Reading Comprehension for Police Officer Exam Study Guide (page 6)

Updated on Mar 16, 2011


  1. a. The manager of the establishment, particularly since he is the brother of the owner, would have been the most likely to be concerned about the victim being injured on the premises. While choices b and c are logical, they are not as good an inference as choice a. Choice d is incorrect; there is no indication that Tom Thomas was on the premises at the time of the incident.
  2. d. The officers do not have sufficient information to draw a conclusion. Based only on the statements of the manager and the male patron, it might appear that choice a was correct, but if the female patron recognized the men as regulars, they might not have chosen to commit a robbery where they were known, even though it stretches the imagination that the laundry they grabbed was their own (choice b). Based on the information, choice c is also unlikely, but not impossible if the officers assume the men were better at masking their intentions than they probably were. Based on what the officers know, it is impossible to answer the question.
  3. d. Manny and Jack were not removed from the laundry; according to the witnesses, they left on their own.
  4. b. Choice b is the only one that does not contain inaccuracies; choice a provides an incorrect name of the laundry; choice c is contrary to Jones speaking with the paramedics and the police officers; choice d may or may not be accurate based on different accounts of the witnesses.
  5. d. There are not facts to support any of the other choices; police officers must take care when reporting on incidents to which they responded to provide only the facts they know to be true.

If English Isn't Your First Language

When nonnative speakers of English have trouble with reading comprehension tests, it's often because they lack the cultural, linguistic, and historical frame of reference that native speakers enjoy. People who have not lived in or been educated in the United States often don't have the background information that comes from reading American newspapers, magazines, and textbooks.

A second problem for nonnative English speakers is the difficulty in recognizing vocabulary and idioms (expressions like chewing the fat) that assist comprehension. In order to read with good understanding, it's important to have an immediate grasp of as many words as possible in the text. Test takers need to be able to recognize vocabulary and idioms immediately so that the ideas those words express are clear.

The Long View

Read newspapers, magazines, and other periodicals that deal with current events and matters of local, state, and national importance. Pay special attention to articles that are related to law enforcement.

Be alert to new or unfamiliar vocabulary or terms that occur frequently in the popular press. Use a highlighter pen to mark new or unfamiliar words as you read. Keep a list of those words and their definitions. Review them for 15 minutes each day. Though at first you may find yourself looking up a lot of words, don't be frustrated—you will look up fewer and fewer words as your vocabulary expands.

During the Test

When you are taking your written exam, make a picture in your mind of the situation being described in the passage. Ask yourself, "What did the writer mostly want me to think about this subject?"

Locate and underline the topic sentence that carries the main idea of the passage. Remember that the topic sentence—if there is one—may not always be the first sentence. If there doesn't seem to be one, try to determine what idea summarizes the whole passage.

As you probably noticed, the last sample reading passage was different from the first four. The intention was to show you that your ability to read, understand, and draw inferences from passages is applicable to many different types of reading exercises. Depending on the test you take, you might be asked questions about a number of different types of passages. Your plan of action, though, should always be the same. Read the passage carefully and take a moment to think about it before going on to the questions. Then read the questions carefully, looking for key words or phrases. Try to answer the questions in the order they are presented, but if one question confuses you and you cannot find the answer by glancing back at the passage, go on to the next one. Sometimes questions are interrelated, and the one that seemed confusing may become clear as you read through the additional questions.

If you approached the practice passages under conditions similar to the actual written test, you might want to give yourself a short break before going on to the judgment section of this chapter. While it is true that during the actual test you are unlikely to get any break between test parts, since you are still in practice mode it would be good to stretch your legs and think about why you did well—or did not do well—on the reading passages.

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