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Tips to Prepare for the Police Assessment Centre

So you think you want to become a police officer? Police recruiting plummeted due to recent changes in funding, so opportunities aren’t as paramount as they used to be. However, when opportunities do arise, the hiring pool becomes competitive and demanding.

To ensure your success, you need to know what to expect during recruitment. Most importantly, during the assessment centre factor of the recruitment process.

To assist you with preparing for this nerve-wracking assessment, we have assembled the best tips, tricks, and resources to help you pass the exams and advance in serving a career in law enforcement.

To invest in your law enforcement future, keep reading!

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What Is an Assessment Centre?

An assessment centre refers to the culmination of your entire application. This final stage (or close to final stage) or application assesses your qualifications through exams, interviews, and role-playing/hypothetical scenarios. Assessment centre evaluations range between one and two days depending on the employer.

The UK police force encompasses branches in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Whichever location you pursue, this guide breaks down all possible requirements to keep in mind.

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Police Assessment Centre Practical Exercises

When going to an assessment centre, they grade you based on your reaction to hypothetical situations that might arise on the job. This determines how well you will react on the job and your eligibility for hire. We break down what employers pay attention to and how to prepare and improve these skills.


Decent communication skills are mandatory for police officers. You speak with other members of your team about a plan of action and how to best work together. You report to supervisors, engage in uncomfortable conversations with families of victims, the public and perpetrators of crime. Plus, knowing how to speak with others helps solve cases quicker.

Improving communication skills takes time, and may be difficult, so here are some tips to help prepare:

  • Listen – let others know you are engaged and what they say matters, too.
  • Write things down – this helps you remember important information and recall minute details.
  • Use body language – this shows others you care.
  • Speak slowly – this helps others understand you.
  • Don’t jump to conclusions – instead, treat every conversation objectively.

Speak to everyone in the same tone – cut out condescending tones and negative speech, so more people want to speak with you and trust you with information.

Personal Effectiveness

When solving crimes or assisting a community, you need to be able to use your skills to aid the situation. If you sit around and waste time, the public loses trust in you that you won’t keep them safe or protect them in dangerous situations. However, if you take a moment to analyse situations and plan your next move, you gain trust of citizens and the employer notices your productivity.

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Tips to Prepare and Improve Personal Effectiveness:

  • Pay attention to detail to create ideas and solve problems.
  • Communicate. Talk to others and work together to generate solutions.
  • Patience and understanding. Listen to others. Try to understand their points of view. Before you negate someone, formulate an educated and caring response.


Working as a police officer means a lot of decisions to minimise community risk, enhance safety measures and solve crimes. Problem solving is a necessity.

To prepare to showcase your problem-solving skills you need to practise, practise, practise.

  • First, when reading a case study or a hypothetical outcome, identify the problem and factors affecting the issue.
  • Brainstorm solutions.
  • Narrow down solutions and choose the most effective one.
  • Implement the solution.
  • Study the results.

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Personal Awareness

Careers in law enforcement require situations that can heighten emotions or ring too close to home. You can’t guarantee what you will have to deal with and chances are, you will run into something that makes you uncomfortable.

Personal awareness means you understand what makes you tick, the emotional capacity you have for certain subjects and your ability to separate personal life from professional life.

As a police officer, separating yourself from your work is crucial to success. You don’t want to be too affected by a situation, your performance decreases, nor do you want emotions to discern your decision-making.

Being personally aware tells an employer that you know yourself and can make responsible decisions for the public good, which makes you a top candidate for employment.

To prepare to demonstrate personal awareness:

  • Set boundaries and stick to them- Say no when you need to. If you know your limits, you decrease burnout, strengthen mental health and learn more about yourself and your team.
  • Have an open mind and listen to others.
  • Understand your capabilities so you know when to reach out for help and when to step up as a leader.


Knowing how to work as a team makes your job more enjoyable and helps solve issues easier. Working together teaches you more about your team collectively and individually because you learn who has which strengths and weaknesses and apply them to work scenarios.

Tips to prepare and improve

  • Work on communication skills.
  • Learn how to recognize others strengths and weaknesses.
  • Learn your strengths and weaknesses.

Respect for Diversity

It is imperative to pay attention, listen and respect others. If someone feels like you’re not acknowledging communities different than yours, you could lose respect and trust. You want others to want to work with you and to get to that level, you need to respect others.

Tips to respect diversity

  • Use kindness when communicating.
  • Accept everyone.
  • Spend time acknowledging personal biases and work to unlearn them.

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How to Prepare for the Police Assessment Centre?

Student is Practicing for exam

The most effective way to prepare for the Police Assessment Centre is to practice, practice, and practice. We highly recommend using a test preparation site like Job Test Prep who have realistic practice papers, sample questions, and explanations for the answers.

You can even try a free Police practice assessment here.

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Police Interview Assessments

Interviews lend employers to individual qualities you possess, why you are a desired candidate and why you deserve the job.

Interviewers pay attention to

  • Your ability to communicate– They get a firsthand account of how you talk to others, mannerisms and body language. Practising in a mirror or with friends and family can help prepare you for the real interview.
  • Job knowledge– Before interviewing, make sure you read and study the job description. Knowing what you will be responsible for increases your hiring rate and makes you look well-informed. If you don’t prepare for an interview about your potential profession, how will you look when it comes to the job?
  • Leadership– Think about past leadership positions or qualities and speak about them during the interview.
  • The interviews also consider qualities affecting teamwork, problem-solving and personal effectiveness

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Additional Examinations

Assessment centres can ask for a numerical ability test and/or a verbal ability test.

Numerical Ability Test

A multiple choice test measuring your ability to solve arithmetic patterns and make informed decisions about mathematical questions.

To prepare

Study old math exams, take practice tests, review arithmetic rules including, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, exponents and decimals. Practice reading questions carefully and thoroughly. Sleep well the night before and eat a balanced meal beforehand.

Verbal Ability Test

Multiple choice test uses words to test your critical thinking, understanding of written information.

To prepare

Use practice exams, read thoroughly, think about your answers, take the information literally. Get adequate sleep the night before and eat a balanced meal before to calm nerves and give you fuel to concentrate.

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Embarking on your career as a police officer includes multiple examinations, interviews and a slew of application requirements. A visit to an assessment centre is required for potential hires near the end of the recruitment process.

We have outlined ways, tips and tricks to help you prepare for your experience at the assessment centre. Use Job Test Prep’s guides here for even more in-depth assistance on succeeding during your assessment centre evaluations. Good luck!

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