NYPD Psychological Exam: What to Expect and How to Succeed

The NYPD Psychological exam is a crucial component of qualifying for work in the prestigious NYPD force.

If you have this test ahead of you, then you will need to prepare for it properly just as you would for a physical or technical examination!

The NYPD Psychological test consists of a written examination and an interview component. Let’s find out more about how to ace these two daunting aspects and exactly what to expect on test day.

I’ll cover:

  • The components of The NYPD Psychological Test
  • What the NYPD Psychological exam really assesses
  • The Test Process and hiring process
  • Preparation Strategies for the Assessment
  • Specific Sections to Focus On
  • Test Day: Best Practices and What to Expect.

Let’s get into it!

The Components of the NYPD Psychological Test

The written component of the psychological test is an assessment of personality features that may or may not reflect an appropriate fit for the NYPD.

Scale response questions are often used; for instance, you will be asked how much you agree or disagree with a particular statement.

The Interview/oral component of the psychological evaluation is used to further evaluate your disposition and personality.

The aim is never a “gotcha” moment or a diagnosis. Instead, doing well in the interview means presenting yourself neatly, being respectful, and being honest with your responses.

If the attitudes expressed in your written psychological exam and your interview don’t really align, the examiners will notice.

What does the NYPD Psychological exam assess?

The NYPD psychological exam flags psychological abnormalities and scans the candidates for favorable/unfavorable personality traits. Some of the features assessed include:

  • Emotional control
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Sense of honesty, accountability
  • Sensitivity to bias.

As a police officer, it is extremely important to maintain control over impulses and make decisions under pressure. The kinds of traits that the examiners want to avoid in eligible candidates include:

  • High neuroticism, impulsivity
  • High social introversion
  • Mania
  • Hostility
  • A lack of self-awareness.

This test does not follow an academic pass rate. Instead, candidates who pass exhibit an appropriate personal disposition to suit a law enforcement role.

The Test Process

Qualified candidates (who are not pre-excluded by convictions, age, or otherwise) will have their tests scheduled at the Candidate Assessment Center to take the exams.

The written aspect of the test is normally sat after the police written exam (cognitive evaluation). The Interview/oral aspect of the psychological evaluation would then normally follow.

The other test aspects to prepare for include the written exam, Job Standard Test, and drug/ alcohol screening.

Additionally, it’s important to note that you may be disqualified or flagged from the hiring process due to obscene behavior on social media.

In the modern day, it is easy for police hiring personnel to discern people who may lack emotional control based on their behavior on the internet.

Test Strategies

Answer Naturally

When answering questions in the exam, you won’t usually be under time pressure.

You should still answer naturally, however, because response delays can suggest that you are overthinking the “correct” response and not answering the question honestly.

Think like a police officer to do well in the test, accentuating your natural positive traits.

Consider the Nuances

Not all questions will have an obvious right answer. Remember to consider the nuances in each question as you work through the written test sequentially.

Don’t opt for extremes

In the written test, lots of “Strongly agree” and “Strongly disagree” responses may suggest that you can’t see two sides of the story or that you struggle with ambiguity.

The “agree” and “disagree” options are milder and should make up most of your responses.

Dress well

If you dress professionally and neatly, you’ll not only feel more ready but also make a better first impression with your psychologist interview.

Stay calm

There’s a lot to think about on test day. Your best strategy is to stay calm; after all, it is a skill you’ll need to use plenty when you are a police officer!

Presenting calmly to the psychologist will demonstrate your ability to control your emotions, and it will help you to answer the written exam more naturally.

Preparation Strategies for the Assessment

Think about the ideal police officer

If you have lots of time to prepare for this test, then start imagining the ideal police officer.

You can foster and emulate many of these same traits in yourself! Practice seeing two sides of controversial topics, making calm decisions in timed environments, and controlling your emotions.

It will be easy to answer the exam questions if you are already thinking like an officer.

Practice tests

Practice tests are the holy grail of proper preparation for this test!

By taking practice tests, you won’t be blindsided by the kinds of questions that they can throw at you in the real thing, and you’ll already know your answers to many of the kinds of questions.

I recommend JobTestPrep’s bank of practice tests for professional and user-friendly practice.

Interview like a pro

If you are particularly nervous about the interview section of the exam, then start preparing like you would for any interview!

For example, you can watch videos on YouTube that dissect charismatic interviewing and confident question responses.

Watch interviews with different celebrities. Who comes off as trustworthy, and why? Who does not?

Practice the interview with a friend. You won’t be able to perfectly simulate the actual interview environment, but this will help you become more comfortable answering questions eloquently on the spot.

It’s amazing how even the most confident among us falters in interview scenarios, but it’s just not something most of us properly practice!

Be sincere

As experienced interviewers, interviewers will be able to spot insincerity. You should share your observations, strengths, and weaknesses openly.

Remember that honesty is a key trait that the examiners desire in an up-and-coming police officer!

Specific Sections to Focus On

All the questions in the psychological exam are important; jjust remember what the examiners are looking out for!

You need to present your answers cohesively, rather than contradicting what you say in the interview with your answers in the written component.

For example, if you answer “Strongly agree” to a question like “I am confident and comfortable at parties” then tell the psychologist that you don’t like large gatherings, then they might notice that you haven’t been honest.

Your results are based on a complete picture across both test components.

Final Thoughts

If you are an aspiring police officer and being in the force is truly a good fit for you, then don’t worry!

The NYPD psychological test only discerns traits that should already exist (traits that can flourish with practice) such as integrity and emotional stability.

With careful preparation, you’ll get the opportunity to showcase the positive aspects of your personality and why you are well suited for the prestigious NYPD force.

My final recommendation is to go into your test as prepared as possible and with the confidence that you are already a qualified police officer.

Take this test as a chance to practice the mental and emotional readiness that you will need on the force!


How are the results of the NYPD Psychological test used in the hiring process?

The results are evaluated holistically, rather than with an academic pass rate. Candidates who pass should present a cohesive, honest personality that is well suited to the high-pressure law enforcement role.