The Police Officer Suitability Test for Police Officer Exam Study Guide (page 2)

Updated on Mar 16, 2011


Attitudes and behaviors can't be measured in units, like distance or weight. Besides, psychological categories tend to overlap. As a result, the numbers and dividing lines between score ranges are approximate, and numbers may vary about 20 points either way. If your score doesn't fall in the optimal range, it doesn't mean a failure—only that an area needs more focus.

It may help to share your test results with some of the people who are close to you. Very often, there are differences between how we see ourselves and how we actually come across to others.

Group 1—Risk Questions

Add up scores for questions 4, 6, 12, 15, 21, 27, 33, 38, 44, and 46.

TOTAL = _____

This group of questions evaluates your tendency to be assertive and take risks. The ideal is in the middle, somewhere between timid and reckless: You should be willing to take risks, but not seek them out just for excitement. Being nervous, impulsive, or afraid of physical injury is an undesirable trait for a police officer. This group also reflects how well you take teasing and criticism, both of which you may encounter every day as a police officer. And as you can imagine, it's also important for someone who carries a gun not to have a short fuse.

  • A score between 360 and 400 is rather extreme, suggesting a short temper that could be dangerous in the field.
  • If you score between 170 and 360, you are on the right track.
  • If you score between 80 and 170, you may want to think about how comfortable you are with the idea of confrontation.
  • A score between 0 and 80 indicates that the more dangerous and stressful aspects of the job might be difficult for you.

Group 2—Core Character Traits

Add up scores for questions 2, 8, 16, 19, 26, 30, 35, 42, 47, and 50.

TOTAL = _____

This group reflects such basic traits as stability, reliability, and self-awareness. Can your fellow officers count on you to back them up and do your part? Are you secure enough to do your job without needing praise? In the words of one police psychologist, "If you're hungry for praise, you will starve to death." The public will not always appreciate your efforts, and your supervisors and colleagues may be too busy or preoccupied to pat you on the back.

It is crucial to be able to admit your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions, to be confident without being arrogant or conceited, and to be straightforward and direct in your communication. In a job where lives are at stake, the facts must be clear. Having control of your moods is also very important. While we all have good and bad days, someone who is depressed much of the time is not encouraged to pursue police work; depression affects one's judgment, energy level, and the ability to respond and communicate.

  • If you score between 180 and 360, you are in the ballpark. A score of over 360 may indicate that your answers were unrealistic.
  • A score of 100–180 indicates that you should look at the questions again and evaluate your style of social interaction.
  • Scores between 0 and 100 suggest you may not be ready for this job yet.

Group 3—Judgment Questions

Add up scores for questions 3, 7, 11, 17, 23, 28, 37, 40, 43, and 48.

TOTAL = _____

This group of questions evaluates how you make decisions. Successful police officers are sensitive to unspoken messages, can detect and respond to other people's feelings, and are able to make fair and accurate assessments of a situation, rather than being influenced by their own personal biases and needs. Once the decision to act is made, second-guessing can be dangerous. Police officers must make their best judgments in line with accepted practices, and then act upon these judgments without hesitancy or self-doubt. Finally, it's important to know and accept that you cannot change the world single-handedly. People who seek this career because they want to make a dramatic individual difference in human suffering are likely to be frustrated and disappointed.

  • A score over 360 indicates you may be trying too hard.
  • If you scored between 170 and 360, your style of making decisions, especially about people, fits with the desired police officer profile.
  • Scores between 80 and 170 suggest that you think about how you make judgments and how much confidence you have in them.
  • If you scored between 80 and 170, making judgments may be a problem area for you.
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