean that the time you first apply to take a police exam until you are hired by a police department may span anywhere from a few months to a few years. If you have read this far, you probably are willing to put forth the effort required to do well on the exam and wait for this rewarding career.

It might still be a wise idea to get a better idea of whether you and a police career are a good fit. To do this, take the following Police Officer Suitability Test. This is another tool in your arsenal to help you decide whether you want to invest the effort and time it will take you to pursue a career in policing. While it might appear to be the career of your dreams, possibly the job is not really for you. Maybe something else would better fit your personality and your abilities. It is better to find this out sooner rather than later.

Remember that there is no such thing as a police personality—there is not only one type of person who makes a good police officer. Despite that, it is equally true that there are some people who are not the best fit with the job. Cops are not all alike; just like some are men and some are women, some are short and some are tall, their personalities can be as different as their demographics and their sizes.

Despite all the possible differences, there do seem to be some abilities and personalities that fit policing better than others and that seem to predict who will be successful and satisfied in this varied career. Remember that these personality traits are not related to your intelligence or dedication; they are more likely to indicate more about what you like to do and how you interact with the world around you.

These suitability factors were developed from the large body of research about police and from discussions with police psychologists and applicant screeners across the country. The factors fall into five groupings; each has ten questions spaced throughout the test.

The LearningExpress Police Officer Suitability Test is not a formal psychological test. For one thing, it is not nearly long enough. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) test used in most psychological assessments has 11 times more items than you will find in this test. For another, it does not focus on your general mental health.

You should view this test as an informal guide to help you decide whether being a police officer is a job you would enjoy and that would suit you. If it turns out you decide against pursuing a career in law enforcement, this test may provide you with the chance to understand yourself better and to lead you to a career that is more in keeping with your personality. Either way, you have gained self-knowledge.

The Police Officer Suitability Test

Directions

You will need about 20 minutes to answer the following 50 questions. It's a good idea to answer all of the questions in one sitting—scoring and interpretation can be done later. For each question, consider how often the attitude or behavior applies to you. You have a choice between Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, and Always; write the number for your answer in the space after each question. To score your answers, see the table below. How the numbers add up will be explained later. If you try to outsmart the test or figure out the "right" answers, you won't get an accurate picture at the end. So just be honest.

Don't read the scoring sections before you answer the questions, or you will defeat the whole purpose of the exercise!

How often do the following statements sound like you? Choose only one answer for each statement.

  1. I like to know what's expected of me. _____
  2. I am willing to admit my mistakes to other people. _____
  3. Once I've made a decision, I stop thinking about it. _____
  4. I can shrug off my fears about getting physically injured. _____
  5. I like to know what to expect. _____
  6. It takes a lot to get me really angry. _____
  7. My first impressions of people tend to be accurate. _____
  8. I am aware of my stress level. _____
  9. I like to tell other people what to do. _____
  10. I enjoy working with others. _____
  11. I trust my instincts. _____
  12. I enjoy being teased. _____
  13. I will spend as much time as it takes to settle a disagreement. _____
  14. I feel comfortable in new social situations. _____
  15. When I disagree with a person, I let that person know about it. _____
  16. I'm in a good mood. _____
  17. I'm comfortable making quick decisions when necessary. _____
  18. Rules must be obeyed, even if you don't agree with them. _____
  19. I like to say exactly what I mean. _____
  20. I enjoy being with people. _____
  21. I stay away from doing exciting things that I know are dangerous. _____
  22. I don't mind when a supervisor tells me what to do. _____
  23. I enjoy solving puzzles. _____
  24. The people I know consult me about their problems. _____
  25. I am comfortable making my own decisions. _____
  26. People know where I stand on things. _____
  27. When I get stressed, I know how to make myself relax. _____
  28. I have confidence in my own judgment. _____
  29. I make my friends laugh. _____
  30. When I make a promise, I keep it. _____
  31. When I'm in a group, I tend to be the leader. _____
  32. I can deal with sudden changes in my routine. _____
  33. When I get into a fight, I can stop myself from losing control. _____
  34. I am open to new facts that might change my mind. _____
  35. I understand why I do the things I do. _____
  36. I'm good at calming people down. _____
  37. I can tell how a person is feeling even when he or she doesn't say anything. _____
  38. I can take criticism without getting upset. _____
  39. People follow my advice. _____
  40. I pay attention to people's body language. _____
  41. It's important for me to make a good impression. _____
  42. I remember to show up on time.
  43. When I meet new people, I try to understand them. _____
  44. I avoid doing things on impulse. _____
  45. Being respected is important to me. _____
  46. People see me as a calm person. _____
  47. It's more important for me to do a good job than to get praised for it. _____
  48. I make my decisions based on common sense. _____
  49. I prefer to keep my feelings to myself when I'm with strangers. _____
  50. I take responsibility for my own actions rather than blaming others. _____
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