If you want to become a police officer in the state of Florida, you need to prepare yourself for a few exams and a strict selection and hiring process. In order to determine who is eligible for the job, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement uses tests that check the basic abilities of candidates. Passing these tests are required as part of the hiring process. Getting a good score on the exams will help applicants in the competitive hiring process. Two of the exams that are broadly used are the CJBAT (Criminal Justice Basic Abilities Test) and the FBAT (Florida Basic Ability Test).
The guide below aims to provide an overview of the CJBAT and provide some practical tips on how to pass the exam along with a few sample questions. It is important for candidates to be prepared for the CJBAT format and its requirements, as that will help their performance on the day of the actual exam.
What is CJBAT?
The Criminal Justice Basic Abilities Test, most commonly referred to as the CJBAT, is a test introduced in the state of Florida by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) that checks whether or not the applicants for law enforcement positions have the necessary skills to attend the certified training academies and then qualify for a job in the field.
While FDLE manages the overall program and provides a platform for storing and accessing the scores, the development and administration of the test is awarded to private contractors. There are several test centers throughout the state, where applicants can sit the CJBAT.
Note that the test scores are valid for four years, so if you are not able to attend a training center or proceed with your law enforcement application immediately after the test for whatever reason, you do not need to worry that your efforts were in vain.
If you fail the CJBAT the first time, you are allowed to retake it. You can take the exam up to three times within a period of 12 months. Since there are two versions of the CJBAT, however, at least 6 months need to pass between retaking one and the same version. The test is valid only for law enforcement agencies in Florida and it is required that it is taken in a test center within the state. Out-of-state testing used to be allowed several years ago but is no longer available.
Types of CJBAT
CJBAT is offered both as a paper and pencil and computer-based version. The difference is only in the mode, otherwise, the number of questions, the duration, and the requirements are the same. Each applicant can choose the form of the test to take.
There are two types of CJBAT that the aspiring police officers in Florida can take – one version is developed by I/O Solutions and the other by Morris & McDaniel.
- I/O Solutions CJBAT test format
The CJBAT developed by I/O Solutions contains 125 multiple-choice questions that are distributed among 10 ability areas. There is a test version that is designed for law enforcement officers and a test version that is designed for correction officers. Each of them contains the same number of questions and should be completed within two and a half hours. The test is offered both in paper and pencil format and as a computer-based version. Note that each administration center decides on the format they offer, so if you have any preferences, make sure to select the right testing facility.
The questions are divided in the different ability areas as follows:
|Ability Area||Law Enforcement Officers Test||Correction Officers Test|
|Flexibility of closure||3||3|
The passing score for this CJBAT test is 79% and is valid for a period of four years.
- Morris & Mc Daniel CJBAT test format
The CJBAT designed by Morris & McDaniel is also divided into two types – The Entry-Level Police Exam (CJBAT for Law Enforcement) and the Entry-Level Correctional Officer Exam (CJBAT for Corrections). Each type is offered in three versions that have the same format. The test is divided into two parts. In the first part, the applicants receive a booklet of study materials and have 45 minutes to review the information they contain and remember it. After that, the study materials are taken away and the actual testing begins. The applicants have two hours to answer 100 multiple-choice questions, the first group of which is related to the study materials distributed to them in the first part of the exam.
The questions on the test are divided into 9 ability areas for both Law Enforcement and Corrections as shown below:
- Deductive Reasoning
- Information Ordering
- Inductive Reasoning
- Problem Sensitivity
- Spatial Orientation
- Written Comprehension
- Written Expression
- Flexibility of Closure
The test is offered both in paper and pencil format and as a computer-based version. Note that each administration center decides on the format they offer, so if you have any preferences, make sure to select the right testing facility.
Abilities tested by the CJBAT
The CJBAT is designed in such a way that it checks the candidates’ abilities, which are important for their success as law enforcement and correction officers. Those skills were determined through a comprehensive job analysis and cover three main areas. The abilities are evaluated through a series of questions grouped in nine or ten categories, depending on the CJBAT author.
- Language abilities
The language abilities of the candidate are tested via three types of questions: Written comprehension, written expression, and oral expression. They reveal the ability of the person to communicate clearly, to read and understand written words, sentences, texts and to write them properly.
- Visualization abilities
The visualization abilities of the candidate are tested via three types of questions: Spatial orientation, memorization and flexibility of closure. The aim of the questions is to determine how well the candidate can determine their own location in relation to other objects, can they read a map, give directions, describe the location of an object or find an object hidden among similar objects. The questions focused on memorization test your ability to memorize different details – number of participants in an activity, specific features of a person, etc.
- Reasoning abilities
The reasoning abilities of the candidate are tested via four types of questions: Deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, information ordering, and problem sensitivity. The questions on the test evaluate whether the candidate can draw conclusions based on specific information or use pieces of information to form a logical story or rule. They also check their ability to evaluate a given situation and predict the outcome in order to react properly.
Each of these abilities is vital for those employed in the field of law enforcement and hence, the CJBAT measures the preparedness of aspiring officers to cope with the requirements and challenges of the job they have chosen.
CJBAT Sample questions with tips and answers
In order to be successful on the CJBAT, it is necessary for the candidates to get a proper preparation. Buying a study guide or attending an online course, as the one developed by Sgt Godoy is quite a clever move. It will let you get familiar with the type of questions to expect in each section and how to better proceed while answering them.
Practice makes perfect, so below you can find a few sample questions as provided in the CJBAT Test Preparation for Law Enforcement Officer and Corrections Officer Candidates by I/O Solutions along with answers and tips.
- A written comprehension question may look like this:
Ms. Amelia Winters called the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at approximately 8:45 p.m. Wednesday evening to report a burglary in her apartment. Ms. Winters, who lives with three roommates, reported that she was alone in the apartment at the time of the incident. She was reading in the living room when she heard a noise in the bedroom. She did not immediately investigate the situation because she assumed that she must not have noticed one of her roommates returning home early. However, when her greetings went unanswered, she walked into the bedroom to see who was in the apartment. She walked through her bedroom, looked into an adjoining bathroom and discovered a young Caucasian male, approximately six feet tall, age 14-16, standing in her shower, attempting to keep out of sight. He had short brown hair and was wearing sunglasses. He was wearing a plain red t-shirt, blue jeans and black Nike sneakers. Ms. Winters ordered the young man to leave, and he ran into the bedroom and climbed out of an open bedroom window. After he left, Ms. Winters suddenly grew fearful and went next door to a neighbor’s apartment to seek help and call the police. When she returned, she noticed that her purse had been stolen. She did not know exactly when the purse had been stolen although she remembered that she had last seen it lying on her bed.
- Where was the suspected burglar hiding?
a) In the living room.
b) In the bedroom.
c) Inside an adjoining bathroom in the shower.
d) Just beneath an open bedroom window.
The correct answer is c).
In order to be able to answer this type of questions on the day of the exam, it is a good idea to read the question first and then the text. This will give you an idea on what to focus while reading. Make sure that you understand the question and read all options prior to choosing an answer.
- A written expression question may look like this:
For written expression sample question 1, determine which word in the sentence is spelled incorrectly. There will be only one misspelled word in this sentence.
- Because Officer Vogel responded to the home invasion call late in his shift, he had to work six hours of overtime.
- a) Because b) responded c) invasion d) overtime
The correct answer is c) as it should be spelled invasion.
Make sure that you pay attention what exactly you are required to do – find a correctly or incorrectly spelled word, for example, and look carefully and the options.
As a whole, to improve your language abilities it is recommended to read a lot prior to the exam – books, magazines, newspapers, everything will be useful. You can make notes of words that are unfamiliar and thus learn them. You can also consult a good grammar book to catch up on your knowledge about verb tenses, passive voice or other terms.
- A spatial orientation question may look like this:
- Deputy Sheriffs Charleston and Davis are at the corner of Oak Street and Lyon Avenue. They receive a call to report to the site of a traffic accident at Allison Lane and Forest Preserve Road. What would be the shortest (least distance) route for them to take to the site of the accident?
a) Travel east on Oak Street, then north on Bellview Terrace and then east on Allison Lane.
b) Travel west on Oak Street, then north on Oz Lane, then east and southeast on Elm Street and then southwest on Loop Street.
c) Travel east on Oak Street and then northeast on Allison Lane.
d) Travel west on Oak Street, then north on Oz Lane, then east on Maple Street, then south on Bellview Terrace and then east on Allison Lane.
The answer to this question is a).
It is necessary to read the maps and the passages very careful in this section. There may be information about certain streets are one-way only or blocked. Take this into account when choosing the right route. It is good to practice with different maps at home so that you can polish that skill.
- A memorization sample question may look like this:
- How many correctional officers can be seen in the picture? a) One b) Two c) Three d) Four
The correct answer is b).
This type of questions will include a picture to look at for 2 minutes and then a few questions related to it, while you are no longer allowed to look. Practice this at home – looking at a picture from a magazine, for example, and then try to describe what you saw.
- A problem sensitivity question may look like this:
Officer Denver is patrolling a neighborhood around 3:30 a.m. when she notices a car that must be traveling at least 25 miles per hour over the speed limit. She pulls the car over for a traffic stop. As she steps out of the squad car, the driver of the car steps out of his vehicle and walks towards her with his license and registration. Before Officer Denver can say a word, the driver apologizes for speeding and explains that he had just received a call about an emergency at home. He shows Officer Denver his driver’s license and says that he hopes that the situation can be taken care of quickly. The man seems alert and agitated; his speech is clear, and he does not seem to have problems walking. Officer Denver orders the man to go back inside his car. She adds that she will also need to see proof of insurance. The man offers to go back to the car and get the proof of insurance for her. Officer Denver again orders the man to return to his car. The man snaps, “Why can’t we just take care of this here?” He immediately apologizes for losing his temper; however, Officer Denver must order him to return to his car a third time before he complies.
- Based on the above information, what, if anything, is most likely to be the man’s problem?
a) The man is just impatient to return home so that he can deal with a family emergency.
b) The man has something in his car that he does not want Officer Denver to see.
c) The man is under the influence of alcohol.
d) The man is nervous because he has no insurance.
The correct answer is b).
You need to rely on your common sense for this type of questions. Carefully check all the answers to see which one relates to the situation described. If you are asked what is the first step to do, think of the consequences and choose the one that sounds right and sensible.
- A deductive reasoning question may look like this:
In the event of a crash involving death or personal injuries, the following procedures are to be followed: The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in the injury of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of statute 316.062. Any person who willfully violates this paragraph is guilty of a felony of the third degree.
The driver of any vehicle involved in a crash resulting in the death of any person must immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the crash, or as close thereto as possible, and must remain at the scene of the crash until he or she has fulfilled the requirements of statute 316.062. Any person who willfully violates this paragraph is guilty of a felony of the second degree.
The department shall revoke the driver’s license of the person convicted of violating the above regulations.
Every stop must be made without obstructing traffic more than is necessary, and, if a damaged vehicle is obstructing traffic, the driver of the vehicle must make every reasonable effort to move the vehicle or have it moved so as not to obstruct the regular flow of traffic. Any person who fails to comply with this subsection shall be cited for a non-moving violation.
- Joe Biglietta was driving his car, a white 1997 Ford Explorer, and talking on his cell phone on his way to work. Witnesses say that he ran a red light at the corner of Main and Broadway and crashed into the driver’s side door of Mary Churchill, who was driving a red 1994 Pontiac Grand Prix. Ms. Churchill was not wearing her seatbelt and suffered severe injuries to her head, her neck and her shoulder. It is unclear what type of injuries Mr. Biglietta sustained because as soon as he discovered that he could still drive his car, he left the scene before police arrived. Police found Mr. Biglietta at his home shortly afterward. According to the above information, Mr. Biglietta will be charged with which of the following for leaving the scene of the accident?
a) No charge because Ms. Churchill’s injuries were caused by her failure to wear her seatbelt.
b) A non-moving violation.
c) A felony of the second degree.
d) A felony of the third degree.
The correct answer is d).
To answer this type of questions you need to pay attention to details that you need and ignore those, which are irrelevant, and carefully read both the policies/rules and the questions asked before you can make the right assumption. You can practice your deductive skills by reading office policies or school regulations so that you get familiar with the type of texts.
- An inductive reasoning question may look like this:
In 1997, a new public-awareness campaign against domestic violence was established. The campaign included advertisements in local newspapers, billboards on state highways and lectures at community centers. Based on the information provided in the previous graph, how successful was this campaign?
a) The campaign was successful in decreasing the number of domestic violence incidents from 1997-2000.
b) The campaign was unsuccessful in decreasing the number of domestic violence incidents from 1997-2000.
c) The campaign was highly successful in 1997, but the number of domestic violence incidents increased afterward.
d) The campaign was mostly successful because although the number of domestic violence incidents increased from 1998- 1999, there was a drastic decrease in domestic violence incidents from 1999-2000.
The correct answer is a).
To be better prepared for this type of questions, you need to practice looking at charts and graphs and drawing your own conclusions. Then, you can compare them with the actual findings. On the test, make sure to examine all the details contained in the chart or graph and read carefully the question related to it.
- An information ordering question may look like this:
Officer Hill has just finished interviewing the victim of a home invasion and assault. The following six statements appeared in the victim’s account of the incident.
- When I heard a loud pounding on our front door, I looked through the living room window and saw Charles Dixon, a friend of my boyfriend, standing outside.
- Charles hit me repeatedly around my head, arms and shoulders with a baseball bat in the backyard.
- I didn’t want to answer the door because I knew that Charles was very angry with my boyfriend, and he had threatened us several times over the phone.
- Charles kicked open the front door and chased me through the house.
- I escaped the house through the back door in the kitchen, but Charles caught up with me in the backyard.
- A neighbor heard my cries and chased Charles away.
- What is the most logical order of these statements?
- a) 6, 1, 3, 5, 4, 2
- b) 2, 4, 5, 3, 1, 6
- c) 1, 3, 4, 5, 2, 6
- d) 4, 3, 5, 2, 6, 1
The correct answer is c).
To answer the questions properly, you need to look for certain clues, such as “before”, “after” or other such words contained in the statements. At home, you can prepare by cutting into segments the text of a recipe or instruction manual and trying to assemble it back in order.
The more you practice, the better you will get with the CJBAT questions. It is important to be calm at the exam and give answers to all the questions. Even if you are not sure which is the right option, a wild guess is better than a blank. You will not be punished for wrong answers and you may be lucky in guessing the right one. Make sure to keep track of your time and try to answer those questions first that you find the easiest. Do not dwell too long on a question that you do not understand or find difficult.
The CJBAT is the first of series of test that you need to pass in order to become law enforcement or correction officer. Keep in mind that it is administered and valid only for the state of Florida, so if you browse job openings for other states, make sure to check their requirements as well.