How to Prepare and Pass New York City Police Department (NYPD) Officer Exam?
If becoming an NYPD officer is your lifelong dream, you might be a little discouraged when you find out that there is a challenging hiring process and exam you will have to go through. The NYPD only wants recruits with high responsibility and integrity, so the high standards of their hiring process are to be expected.
Instead of feeling unprepared to take your NYPD exam, keep reading to find out more about what you can expect and how you can prepare.
Table of Contents
What Is the NYPD Exam?
To become a New York City Police officer, you must meet a series of requirements and pass the NYPD Exams. The exams are a tool the NYPD uses to narrow down top-quality applicants who show the most promise of becoming the best police officers.
These exams allow the New York Police Department to hire the most qualified individuals to join their ranks.
The tests are a simple Pass or Fail grade, but the more questions answered correctly, the higher the applicant goes on the waiting list. The exams cover a wide range of subjects- being extremely comprehensive and challenging.
They focus on a range of disciplines, including memory, deduction, spatial awareness, visualization, and a variety of other skills that are required for a position within the police force.
For the NYPD exam, there are 85 questions. To pass, you must answer 60 questions correctly. That equals a 75% pass threshold. Preparing for the exam is the key to passing, as the subjects covered are not covered in school.
There are two exams when applying to join the NYPD, and both are different in format and sections. You will need to check which exam you’ll need to take for your position to properly prepare.
- NYPD Entrance Exam:
This exam is used for officers stationed within New York City.
- NYC Civil Service Police Exam:
This exam is used for Officers stationed anywhere within the State of New York.
What Is Included in the Assessments?
Even though both exams vary in formatting and sections, the pass rate, number of questions, and allotted time for completion are the same. You will have 2.5 hours to complete the exams, with a passing score of 70% or more. We will focus on the NYPD Entrance exam.
The entrance exam is the test you will take to become a Police officer in New York City. The exam utilizes a series of questions to test whether the applicant has the necessary skills and personality required to join the force.
The exam will cover the following topics:
You will be tested on how well you memorize and accurately recall information in scenarios that are frequently encountered on the job. You will be given a photograph to memorize for 10 minutes. After the allotted time, you will be asked various questions about the photograph.
“How many vehicles were parked on the right side of the street?”
“What were the vehicles’ make and models parked on the street and their color?”
“Which vehicles had extra accessories, ie. Bike rack, brush guard, etc.?”
“Which vehicle had the following license plate digits?”
You will be tested on how accurately you express a clear message in written form, using a table of information that you will then match to a written scenario with the closest matching information.
This section focuses on your ability to accurately use the English language concisely, keeping in mind the conventions of grammar and sentence clarity that vary between individuals.
You will be tested on how you come to conclusions based on supplied information in the form of maps, tables, and image comparisons, deducing which of them are the most relevant and helpful for the investigation within a specific scenario. Not all information provided will be relevant, and you must be able to select and utilize only what is relevant.
You will often be asked to apply a state or NYC legal policy to a scenario and assess what action you should take.
These questions will assess your ability to recognize and show your understanding of legal subtleties after being given a written crime scene scenario.
You will display how you draw conclusions or identify any common factors or patterns after considering a selection of items such as images, witness statements, or mathematical charts that describe a scenario, ie. hit and run, assault, robbery, etc.
The questions in this section determine how well you can visualize a situation or image, and identify objects in different locations that have been altered or moved in some way. The questions will be based on diagrams, maps, geometric shapes, or some other type of graphics.
“Based on the diagram above, what percentage of homes are broken into during the day in the 5th sector?”
“According to the floorplan above, where is the main bedroom located?”
You will be assessed on whether you recognize and follow a sorting rule. The questions will be based on a case in which you are given details through a summary and additional detailed information, and then set specific items in the correct order, whether it be alphabetical or numerical.
This requires you to use logical thinking and pattern use, following procedures or a process.
This segment will evaluate how accurately you can spot problems ahead of time, or the likelihood of something going wrong. Problem sensitivity involves making your evaluations from several information sources. Some questions will ask you to evaluate how volatile a situation is and the best course of action you should take.
You’ll be supplied a map of New York city- possibly a fictional one- to study briefly with a compass indicator, street names, and numbered locations. You’ll be tested on how well you identify your location on the map in comparison to the location of a specific item or event in the questions that follow.
“How far are you from a robbery at a jewelry parlor on 5th E street?”
“If the perpetrator went up 5th E street, then turned right onto Westing Road, what direction are they headed in?”
Written Comprehension And Communication
For this section, you will be provided a long script of text, in which you’ll be asked to identify specific facts based on what was within the text. You will be tested on how well you understand written information.
These questions will typically be based on a scenario of a crime scene such as a burglary.
This section focuses on your abilities to perform basic mathematic equations. You will be presented with different math problems and offered multiple options for answers.
“Police Officer Drummonds arrests a woman for burglary. She was found with 17 one-dollar bills, 7 five-dollar bills, 26 ten-dollar bills, and 8 twenty-dollar bills.”
Which formula should Officer Drummonds use to calculate the total amount of cash?
a) $1 + 17 + $7 + 5 + $10 +26 + $20 + 8
b) 17 + 7 + 26 + 8
c) ($1 x 17) + ($5 x 7) + ($10 x 26) + ($20 x 8)
d) $1 + $5 + $10 + $20
The NYPD only hires the best-qualified applicants to join their forces, making the exams competitive and difficult. The hiring process is challenging, and each stage of the application process needs to be completed successfully.
There are 9 steps in the hiring process to join the ranks of the NYPD.
9 Steps of the NYPD’s Hiring Process
The optional sections are:
1. Minimum application requirements –
- At least a 2.0 Grade Point Average and a minimum of 60 college credits at an accredited college or university
- NYC resident
- At least 21 years old
- U.S. citizen with a current and valid state of New York driver’s license
2. Written entrance test conducted by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS)
3. Pre-Hire interview through the Medical Division
4. Medical exam – Vision, height, weight, hearing, dental health
5. Standardized written test – psychological
6. Physical test
7. Verbal interview
8. Character investigation/check
9. Police Academy training program
- Convicted felons
- Individuals found guilty of domestic violence misdemeanors
- Dishonorable discharges or disqualification from military service
- Any demonstration of prior disrespect for the law or violent conduct, or dismissal from a job for ill behavior
How to Prepare for the NYPD Exam?
Preparation is key to passing this difficult exam and the entire hiring process as a whole. Showing up unprepared or inadequately prepared will hurt your experience and your scores.
Make a Plan
You can’t start preparing without making a game plan on how to study, when, and who to ask to help you study. Creating and keeping to a study routine and plan will help you stay organized as you go.
You should include practice papers, memory games, basic math problems, as well as plenty of research into state and NYC legal policies. Utilizing practice papers and exams will help you familiarize yourself with the exam format so the question formats don’t throw you off come the big day.
Practice exams and papers can be found through the NYPD’s website, and from other accredited and reliable sources like Job Test Prep.
Job Test Prep helps you prepare for your NYPD exam through personality tests, comprehension tests, police form tests, reasoning skills assessments, spatial orientation assessments, memory tests, visualization tests, as well as written communication and written expression tests.
With such a comprehensive list of assessments to help you prepare, you’ll feel much more confident when you’re facing the real exam.
You should also research the exam and job responsibilities of the position you are aiming for to best prepare yourself for the other challenges of the hiring application. This will help you to ensure you meet the mental and physical requirements of the position beforehand.
The NYPD exam is challenging but attracts scores of candidates each year. In order to be selected, you need to stand out above the rest and score well. When it comes to facing such a challenging exam, preparation is key, and Job Test Prep has the right resources to help you.
Be sure to give yourself the best chance at succeeding by making full use of the practice resources on Job Test Prep.
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Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.