Law Enforcement Officer - Written Test Requirements
Law Enforcement Officer - Written Test Requirements
The written examination is the first test administered. A passing score on the written exam is 70%. All candidates who take the written exam will take the physical ability test (PAT) immediately following the written examination. Please plan on at least 6-7 hours to complete both exams.
You may choose to take the PAT on a different date (within 90 days of the written exam), but you will be required to pay the PAT Retesting Fee if you choose to reschedule your PAT.
Law Enforcement Officer Selection Tool (LST™)
The Law Enforcement Officer Selection Tool (LST™) was designed to measure numerous areas that are related to successful performance as a law enforcement and/or corrections officer. Specifically, the LST contains questions covering two broad areas: cognitive abilities and non-cognitive traits. It is important to note that the LST does not measure job-specific knowledge or any specific skills that require specialized training. You will not need any specific law enforcement or corrections knowledge or skills to succeed on the LST.
In order to better familiarize you with the diversity of questions you will experience in the cognitive section of the LST™, the following table will describe each cognitive ability area and the manner in which it might be demonstrated on the job.
- Deductive Reasoning: Deductive reasoning is the ability to apply rules and principles to make decisions about what to expect from a specific situation. During training, law enforcement officers learn about criminal and traffic laws as well as the elements of crimes. They often have to apply this information to specific situations that occur in the field.
- Flexibility of Closure: Flexibility of closure is the ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material. Often, law enforcement officers are presented with BOLOs (be on the lookout) containing pictures and descriptions of suspects. Since suspects may change their appearance by coloring their hair, changing hair styles, wearing glasses or caps, etc., officers will need the ability to recognize a face despite minor changes that are made to one’s appearance.
- Inductive Reasoning: Inductive reasoning is the ability to combine specific pieces of information to arrive at a conclusion about what the causal relationship is between those pieces of information and the resulting outcome. Officers frequently exercise this ability when they take in multiple pieces of information about a crime scene or incident and then make decisions about how to react to a scenario based on that information.
- Information Ordering: Information ordering is the ability to identify the best or proper order of given actions or steps. This ability is fundamental to understanding the proper order of steps in performing a specific task safely. Officers often display this ability when they collect facts and accounts from witnesses and then attempt to piece together the sequence of events based on disparate pieces of information..
- Spatial Orientation: Spatial orientation is the ability to understand how to navigate within spaces or how to get from one point to another. Officers require this ability to travel from point “a” to point “b” to respond to a call or in navigating or searching a building during a tactical operation..
- Written Comprehension: Written comprehension is simply the ability to read the English language and understand what is being communicated. This involves an understanding of vocabulary, grammatical structure, punctuation and literary style. Officers are required to read and understand a vast amount of training materials and are confronted with on-going professional training throughout their career that is presented in a written format. Officers also have to read and understand policies, directives and tactical plans.
- Written Expression: Written expression is the ability to communicate intended thoughts using the English language. This ability requires an understanding of vocabulary, grammatical structure, punctuation and syntax. Law enforcement officers are responsible for writing incident reports and communicating information through logs and records; therefore, officers must be able to communicate intelligently and professionally via the written word. It is necessary to understand how to spell common words, properly use and pair parts of language (e.g., nouns, verbs, articles, etc.), punctuate sentences properly and compose meaningful sentences.
- Non-Cognitive Traits: These fall into two main categories: work styles (personality) and biographical data. Your predisposition to respond to people and situations in a given way is your style or personality. These traits have been developed in you over a long period of time and are considered to be very stable. Your biographical experiences are those experiences in your life that result from your abilities, interests and personality.
Once your payment is received for your testing fees, you will be emailed an Introductory Test Guide for the written examination.
Time Allowed - 3 1/2 Hours
Once you complete your test registration process, you will be provided a free Introductory Test Guide to review prior to your test date.
For studying, we recommend the Combo Preparation Guide, which includes an advanced study guide and a practice test with answer key. This product, and more, is available for purchase in our online store.
* “In selecting new officers, law enforcement agencies that use written examinations should use composite examinations that measure job-related cognitive abilities and personality traits… …Composite examinations of this type are better predictors of success on the job than cognitive-only examinations, and result in significantly less disparate impact upon minorities than cognitive-only examinations.” US Dept of Justice (January 2001) Principles for Promoting Police Integrity
Written Exam Requirements
Our written test is the first test you will take. This test measures skills and characteristics related to the job, but no prior experience is required.
Physical Ability Test Requirements
A detailed look at the events and criteria associated with the Physical Ability Test for Washington, Alaska, Idaho, and Oregon.
Test Day Requirements and Policies
Important information so you can arrive prepared on test day.
TESTING IN WASHINGTON STATE CANCELED THROUGH MAY 4, 2020
All pre-employment tests in Washington State have been canceled until May 4, 2020. The previous date was April 30th, but with recent updates, facility closures, and government guidelines, this step is necessary and could be modified at any time. The health and safety of our customers, our staff, and their families is of the highest priority.
We will continue to evaluate developments and make changes to this policy as necessary. When we do resume testing, there will be plenty of events for everyone to test. We are in regular communication with our public safety agency partners, assessing alternatives to the traditional testing model and our testing policies. Any future updates will be posted on the PST website and our Facebook page.
If you have tested with PST in the past 12 months, there may be additional positions you are now eligible to add. Several departments have temporarily changed their testing policies due to the suspension in testing that COVID-19 has caused. Please login to your PST account and navigate to the ‘New Positions’ page to see what departments you can add! We will regularly update that page in your account as departments send updates.
FUTURE TEST REGISTRATION
We know that there will be testing in the future - we just don’t know when! We want you to be prepared for when testing begins again so we have created test events on our calendar that you can register for that will place you in a queue to be first notified. These tests are not “real” test events, they are essentially a holding area. You will be able to “reschedule” out of that event to any other event date/location at no cost. Registering now will also give you time to work on your Personal History Statement (PHS) so that your data will be ready and up-to-date to send to your departments once testing resumes.
To sign up for this placeholder event, select the May 15, 2020 test date in your category (police, fire, 911 dispatch, corrections, etc.). If you are currently registered for an exam before May 5, we suggest that you reschedule your test to this May 15 event as well.
You may also click on the test event of interest below to sign up:
Please check back here frequently and ‘Like’ our Facebook page to stay updated.
PST staff are working remotely and are available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We anticipate a high email volume and will respond as quickly as possible.