POST Test Study Guide

The POST police exam is a basic test designed to assist law enforcement agencies in finding the most qualified candidates. This is done by subjecting candidates to a series of tests that determine their cognitive skills and if they are fit for the job. Before you can prepare for the exam, you need to know what areas the test covers, and this include writing incident reports, grammar, reading comprehension and arithmetic.

The POST Exam Subjects

Here is a closer look at the POST exam subjects and elements.

  • Reading Comprehension – this test will determine your ability to understand and remember what you have read and includes court documents, witness statements and police reports. You need to be at least a high school graduate at the 10th or 12th grade.
  • Vocabulary – Good vocabulary skills are essential since as a police officer you’ll be interacting with people from all walks of life. During the police test you will need to remember anywhere from 300 to 1000 law enforcement terms, and you must learn to use them properly.
  • Memory – the exam will test your ability to recall maps, sketches and photos and answer questions about them based from memory. This is one of the most important aspects of the test as good memory is required of all police officers.
  • Reasoning and Situational Judgment Skills – you’ll be presented with a set of conflicting situations and circumstances that will require you to use your reasoning and judgment.
  • Ability to Follow Directions – this refers to the applicant’s ability to identify locations, streets and go from one place to another using a compass and directions.
  • Writing – this part of the exam will test your ability to write concise sentences and paragraphs. This test will also check your grammar and spelling skills.
  • Mathematics – this test will assess your skills in basic addition, subtraction, division, geometry and multiplication.

Study Guide Resources

The easiest way to prepare for the test is to use a police exam study guide like With this guide you’ll learn step by step instructions for acing the exam. The passing rate in police tests is low, and the number of people who get appointed is even lower, so using this guide will help.

In addition you can check out the following resources:

  • Stanard– This link offers a good introduction to the POST test and what you can expect during the actual examination.
  • is an online site that offers free police practice tests. By simply going over these tests you’ll develop a feel for what the real exam is like.
  • Police Prep is another website that can provide you with several practice tests, resources and samples to help prepare for the real exam.

Tips for Passing the Written Exam

Using an online guide makes studying the exam easier, but for some reason there are people who still get nervous when there’s an exam and end up making mistakes. To avoid this you should read the instructions and follow them to the letter. Second, read each question before answering, and pay close attention to key words such as “except” and “not”.

One of the benefits of using a study guide is you will learn how to answer multiple choice questions, and one of the things you’ll learn is to read all the available choices even if you think you already know the answer.

If you’re not sure of the answer, you should skip it and go to the next question. This strategy is particularly effective if the policeofficer selection test is timed. Finally, you should never change your answer once you have proceeded to the next question.

Tips for the Interview

Before the exam, and maybe even after, you might be interviewed, and it’s important that you answer questions in a clear and articulate manner because it is part of the assessment process.  Keep these things in mind.

  • Be there early, about 10 to 15 minutes before the interview, since being late never creates a good impression.
  • Smile and offer a handshake before and after the interview.
  • During the interview, sit straight up and stay focused. Pay attention to the questions and don’t slouch or yawn.
  • Seek clarification from the interviewer if there’s something you don’t understand.
  • Think before you answer and make sure your thoughts are organized prior to answering each question.
  • Don’t forget to say “thank you” after the interview.

Prepare Early and Research

Aside from a study guide you should do some research and try to get an idea of what the test will be like. You can for instance, go online and get inputs from people who had taken the POST test before. Feel free to go to police test forums and ask questions about what to expect during the exam. In addition, you can go to your state agency and ask for advice and if they can suggest a good study guide.

But your training should not stop there as you also need to do a bit of self-assessment. For instance, which areas of the test are you weak at? Reading comprehension, math, grammar? Find out which areas you are susceptible and work on it before the test. If your weakness is in math, you should get a study guide and shore up your skills before taking the exam.

It’s also important that you eat right and avoid too much processed and sugar heavy foods if the test is just a day or two away. Too much junk food is hard to digest and you’ll have trouble sleeping, making you feel groggy on test day.

Finally, practice as much as you can before the national police officer selection test. Make sure that your answers are marked clearly and again, don’t change answers as indecision often leads to wrong conclusions. If you’re not sure, just eliminate the ones you sure are wrong and stick with the one that is left.