Psychological Test Prep

Many police services will have applicants undergo some form of psychological testing before offering a position of employment. If you get to this stage of an application process you are in very strong position. Some police services will have you speak to a psychiatrist or psychologist, while others will have you take a standardized psychological test, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2™.

Psychological Prep Video & PDF

Psychological Interviews

This may be your first experience speaking to a professional in the psychology field. There isn't a great deal of advice to provide for you at this stage other than:

1) Relax

2) Be Honest

Professional psychologists or psychiatrists will not expect you to put on a show. They will be able to tell if you are trying to hide something, or answering questions in a dishonest manner in an attempt to impress them. DO NOT DO THIS. If you are asked how you are feeling, and there is something wrong, admit it. Everything you say will be kept in confidence.

Other strategies you can use to succeed at this stage are similar to the tactics that you would employ during an interview: maintain eye contact, shake hands, and be respectful.

Standardized Psychological Tests

Standardized psychological tests such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2™ consist of hundreds of True-False questions. Two major reasons psychologically healthy people can fail these tests are attempting to memorize patterns and reading meaning into the questions.

Memorizing Patterns

You have to look at each question individually. If you try to remember your previous answers or establish patterns, you may unintentionally demonstrate an undesirable trait, which could keep you from the job. Your score could also be invalid because you were not answering honestly. The test picks up discrepancies due to dishonesty. There are too many questions to remember previous answers and you will confuse yourself and risk failing the test if you attempt to memorize your answers.

Reading Meanings into Questions

A second fatal mistake is to read meaning into the questions. People often look at a simple question and ask, "What are they trying to figure out?" This type of thinking will cause problems for you. You may find a question like the one below on a psychological test.

Do you like little boys? True False

Some applicants would choose false believing that the test is attempting to uncover a sexual deviation. However, if an applicant answers false, what does that say? Why doesn’t the applicant like little boys?

Whenever you encounter a question you are not sure how to answer, ask yourself the opposite question. This can clear up any problems you may have with the question. For example:

Do you not like little boys? True False

Once you have selected an answer, move on. Worrying about your answer is pointless, and no one answer will fail you, or create a problem with your score. What these tests search for are patterns in your answers. Answering each question honestly and treating each question independently is the best strategy for standardized psychological tests.

Suitability Profiling

Many police services are now performing suitability testing to screen applicants. The tests involve questions about your preferences, opinions about society, workplace procedures and your personal history. These tests will often involve a large number or questions, and you will be much better off if you answer each question honestly.

In order to feel confident about your responses, it would be a good idea to review the material in the resume and interview sections. In these sections there is a great deal of information on what police services are looking for.

Police forces want to fill positions with people who fit their needs. It is important to determine what competencies are required for the job. Below is a list of core competencies that police forces are searching for.

Analytical Thinking


The ability to analyze situations and events in a logical way, and to organize the parts of a problem systematically.

Self - Confidence


A belief in your capabilities and recognition of personal limitations.



You must have the skills to effectively communicate using listening skills and verbal and written communications skills.

Flexibility / Valuing Diversity


As a police officer, you will have to work with a wide cross-section of the community that includes diverse backgrounds, cultures and socio-economic circumstances. You must have the ability to adapt your approach to each situation.

Self - Control


Policing can be extremely stressful. You must establish that you can control your emotions actions when provoked.

Relationship Building


Developing contacts and relationships both within and outside the police service is extremely valuable.

Achievement Orientation


You must demonstrate a desire for continuous improvement in service and accomplishments.

Information Seeking


The ability to seek out and analyze information from various sources before making decisions.

Concern for Safety


The ability to exercise caution in hazardous situations in order to ensure safety to self and others.



The capacity to use authority confidently and to set and enforce rules appropriately.



Demonstrated proficiency to be self-motivated and self-directed in identifying and addressing important issues.



Willing to act with others by seeking their input, encouraging their participation and sharing information.

Negotiation / Facilitation


The ability to influence and persuade others by anticipating and addressing their interests and perspectives.

Work Organization


The ability to develop and maintain systems for organizing information and activities.

Community Service Orientation


Proven commitment to helping or serving others.

Commitment to Learning


Demonstrated pattern of activities that contribute to personal and professional growth.

Organization Awareness


A capacity for understanding the dynamics of organizations, including the formal and informal cultures and decision-making processes.

Developing Others


Commitment to helping others improve their skills.

A couple of extra points you should consider. Police services are after:

- Goal oriented people.
- People who take responsibility for their actions for both positive and negative results.
- Pro-active people.
- People who have self control.

Many of the questions are going to be personal in nature. There are no right or wrong answers, it all depends on your personal background. For example, if you are asked whether you get bored at work, that would depend on the type of person you are and the type of job you have. Below are some questions you may encounter on these types of tests.


You will be asked to select between two statements you may or may not like or about ways in which you may or may not feel. You have to choose one answer which more accurately reflects you.

A – I like to hear people praise me.
B – I like to set goals and work towards accomplishing them.

Another example would be:

A – I feel drepressed when I am unsuccessful in a task.
B – I feel nervous speaking before a group.

If neither describes how you feel, you should select the option that is most like you.

Opinions about Society

You will be given two statements about society. You will be asked to select the option you more strongly believe.

A – People who are successful get there through hard work.
B – People who are successful are for the most part lucky.

Work Place Procedures

You will be given two statements about what occurs in many work places. You will be asked to agree, disagree or feel uncertain.

For most people, how much they get paid is the most important part of the job.
Agree – Uncertain – Disagree.

If you put your mind to it, most people can learn how to do more than one job.
Agree – Uncertain – Disagree.

Personal History

You will have to respond True or False to a personal question about yourself.

People who know me, say that I am even tempered.
True – False

When working, I easily get bored.
True – False