PST Information Center

Written Exam Requirements - Police / Sheriff

Applicants will first be administered the written examination. Those that score at least 70% on the written exam will advance to the physical agility test immediately following the written examination. Please plan on at least 6-7 hours to complete both exams.

Written Examination

Police Officer/Deputy Sheriff

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.

You must score at least 70% on the written examination to advance to the physical ability test that will immediately follow the written examination on the same day.

Time Allowed - 3 1/4 Hours

Study Guides

Once you complete your test registration process, you will be provided a free basic test study guide to review prior to your test date. 

A Combo Preparation Guide, that includes an advanced study guide, and a practice test with answer key is available for purchase.


* “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