Vocabulary Review for Police Officer Exam Study Guide (page 2)

Updated on Mar 16, 2011


Context refers to the text surrounding a word from which you develop its meaning. You may be unaware that you use context whenever you come across a word you are unfamiliar with when you try to figure out its meaning through the rest of the words in the sentence or phrase. Context questions are similar to synonyms and antonyms but may seem easier because they give you a full sentence to help you figure out which of the choices is the best. You are able to put the words into the context of the sentence. However, the sentence may be phrased in such a way that more than one of the choices initially appears correct. You must still read carefully even if you rely on the process of elimination more than you are able to with other questions.

Context Sample Questions

For questions 7-12, select the word that means the same or almost the same as the underlined word.

  1. The members of the jury were appalled by the wild and uncontrolled behavior of the witness
    1. horrified
    2. amused
    3. surprised
    4. dismayed
  2. Despite the fact that he appeared to have financial resources, the defendant claimed to be destitute.
    1. wealthy
    2. ambitious
    3. solvent
    4. impoverished
  3. Though she was distraught over the disappearance of her child, the woman was calm enough to give Officer Chu her daughter's description.
    1. punished
    2. distracted
    3. composed
    4. anguished
  4. The unrepentant criminal expressed no remorse for his actions.
    1. sympathy
    2. regret
    3. reward
    4. complacency
  5. Professor Washington was a very ________ woman known for her reputation as a scholar.
    1. stubborn
    2. erudite
    3. illiterate
    4. disciplined
  6. His ________________ was demonstrated by his willingness to donate large amounts of money to worthy causes.
    1. honesty
    2. loyalty
    3. selfishness
    4. altruism


  1. a. Choice a is more appropriate than choice d because it indicates a stronger emotion that more closely matches appalled. Choices b and c do have the same meaning.
  2. d. The phrase Despite the fact alerts you to look for the opposite of financial resources.
  3. d. The words though and disappearance of her child alert you to look for the opposite of calm.
  4. b. Remorse means regret for one's actions. If you know that repentant comes from the root repent, someone who is unrepentant would be someone not repenting, or not regretting or being sorry about.
  5. b. The key words are professor and scholar. Even if you are unfamiliar with the word erudite, the other choices, with the possible exception of d, disciplined, do not fit the description of a scholar. Note that the format of this and the next question are slightly different from the first four; here, rather than have an underlined word to start from, you are expected to fill in a blank directly from the context of the sentence. Do not fall into a trap of trying to select the word based on the size of the space; in other words, a short space does not mean you should select the shortest word in the list of choices, nor does a long space mean you should select the longest word.
  6. d. The phrase large amounts of money to worthy causes is the key to the definition you are looking for. Even if you are unfamiliar with the word altruism, the other choices do not describe generosity, a word you may be more familiar than altruism.


Don't be fooled by words that sound alike but have entirely different meanings. The best way to identify these easily confused words is by studying them and quizzing yourself until you have the meanings and spellings memorized. A list of homophones that are often found on written exams follows this section. Review the list carefully and consult your dictionary to determine the meanings of any words that you are unsure of.

Homophone Sample Questions

Questions 13–18 each provide two choices of words that are homophones. Select the word that makes sense in each sentence.

  1. Officer Markus slammed on his ________ to avoid hitting a car that had stalled in the intersection.
    1. break
    2. brake
  2. Our sergeant asked us to ________ him before responding to the parade.
    1. meet
    2. meat
  3. The mayor told the police commission to ________ six new police officers; I hope I will be one of them.
    1. hire
    2. higher
  4. We learned in the police academy to keep unauthorized persons away from a crime ________.
    1. seen
    2. scene
  5. Lieutenant Bashari did not know ________ he was on the promotion list.
    1. weather
    2. whether
  6. I was thrilled to learn I had ________ the defensive driving course.
    1. passed
    2. past


      ad, add
      affect, effect
      allowed, aloud
      bare, bear
      bored, board
      boulder, bolder
      brake, break
      bred, bread
      build, billed
      cent, scent
      cereal, serial
      cite, sight, site
      counsel, council
      course, coarse
      days, daze
      died, dyed
      due, do, dew
      facts, fax
      fair, fare
      feat, feet
      find, fined
      flour, flower
      for, fore, four
      great, grate
      groan, grown
      guessed, guest
      heal, he'll
      hear, here
      heard, herd
      higher, hire
      hoarse, horse
      hole, whole
      hours, ours
      incite, insight
      knew, new
      know, no
      lead, led
      leased, least
      lesson, lessen
      made, maid
      marshal, martial
      meat, meet
      morning, mourning
      one, won
      pact, packed
      pail, pale
      passed, past
      patience, patients
      pause, paws
      peace, piece
      plain, plane
      poor, pour
      rain, reign
      raise, rays
      rap, wrap
      right, write
      road, rode
      roll, role
      sale, sail
      scene, seen
      see, sea
      soar, sore
      stair, stare
      steel, steal
      sun, son
      sweet, suite
      tents, tense
      their, there, they're
      threw, through
      throne, thrown
      tide, tied
      to, too, two
      trooper, trouper
      vary, very
      wade, weighed
      ware, wear, where
      weight, wait
      weather, whether
      wood, would
      your, you're
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