What to Do at the Written Police Test – The Six Slip-ups


After more than 25 years in law enforcement
and nearly 20 years of proctoring police entrance exams for my own and other agencies I’ve made
note of several things that a police applicant can do in this very early stage, to stand
out a bit and to begin to make their mark as an above average, reasonable candidate.
If you’re an applicant for a police agency or doing research because you may someday
pursue this career, please be keenly aware of three key things that I just said, and
they are this: 1. I used the term “stand out”
2. Above average 3. I used the word “reasonable” In my training of police candidates, I’m very
calculated in how I train and what I say because I don’t want those that I assist to be lead
astray. I speak plain English, I use analogies often because they paint a mental picture
and I teach through verbal repetition and three examples of terms I use very often are,
standing out, working to be above average and the word reasonable. Standing out, positively
of course, during the hiring process isn’t just a good idea or something to strive for,
it’s essential. Entering the hiring process as an “above average” candidate is also essential
and finally it’s important that you know, the career of law enforcement and the basis
for and the foundation on which our decisions are build, is reasonableness. We base our
profession on this premise. As you move forward in your bid for a career in this most noble
profession, please keep these three elements in mind. For now, I’d like to answer a question that
I’ve been asked many, many times over the years and it’s this. Is there anything I should
know ahead of time about my written exam? My answer is two part and it is, yes there
are a few things you should know. I always told applicants to find a good study guide
and learn as much as you can about the testing proficiencies before the written exam. I never
told anyone where to look because I didn’t know. What I found out later was, the preparation
guides that I found were substandard and they weren’t video based. I took care of that problem
with EarnYourBadge and I’m very pleased with the result of the first ever, video based
exam guide available. So, that’s problem one solved right, the how
to prepare. But other than proper preparation what is there to a written other that just
showing up right? Remember, it’s your goal to be different than the others, not freaky
different, but stand out positive different. So, here are the six-slip-ups that I see most
often, at the written entrance exam for law enforcement officer. 1. Sit in the front of the room. The candidates
that intentionally sit in front aren’t the “blend in” type. They want to be noticed and
they are, and that’s a good thing. This also affords you the opportunity to memorize the
face or faces of the people proctoring the exam. This may come in very handy later in
the hiring process. 2. Dress in business casual clothing. Guys,
don’t overdue this one with a coat and tie and gals, don’t overdo it with a pants suit,
you’ll look odd but do wear well pressed, good looking clothing. There is often the
perception that the test is just a relaxed blue jeans sort of event and you’ll be forgotten
anyway so what’s the difference. Some of your test proctors, depending on the agency, may
very well be some of your oral board panel members. Begin acting like a desirable candidate
from the day you pick up or drop off your application packet. 3. There may be casual conversation as people
are being seated, that’s fine, but please keep your voice down, way down. Once the proctor
has begun addressing the room, don’t talk AT ALL to anyone and certainly never, never,
NEVER during the test. 4. As your testing, don’t look around the
room and don’t be animated. Many people do this and I’m not quite sure why but they’ll
yawn or stretch loudly. It looks bad and does them no favors. Be very quiet and don’t look
at the testing material of the person sitting next to you even if it’s to see how far along
they are. I’ve assisted some agencies that insist on removing anyone and everyone that
looks at their neighbor’s test, regardless how innocent. 5. Many people are nervous at their exam and
I understand that, but don’t draw negative attention to yourself by allowing your nervousness
to materialize in physical movements. The two most common are leg shaking, leg rubbing
and pen tapping, with the latter being the most irritating to the proctor and of course
to your fellow exam takers. 6. Finally, bring your driver’s license. Not
just ID, but your driver’s license. This is very important and I won’t tell you now, that
information is inside EarnYourBadge, but some agencies pull a fast one on people that don’t
bring their DL. Also, don’t forget to bring your invitation to the test if they gave you
one, and a bit of scratch paper, folded in your back pocket to use if they allow it.
Also, and finally, bring two pencils and two pens. Your chance to make a positive mark for yourself,
with the picking up of your law enforcement application, has begun. I enjoy working with
and assisting law enforcement applicants, navigate the complicated process of the hiring
system, and I hope this bit of inside information helps you. To your success,
I’m Chief Russ Ehlers

57 thoughts on “What to Do at the Written Police Test – The Six Slip-ups

  • Chief Russ, I love your videos and find them extremely helpful to people pursuing this career. I have wanted to become a police officer for as long as I can remember and its literally my dream. Some people dream of being pro ball players or rockstars, my dream is becoming a cop. I am 21 years old and have graduated highschool with a 3.5 gpa, 3 sport athlete and have deffinatly had my fair share of partying. I have since matured greatly and everything seems to be coming together. 1 of 2

  • I am currently in the hiring process for Cleveland Ohio and North ridgeville police officer. When attending the written tests I sometimes feel discouraged because there are are so many applicants I think to myself wow this is going to be a challange, but ill keep chopping at it and watching your videos while adjusting my mentality and lifestyle for my soon to be career. Always Staying optimistic and especially a sincere thank you sir and always God Bless. 2 of 2

  • I really appreciate the time and effort you put into your videos, Chief Russ. When I become a Police Officer, I have to find a way to thank you!

  • thank you for the videos… at the police departmeblnt i want to work at, we have to do a minimum of 46 push ups and 46 sit ups in a mine with a 1.5 mile run.. have you made any videos on howwe can prepare for the physical exam?

  • Chief, talking about what we should wear to the test, do you think it would be overdoing it to wear my Air Force Blues Uniform ? i am currently in the Air force but will be getting out next may and am seeking a job in law enforcement.

  • Hi Chief Russ,

    I am currently a special police officer for my town. I know this will have some sort of advantage for me trying to get onto a full time force, but I am wondering, how much will this help me in to getting hired on a full time force? Will this put me ahead of a lot of people who are taking the test? Thank you in advance sir.

  • Won'’t help you in taking the test as much as it might help you during your
    interview, but that depends upon how well you interview. There are a
    substantial number of considerations that you must make BEFORE you go to your oral board. Learning how to say it, it just as important as learning
    what to say.

  • Hello Chief Russ. I am a 22 year old in school for criminal justice and in the military hoping to become a Tampa Bay area police officer. My question pertains to drug use. I have tried marijuana and used it occasionally from the time i was 15-16 and then a hand full of times from 17-19. I will not ever do that again being for the fact ive seen how much it tears your life apart and i have outgrown that stage in my life. How would i go about telling a department this? Would appreciate your help!

  • The good news is, there's a way to explain past drug use, but it has to be done correctly. The bad news is, it would take me much longer to explain than I have room here on this comment. The simple answer is, I explain how to do this properly in each stage of the hiring process inside the members room of EYB.

  • I'm taking my CDCR written test that is coming up in two month. What should I study for?? I failed my first one couple years ago and I don't want to fail it again. The first test I study all the practice written exam online but I guess in the end I didn't get it. Now I'm re-taking it. What to study for now? Please help! Thanks!!

  • Im at the 19.3 year mark and will soon retire from the military (Oct 2014). I want to pursue a career in LE in the DC, MD, VA area. Any pointers anyone can provide me? Also what are some books or online resources can i reference to get me ready for the exam? All feedback welcome and thanks in advance.

  • Awesome that you would take your time to respond to my inquiry. It's greatly appreciated. Trust me I have subscribed to the channel and bookmarked the webpage. Thanks again. God bless

  • Hi Chief, can you tell us what would make an applicant or a candidate fail the academy if her or she passes the initial process and exams?
    thank you

  • Sitting in the front by my own choice wasn't an option for me. We were all assigned seating! It was the PELLETB exam for California.

  • Hey Chief Russ.  Do you offer or do you know of a good place for practice written tests?  I'm so excited to purchase my EYB membership.  I'm selling stuff around the house to raise the money.  See you in the members room soon!

  • I have a question if you forgot to put down all your education for the Writtten Psych in the past 10 years will you get DQ

  • You should have been New Yorks Chief. You must've been a PIO at one point, because you have exceptional communication skills. I believe an officers greatest tool is Diplomacy. Diplomacy is harder than any gunfight,physical confrontation or riot. It requires you to commmunicate "with someone" rather "down to someone" an issue that has plagued the public's perception nationwide and is the general inspiration of nationwide protests. "Initiative,Loyalty,Diplomacy"

  • I was wondering if it were wise for college students who are about to graduate to apply for departments. I'm about to enter an internship with a department, and I graduate in July. The sergeant recommended I send my application in now even though I am still in college. Is this wise?

  • Has anyone actually bought his membership? Id like to see some real reviews from real customers before I dish out $100.

  • Thank you so much for doing this! I have been looking for somethin with actual information in it before i dish out a couple of grand for police academy

  • I was just wondering,I'm a 48 yo healthy and strong man and I've made it to the oral interview which is tomorrow.Do you think I'm too old?I feel great and optimistic but would appreciate your opinion?

  • I got a story about standing out. I recently took the physical test and missed the run by 15 seconds. I was told I could reapply after 30 days. Two days later I noticed they opened up apps again, but the test date is beyond the 30 day. I contacted the recruiter who happened to administer the PT. She complemented me on my effort despite missing the time. Keep in mind the recruiter had 5 groups of 100 each. So out of 500 people they remembered me. Point being you will be noticed and they can play a key role in getting hired.

  • do i have a chance in becoming a police officer, i didn't go to college i just have a high school diploma, i actually went in and did the written exam and physical testing, but failed two of the four in the physical testing,

  • I don't have my license yet. Do yu think I should first wait till I get my license then take the exam or should I just bring any id with me and take it then work on my license?

  • Thank you Chief, your documentary was very informative, positive and encouraging in keeping calm while testing. You also stated basic facts to keep mindful. Thank you again for your wisdom.

  • hi, I'm 27 and I graduated from high school and did some college only obtain 22 transferable credits before I decide to go to trade school and I completed a 11 month course and obtain my electrical technology certificate but I'm looking to become a police officer in NJ my questions how do I start this process to obtain my goal my city of Englewood already had the test but I'm looking to start preparing for the next opportunity and I have no clue whats the 1st step

  • my husband is US MARINE INFINTRTY ,iraq and affganistan,8purple heart shot and burnt..finished his 8 year and then he desided his desire was to be in swat team ft,laud fla, bso,,,or area,,,he went in to police academy testings he past swimming ,physical,but the written he did not do well grammer,..he got fustrated and stopped ,its an issue he has had ,but has past the tabe tests he has took in past but why not the academy??,, please i would like toget input from you on what he can do to get in and be the best at what he does ,and that is clean the streets and stop the bad guys,,lol..i am a PI.and i understand the fustration as i did when i was taking the tests ,some i was able to retake different parts .if i was a few point below ,,but over all the test should have been good standing ,,he has always past the 2 other tests he had tabe at his computer school ITT .and military

  • I purchased the product and went through the course. Was able to get hired on at the agency I really wanted to get hired on at! The course helped me prepare the questions the Chief and the command staff asked me. It didn't give me the answers. But helped me formulate my own answers! I would definitely recommend.

  • There should be a mandatory 6month in depth course on the Constitution so officers who swear to uphold it know what they are swearing to

  • Question what exactly does the test have like subject is it like the asvab does it go by a score and the time it took to finish.? Must I pay for the ahkademi or how.? Is their any book I can buy that can help me study like the military do with asvab books.?

  • Thank you for the video. As a prior Active member with military, i'm going to be taking my first exam on june 19th.

    Your video is very informative and I was JUST about to go to my local precinct to ask for any advice. Saved me the trip.

  • I’m from Kenyan, came to the United States as a immigrant and now I want to give back and become a police officer I’m taking my exam tomorrow plz wish me luck.

  • I'm pretty nervous, I go for my interview and written test on the 14th of February. What is the written test about?.

  • Great advice, I just took the physical agility test. I did very well and have military background. I have the written next and this has come in handy.

  • Thank you so much I really am thinking about becoming a police officer now I know what to do and what not to do helped alot

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