Joseph Libowsky,
former Special Agent

To become a police officer is one of the dream jobs for many people. You need to have specific skills and knowledge in order to join a law enforcement agency. Thus, it is a good idea to be aware of the hiring process and job requirements prior to start browsing the job openings.  

One of the main steps on the way to this dream job is the police exam. There is no common written exam that is used throughout the United States and therefore you need to be aware of which one is used by the agencies you are interest in applying with so that you can be well prepared.  

Arizona is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of all the states. If you have decided to pursue the career of a police officer in this state, you need to be prepared for the requirements and exams that are part of the selection process of each police agency. There is no state-approved exam valid throughout Arizona and thus each department can choose the police exam that they will use 

In order to score a maximum result on each test, you need to be aware of its elements. Below, we have made a list of the Arizona police officer requirements and police exams that you may encounter when applying for jobs in the state. Still, it is recommended that you check with any agency that you are interested in applying with to find out their specific requirements, including which exam they administer.

Arizona police officer requirements 

Each police department has their own set of requirements that a candidate must meet in order to be able to apply. For the state of Arizona, these are the minimum qualifications and selection criteria: 

  • Must be a citizen of the United States 
  • Possess a High school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) 
  • Be at least 21 years of age at the time of graduation from academy 
  • Possess a valid Arizona driver’s license by the starting date. Documented proof will be required 
  • No felony convictions. Those who wish to compete as a Certified Officer must additionally meet the following qualifications (supporting documentation required). 
  • Possess an AZ POST Peace Officer Certification 
  • Served a probationary period and/or have been in a permanent position for a minimum of one year 
  • Have been employed as a police officer within the last 18 months  

Selection Process: 

The hiring process is quite complicated and involves several steps. Note that an applicant MUST pass each step of the process before moving on to the next step. Additionally, if the applicant fails the physical fitness OR the written examination OR the qualifications appraisal board (QAB), the applicant MUST start over again at the physical fitness examination, even if they have passed it before and even if they have previously passed either the written or QAB examinations. 

The following are the steps of the competitive hiring process:

  • Submission of а completed application packet. 
  • Screening for minimum qualifications. 
  • Written examination – The applicant must pass a 100item multiple choice test with a minimum score of 75%. 
  • Physical fitness test – The test will consist of five events: sit-ups, push-ups, 1.5 mile run, 300 meter run, and agility run. Each event will be scored individually as a pass/fail. Failure of an event will result in disqualification from the selection process and the applicant will not be allowed to participate in the remaining events. 
  • Qualifications Appraisal Board – The applicant must pass an oral interview involving interpersonal skills and problemsolving abilities. 
  • Polygraph examination – The applicant must successfully complete a polygraph examination. 
  • Background investigation – The applicant must pass a background investigation which includes a history of the applicant’s driving, civil and criminal records, employment, and use of illegal substances. 
  • Psychological evaluation – The applicant must successfully complete a two-part evaluation including a written exam and an interview with a psychologist. 
  • Medical examination – The applicant must successfully complete a pre-employment medical exam. 
  • Pre-employment drug testing 

Types of Arizona police exam 

As there is no common written exam in the state of Arizona, it is necessary to any agency that you are interested in applying with to determine which exam they use. There are several types of written exams that are administered in the state and some agencies even choose not to disclose the type of questions that will be included in the written test in advance. Therefore, it is a good idea to prepare using one of the best online prep courses like PoliceExam911 Prep Course.  

Among the most common types of written exams used by the agencies in the state of Arizona are: 

As you can see, there is a great variety of tests used across Arizona, so make sure to double check with the agency to find out which exam you will be taking. While all of the written tests have similarities and test basic skills and knowledge, a proper preparation for the right type of exam will help you pass it with flying colors and give you a competitive advantage over the other candidates.  

Phoenix police exam

Phoenix is the capital of the state of Arizona and is the largest city. With a population of over 1.6 million people, Phoenix ranks as the fifth largest cities in the US. 

The Phoenix Police Department is the law enforcement agency employs over 2,900 officers and over 1,000 support personnel. To become part of the Department you need to pass through all of the 8 steps included in their hiring process: 

  • STEP 1:  Apply Online 
  • STEP 2:  The Written Test, which is the Darany Entry Level Police Officer Examination (DELPOE) 
  • STEP 3:  Background Questionnaire Investigation & Interview 
  • STEP 4: Polygraph Examination 
  • STEP 5: Peace Officer Physical Aptitude Test (POPAT) 
  • STEP 6:  Psychological Test 
  • STEP 7:  Medical Examination 
  • STEP 8:  Controlled Substance Screening  

As you can see the written test is one of the first obstacles that you need to overcome in order to proceed further. To pass the Darany Entry Level Police Officer Examination (DELPOE) you need to prepare answering multiple-choice questions divided into two groups: 

1. Cognitive abilities test, which includes questions divided into three groups: 

  • Accuracy of observation – you will study an image for a few minutes and then answer the questions following it with referring back to the image. There are 40 questions in this section 
  • Written communication skills to check your grammar and spelling knowledge. There are 40 questions in this section 
  • Reading for understanding to check your ability to understand written text. There are 35 questions in this section

2. Non-cognitive traits, which includes 54 Bio Data questions that refer to your experience, values, preferences. 

The DELPOE contains a total of 169 multiple-choice questions and you have 2 hours to complete all of them. 

Tucson police exam 

Tucson is the second largest city in Arizona with over half a million population. The Tucson Police Department has 870 sworn officers and 200 civilian employees. Note that the sworn officers are commissioned as peace officers by the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training (AZPOST) Board and they have authority valid throughout the entire state of Arizona. 

Tucson is one of the departments that does not specifically disclose the type of questions used on their written test. The application process includes: 

  • Written Exam 
  • Physical Fitness Evaluation 
  • Background Investigation 
  • Psychological Assessment 
  • Medical Exam & Drug Screening 

The written exam uses questions that will measure your basic skills and knowledge to determine that you have what it takes to become a police officer. You will need to answer questions related to grammar, reading comprehension, and memorization. You will receive your results on the same day as the test.  

Mesa police exam 

The Mesa Police Department is the law enforcement agency in the third largest city in the state. To join the department, you need to pass through a strict selection process including 9 steps: 

  • Prescreen 
  • Physical test 
  • Written test 
  • Background investigation  
  • Polygraph 
  • Review board 
  • Conditional offer of employment 
  • Medical exam 
  • Psychological exam 

All candidates need to score 70% or better on the written exam in order to qualify for the next steps. The test used is the National Police Officer Selection Test (NPOST). This is a test developed by Stanard & Associates, Inc. And it includes different types of question – True/False questions, multiple-choice questions, and questions that demand a full sentence as an answer. The test is divided into four separately-timed sections and you have a total of one hour and 15 minutes to complete them all. The sections are: 

  1. Mathematics that features 20 multiple-choice questions. You have 20 minutes to answer all of them. No calculators are allowed. 
  2. Reading Comprehension, which features True/False and multiple-choice questions. There are 25 questions that have to completed in 25 minutes. 
  3. English Grammar, which features two types of multiple-choice questions – find the misspelled word and select the right alternative to complete a sentence with a missing word. There are 20 questions and 15 minutes to complete them all. 
  4. Incident report writing, which presents you with a police incident report. You have to read it and then answer 10 questions about it using complete sentences with correct grammar and spelling. You have 15 minutes to complete this section.  

A higher result gives you better chances to continue with the selection process.  

Chandler police exam 

The Chandler Police Department employs over 331 sworn officers and 169 civilians and is one of the several departments that uses the Frontline Test as part of its selection process. The Frontline test features questions and video scenarios based on the police work but no prior knowledge of or experience in law enforcement is required in order to pass it successfully. It features three parts:  

  1. The Frontline National Situational Judgment and Human Relations Video Test which presents you with about 50 scenarios from the job of police officers. You have 10 seconds to choose which of the options provided is the best outcome for each situation.    
  2. The Frontline National Reading Test tests your English knowledge via sentences with blanks where you need to select the right option to complete the sentence. You have 15 minutes to answer all questions.    
  3. Frontline National Incident Observation and Report Writing Test is a video-based test, made of two components. In the first part you watch a scenario and then write a report based on the information provided in the scene. You have 21 minutes to complete this part. The second part is a multiple-choice test with 15 questions and you have 10 minutes to answer them all. 

Some other police departments in the state of Arizona that have selected the Frontline test include Flagstaff, Maricopa, Avondale, and Gilbert. Therefore, getting ready for this type of test allows you to apply with several agencies without additional preparation.  

Glendale police exam 

Glendale is the fifth largest city in Arizona and the Glendale Police Department uses the Entry-Level Law Enforcement Written Exam developed by CWH Research to test its candidates. Now, the test is distributed by I/O solutions. The test measures basic skills such as reading and writing and also uses Situational Judgment Tests (SJT) to assess your interpersonal skills, integrity, emotional stability, values, etc.  

There are two versions of the test – the older one is the CWH-SSLE for Selection Solutions for Law Enforcement which includes math, while the newer version is called the CWH-NGLE (Next Generation) and does NOT include math.   

You have 15 minutes for instructions and then 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the test. There are three main areas that include between 130 and 170 multiple-choice questions:  

  • Factual Questions or Basic Skills to check your reading comprehension, writing skills (grammar, punctuation, and spelling), and mathematical skills.  
  • Situational Judgment Questions to see how you will react in a given situationYou will read a description of a situation and you will have to answer what would you do, what do you think about the situation, how the people described in the event should react or proceed. the scenarios presented will feature various everyday events that involve different backgrounds, cultures, religions, age, gender or ethnicity of the participants.    
  • Questions about You to help you reveal your own skills and experience. You will have to answer questions about how you feel or what do you think about a certain situation. you will also have to describe yourself.  

You should get a minimum score of 70 in order to pass the test and proceed with the rest of the selection process.  

Scottsdale police exam 

The Scottsdale Police Department has selected the Police Officer Entry Level exam (PO-EL) published by IPMA-HR to be part of their hiring process. The test is divided into two parts. First, you are given a booklet called the TIP (Technical Information Packet), which you have to study for 25 minutes and then you can proceed to answering the questions based on the information provided in it. You are not allowed to take notes or refer back to the TIP. Once you start answering the 100 multiple-choice questions you have 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete them.  

The actual test is then divided also into two parts. There is a Cognitive Abilities Test that features questions in 5 areas: Ability to Learn and Apply Information, Ability to Observe and Remember Details, Judgement and Problem Solving, Verbal Abilities (Your use of words), and Ability to Follow Directions. The second part is the Police Interest Questionnaire is designed to test the characteristics of the applicants and see if they are fit for police work. It will check your motivation, values, and attitudes.  

There are a few other departments that use the IPMA-HR PO-EL exam such as Casa Grande Police Department.  

Tempe police exam 

The Tempe Police Department has a selection process that may take a few months to be completed. The candidates need to pass the physical agility test and written exam on the first day and then they will be placed on the eligibility list for one year from the application date. The written test the Tempe PD has included in their selection process is the National Police Selection Test (NPST) published by FPSI (Fire & Police Selection, Inc.). 

The NPST exam features two sub-tests and applicants have three hours to complete all the questions. The test features questions related to basic math, reading comprehension (a traditional multiple-choice test), reasoning and analysis, writing ability, and human relations (this part aims to check whether you can work under stress, what is your ability to follow rules, do you have integrity, self-control, teamworking abilities, and high ethics.  

Other agencies have also chosen the NPST as their written exam and Yuma Police Department is one of them. 

Arizona State Trooper Exam  

If you plan to become a state trooper in Arizona, you need to complete a written test that features 100 multiple-choice questions. The test should be finished in 2 and a half hours and involves eleven sections: perceptual ability/photo; perceptual ability/situational; sensitivity; reading comprehension; vocabulary; grammar/word choice/spelling; general knowledge/reasoning; numeric skills; logic – reasoning logic, and deduction and logic – word series. Unlike most tests, you are allowed to use a calculator for this test. The passing score is 75 or higher.  

As the state of Arizona uses multiple tests as their written police exam, it is necessary to be well prepared for them all in case you want to apply with more than one department. A good online prep course like those offered by JobTestPrep will help you ace the exam and be one step closer to the becoming a police officer.