Information Center

Candidate FAQs

Candidates

Candidate FAQs

DISCLAIMER: All prices, timelines, and policies are subject to change by PST and participating agencies.

How can I study for the written exam?

PST offers study and preparation materials designed by the test developer for each category. These are downloadable products that you can purchase in our Store.

What is the Personal History Statement and do I have to fill one out?

The Personal History Statement (PHS) is designed to assist public safety agencies in the background investigations of candidates. Many of the agencies we work with require the candidate to complete the PHS within seven (7) days of passing your written exam. The PHS is one of the most important, if not the most important document you will complete as a public safety candidate. It is critical that you are entirely truthful and thorough when you complete the PHS. Many candidates are disqualified for untruthfulness, inaccuracies, or omissions in their PHS. Candidates will need to update their PHS following each test and if you have changes to personal information such as employment, address, marital status, etc.

Where can I obtain the Applicant Liability Waiver & Release Agreement?

A copy of the Applicant Liability Waiver & Release Agreement will be available in your PST account under "My Downloads" once you register for a written exam. Please remember that you must bring your notarized Applicant Liability Waiver & Release Agreement to your scheduled test date. For your convenience, PST will provide a notary public on-site at tests conducted in Washington State for a fee of $10. Tests conducted outside of Washington State WILL NOT have notary services available on site.

May I test for agencies from different states?

Yes.

You may take one written exam and one physical ability test and have your test scores sent to any agency we work with - and that you qualify for. While the law enforcement physical ability standards are a bit different amongst the states, the events are basically the same (push-ups, sit-ups, running, etc). Be sure to carefully review the physical ability standards for each state described in our Information Center.

What dates do you currently have scheduled for testing?

Please see our Test & Event Schedule. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis. Your seat is only confirmed once you have paid for your testing fees. We have testing sites at various locations around the region, and tests will be offered regularly during the week and on weekends.

May I test for law enforcement and corrections officer at the same time?

Yes.

The written exam is the same for both law enforcement and corrections, but the minimum physical ability standards are different. You'll need to complete one written exam and one physical ability test (PAT). Your PAT proctor will inform you of both standards when you take the test. If you wish to apply for law enforcement and corrections agencies at the same time, you may do so by adding these agencies to your cart before you finalize your order.

Will I take my written and physical ability on test the same day?

Yes, law enforcement and corrections candidates will take the written and physical ability exams on the same day.

While firefighter written testing is offered at various locations around the region, the firefighter Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), Orientations, and Practice CPATs are conducted at our CPAT Testing Training Centers in Kent and Spokane, WA. See our current Test & Event Calendar for dates/locations.

How long will it take to test?

For law enforcement and corrections candidates, plan on approximately 7 - 9 hours for both the written and physical ability exams and come dressed for the PAT. For dispatcher candidates, plan on at least 3 hours for the written exam. For firefighter candidates, plan on approximately 4 - 4.5 hours for the written exam.

Be sure to arrive early for check-in. If you are late for your scheduled test, you will be required to reschedule.

What is done with my test scores?

Scores will be available to all of the agencies that you selected only if you pass the required written and the physical ability tests (some agencies only require the written exam). These scores will be available to each agency after PST audits & certifies them, usually the same day, but no later than one business day after the event.

Do you tell us where we rank?

No.

PST does not maintain eligibility lists or any form of "ranking" of candidates. Our contract with subscribing agencies is to provide them with your "raw" test scores and the information that you supply during the on-line registration process. Each agency, through their established process (often additional testing), creates an eligibility list and a "ranking" of candidates. Each agency will determine your "ranking."

After the agencies receive my scores, what will they do?

The process for each agency is different. Some will review the Personal History Statement (PHS) first, or request you to fill out the necessary paperwork for their agency. However, most agencies will invite a certain number of candidates to oral board interviews. Your invitation to an oral board may depend on how your score ranks in comparison to other candidates on their list and the needs of the agency at that time. Agencies may require additional testing and an extensive background check. In addition, there are also required polygraph, psychological, and medical examinations. It is a comprehensive and lengthy process that does not occur quickly - be patient and very responsive to agency requests!

How long are my scores good for?

Your scores are good with the agencies you have tested with for one year from the date the agency certifies their eligibility list or for a length of time as determined by that agency's civil service rules. PST does not maintain any list or ranking of candidate scores.

Does it cost to use your service?

Yes, testing fees are based on the number of agencies you apply for.

Consider the costs of taking time off of work, traveling many miles, hotel costs, and other costs associated with testing for jobs and incurring those costs each time you want to test with every agency that you are interested in working. The testing fees associated with using our service are an investment in your time - and career. With PST, you only have to apply once, take one written exam and one physical ability test and your scores will be sent to one or many agencies of your choice. Please see our fee schedules. Be sure to check with your accountant, but our testing fees may even be tax-deductible.**

I do not want to provide my credit card number online. Is there a way to pay by check?

Yes.

You will have the option during the online registration process to pay by check. However, one advantage of paying online with your credit card is that your registration is immediately confirmed for the time, date, and location you have chosen. We use Payeezy through Bank of America, a proven, secure, and reputable online service for credit card transactions.

If you choose to pay by check, print out your online receipt and mail it to our Lynnwood office with your check or money order. Please note: If your chosen testing date is at maximum capacity by the time your payment is processed by our office, you may be asked to reschedule your exam. The pay by check or money order option is NOT available for Remote Testing.

I was recently invited to an oral board interview. Do you offer any help in preparing for them?

Yes.

Periodically, PST offers a workshop on preparing for the hiring process with emphasis on the oral board interviews - a critical stage in the hiring process and a step that few adequately prepare for. Our instructors are experienced public safety professionals that have conducted hundreds of interviews, background investigations, and have hired many public safety employees. Workshop dates are available in our Test & Event Calendar.

I am currently in the military, when should I start testing?

Typically, 3-4 months from your separation date, but you'll want to time it, so you can participate in the hiring process of the specific agencies to which you are applying. It may be helpful to contact those agencies directly to discuss your separation timeline. The hiring processes may include oral boards, backgrounds, psychological testing, polygraphs, etc.

I am eligible for veteran's preference points. When will those be considered?

Veteran's preference (or any other preference) points will be factored in by each agency to which you have sent scores. They will collect your Form DD-214, separation orders, and any other needed documentation.

Can I change my testing date, time and/or location?

While we discourage changes, we certainly understand that it is sometimes required. Please log in to your PST account and select the reschedule button next to your upcoming test. There is a non-refundable $10 processing fee for rescheduling tests, and any change is subject to the availability of seating at your selected location.

Can I cancel my test once it is scheduled?

Cancellation made PRIOR TO your scheduled test date/time will incur a processing fee. Please check the pricing chart for the full list of cancellation fees. There are no refunds for a missed test date. To cancel, log in your PST account and click on the reschedule button link next to your test date. Follow the steps to cancel your test.

Can I keep testing to increase my score?

Whether you pass or fail the written exam, candidates must wait at least 90 days (~3 months) before taking another written exam for the same category (LEO, FF, etc). At that time, you may test for any agency, including those on your original test date. If you fail the physical ability test (PAT), you have one re-test opportunity within 90 days.

Firefighter candidates must complete the PST CPAT within 180 days (~6 months) of your written examination. Your test scores are not sent to agencies until you have completed both the written exam and PAT with 180 days of each other (for agencies that require both).

If I'm interested in applying to agencies that subscribe to your service after I have tested, do I need to re-apply and test again?

Not necessarily.

If you indicate in your PST account that you want to be notified of any new subscribing agencies or new position openings, we will automatically notify you as soon as they become available. If you have successfully completed testing with PST, you may be eligible to add new agencies and new positions. Your written exam must have been completed within the 180 day period prior to the posting of the new position, AND, they must be added within 30 days of the posting of new position. Please log in to your PST account and click on the "New Positions" link from your drop-down menu.

How do I learn about new subscribing agencies or new position openings?

We can automatically notify you via email and/or text message. Please login to your PST account and select "My Settings" from the drop-down menu to set up Notifications/Opt-in. If you do not have an account with PST, you may visit the contact us page and sign up to be notified when new agencies are available.

I am a Communications Officer / 911 Dispatcher candidate, where do I take the typing test?

You will need to complete and pass the typing test PRIOR to your scheduled written exam date. To take the typing test, please log in to your PST account and follow the steps under "Typing Tests." You must also select which score you want PST to forward to the agencies you applied to.

The minimum standard is 35 words per minute with an accuracy of 90%; however, some dispatch agencies may require a higher score. Please check each agency profile for details. Your testing scores will not be made available if you do not meet the minimum standard on the typing test for the agencies to which you applied. You are allowed four (4) attempts on the actual test every seven (7) days. Typing test results from other websites or departments will not be accepted.

I live far away from your testing sites in Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Wyoming. Am I able to take the test in my area?

Most agencies will accept scores from candidates who take the written exam through our Remote Testing process. If the agencies you want to test for do not allow Remote Testing, you must travel to one of PST's test locations in Washington State to complete your required exams. Please visit our Remote Testing page for more information.

What are your policies regarding Adding Agencies, Refunds, Changes, Bad Checks, etc?

Adding Agencies

You may add an agency or agencies to your list at any time after your initial registration AND PRIOR to your written test. The fee for this is the difference between what you have already paid and what the fee would have been had you added that agency or agencies at the time of your registration.

You will not be able to add agencies after your written exam, EXCEPT for the following conditions:

  • You may add an agency following your written exam if that agency is a new PST subscribing agency that was not available on the day of your written exam, OR,
  • You may add an agency following your written exam if that agency posts a new position opening in that agency’s profile on the PST website.

You may add agencies as described above if your written exam occurred within the 180 days prior to the posting of the new agency or new position, AND, you must add that agency within 30 days of the posting of the new agency or new position.

Testing / Re-Testing

Law Enforcement / Corrections Candidates

The written exam may be taken once every 90 days (~3 months) regardless of whether you pass or fail the exam. If you fail the physical ability test (PAT), you have one (1) retest opportunity to pass the PAT within 90 days (~3 months) of your written exam date. The PAT retest fee is $35 (non-refundable). Please log in to your PST account to schedule your retest. An agency may require more restrictive timelines than provided here. You must pass both the written and physical tests for your scores to be made available to the agencies to which you have applied for.

Dispatcher Candidates

The written exam may be taken once every 90 days (~3 months) regardless of whether you pass or fail the exam. You must have successfully completed the PST typing test PRIOR to your written examination date (and no longer than 60 days prior). You must select and designate the typing test score you want PST to make available to the agencies to which you applied. You have four (4) attempts to take the actual typing test every seven (7) days.

An agency may require more restrictive timelines than provided here. You must pass both the written and typing tests for your scores to be made available to the agencies to which you have applied for.

Firefighter Candidates

Firefighter candidates may take one written exam every 90 days (~3 months). However, if you fail the written exam, you must wait at least 90 days (~3 months) from your written exam to test again for any agency. You must pass a PST CPAT within 180 days (~6 months) of your written test date for your scores to be made available to agencies that require both the PST written and PST CPAT. If you fail a CPAT test, the CPAT retest fee is $129. Please log in to your PST account to schedule your CPAT.

Cancelations and Rescheduling Policy

Reschedules and Cancelations of exams are subject to fees. Review our pricing schedule for the updated fee structure. All reschedule requests are subject to the availability of seating at your requested time/date/location and must be made through the "My Dashboard" page in your PST account. All reschedule requests must be made within seven (7) days of a missed test appointment, except CPATs. There are no refunds or rescheduling tests seven (7) days after your missed test date.

Refunds

  • There are no refunds on or after your scheduled written and/or physical ability exam date. 
  • There are no refunds once you have started any examination.
  • There are no refunds for missed test dates.
  • There are no refunds for missed CPAT Tests.
  • There is no rescheduling after 7 days of a missed test date.

Bad Checks

Checks that are returned NSF (Non-Sufficient Funds) will be charged a $30 processing fee.

I cannot afford the testing fee - is there a waiver?

You may apply for a testing fee waiver, and you must show proof of a verifiable financial hardship. Once we receive your completed testing fee waiver form, we will evaluate it and respond to you as soon as possible. Please submit this form at least two weeks before your desired test date. You may download the Testing Fee Waiver Form HERE.

How do request Special Accommodations for testing?

When registering to test, you will need to describe the type and scope of your impairment, learning disability, or related deficiency that requires an accommodation related to testing. You will be required to submit written documentation for review. Please upload this documentation in PDF or JPEG format directly to your account. Please allow two weeks for review and determination once documentation is received.

I changed my name. How can I make that edit in my account?

For identification purposes, we do not allow immediate name changes through our website. To request a name change, please send an email to contact@publicsafetytesting.com with a photo or a scan of your government issued ID or court document authorizing the name change. We will process your request as quickly as possible.

* or as requested by Agency
**DISCLAIMER: All prices, timelines, and policies are subject to change by PST and participating agencies.