Fact Checked

How Difficult is a Police Officer Exam?

Amy Hunter
Amy Hunter

The difficulty of the police officer exam depends on where you are taking it. Each state has its own state police examinations, and there are county and regional examinations as well. One thing that you can count on is that the police officer exam will be demanding.

It is important that police officers are well trained for their future duties. The training is very stringent. A demanding examination weeds out candidates that the examining officers don’t believe are up to par. This tough but fair testing process favors the prepared.

Practice tests are a good way to prepare for police officer exams.
Practice tests are a good way to prepare for police officer exams.

The police officer exam typically covers both physical strength and qualifications and mental acuity. You will often be required to take a written examination as well as perform a physical test. To pass the police examination, you must pass both parts of the test.

To prepare for the police officer examination, take the time to contact the testing agency and ask if they can tell you the material that will be covered on the test. Often they have study material that you can use to prepare for the written examination. For the physical examination, most testing agencies will tell you what the test involves so that you can prepare on your own.

Some testing agencies offer test preparation classes. If one is available, participating can greatly increase your chances of success. If there is no test prep class available, and the testing agency doesn’t have study materials available, there are several things that you can do to prepare.

Visit your local library. They often have older versions of various civil service tests. Taking practice tests with these materials can help familiarize you with the subject matter and testing style you will be exposed to. In addition, talk to new police officers. Contact your local station and ask to be put in touch with new police officers. Ask them what their testing experience was like, and what surprised them about the test.

Get in excellent physical shape. Even if this means that you have to hire a personal trainer for a few months, being in good all around shape will increase your odds of doing well on the physical part of the examination, no matter what it involves. If you know what the test involves, work with a trainer to develop the skills necessary for the test. Increasing your running speed and endurance and physical strength are always a good idea.

To successfully pass a police officer exam you have to be prepared. This is the first step in the training you will receive to save lives. The police academy doesn’t have room for everyone who applies, so the examination is a way to choose those who show the most promise and determination.

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Discussion Comments


I saw a documentary on TV recently about firefighter training and the firefighter exam. The physical portion of the training looked really intense. I don't know that I would be able to go into a burning building with smoke all around and still keep my wits about me enough to put out a fire or pull someone out of the fire.

The documentary showed how easy it is for a person to get disoriented when he or she is in a burning building because the line of vision is so impaired, and one direction can look like the next. The is also true for the firefighters who fight the blazing forest fires.


The bottom line has to be that the police officer exam, like any of these types of exams, is as difficult or as easy as you make it. I bet not many people go take the exam without studying and pass, so if that's your plan then good luck to you.

On the other hand, the people who set up the tests don't want them to be so difficult that no one can pass. If this were the case, we would have fewer police officers than we have now, and in most places there are shortages.

A person with average intelligence who puts in the necessary hours studying should be able to pass the written part of the exam. As for the physical fitness part of the exam, the article mentions that getting a physical trainer is a good way to get prepared for this part of the exam.


I have heard that the physical exam to become a soldier or a marine is much harder than the physical testing that goes along with the police officer exam. I'm not saying the law enforcement training is easy, but you are less likely to flunk out at the police academy than you are when you are going through basic training for the military.

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    • Practice tests are a good way to prepare for police officer exams.
      By: gstockstudio
      Practice tests are a good way to prepare for police officer exams.