The Importance of the Police Psychological Exam

California Highway Patrol uses the PELLETB Test

The police pre-employment psychological evaluation interview can be scary. Once a candidate passes their various physical and written examinations, interviews, and background investigations, the next step is often passing the psychological screening. Candidates who do this are well on their way to receiving a conditional offer of employment.

Applicants who fail the psychological screening must disclose that they failed this portion of the evaluation process when applying in the future with any law enforcement agency. This can be, significant negative mark against you when trying to get a job with any law enforcement agency. Therefore, it is vital that applicants pass the psychological screen the first time.

Learning about the exam, including how you can prepare for it, will help you pass with flying colors.

What is the Police Psychological Exam?

California Highway Patrol uses the PELLETB Test

It is…

An evaluation of your mental fitness for working in the law enforcement field.

It is NOT…

A test of your overall “sanity” or mental stability.

Being a police officer can be mentally and emotionally taxing. Officers can endure abusive language, violence, horrifying crimes scenes, and long work hours.

The purpose of the exam is to determine if you can handle the stress associated with working in the field of law enforcement.

 

CHP PELLETB Test

Some of the traits that are critical for an LE officer are:

  • Impulse control
  • Judgment
  • Reasonable courage
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Lack of bias
  • Ability to tolerate stress
  • Dependability
  • Ability to deal with supervision
  • Appropriate attitudes towards sexuality

What is Contained in the Police Psychological Exam?

PELLETB QuickPrep

The overall process may vary by agency, but the psychology screening typically includes the three components below.

1. Pre-test self-evaluation

  • Initial questionnaire about your personal history, covering topics such as your strengths and weaknesses, education, employment history, and background information (including drug use).
PELLETB QuickPrep

2. Series of questions

  • A series of questions (usually multiple choice) meant to determine your psychological fitness for the law enforcement job you are applying for
  • Typically, you will need to express your attitude to given statements by marking “strongly agree,” “agree,” “neutral,” “disagree,” or “strongly disagree.”
  • Questions will often repeat content so the psychologist can evaluate your integrity, honesty, and consistency. Simply answer honestly, and do not try to deceive the evaluator.
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3. Face-to-face interview with a psychologist

  • A psychologist will ask several questions and assess whether you possess the necessary traits and strengths to be an LE officer.
  • The psychologist will likely ask about your background, current lifestyle, previous work experience, and education.
  • They will enquire about any mental illnesses and associated symptoms you may have (e.g., fatigue, depression, etc.).
  • You will be asked about your expectations for the job.
  • The psychologist may ask you some questions that you already answered in your self-evaluation. This will allow you to clarify and explain your answers

How is the Police Psychological Exam Scored?

PELLETB QuickPrep

The results of all the components are taken into account when the psychologist gives their final opinion whether the candidate is suitable for the position or not (or for a law enforcement job at all). It is not exactly a pass or fail exam, since the opinion is usually given in three tiers:

  1. Low risk or acceptable
  2. Medium risk or marginal
  3. High risk or unacceptable

Based on the psychologist’s recommendation the agency decides whether to have you continue with the hiring process.

Best Police Psychological Exam Prep

PELLETB QuickPrep

The Police Psych Exam Prep from Job Test Prep will help familiarize you with questions in the psychological evaluation and provide you with strategy tips for helping you pass your test! 

The Psych Exam Prep contains:

  • A full 233-question personality test
  • A detailed analysis of the 30 traits required to be a Police Officer
  • A “How to Pass a Personality Test” guide

Start using the Police Psych Exam Prep