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 Prepare For The Tests

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John Luther
John Luther

Posts : 22
Join date : 2013-04-10

PostSubject: Prepare For The Tests   11/4/2013, 19:53

Prepare For The Tests

The Seven Steps
Step 1 - Preliminary Background Application (PBA) and Job Preview Questionnaire (JPQ)
Step 2 - Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE)
Step 3 - Background Investigation and Polygraph Exam
Step 4 - Physical Abilities Test
Step 5 - Department Interview
Step 6 - Medical Evaluation and Psychological Evaluation
Step 7 - Certification and Appointment


Step 1 - The Preliminary Background Application and Job Preview Questionnaire
The Preliminary Background Application (PBA) will help you decide if you have a realistic chance of success in some of the common areas of the background investigation portion of the selection process and will identify issues that you should resolve before beginning. The Job Preview Questionnaire (JPQ) will help you better understand the nature of the work you will be performing as a Police Officer. This combined test is available online. You can take it at any time. If, after receiving your PBA results and JPQ results, you believe the time is right to take the written test, you must print the results and bring them with you to the written test site.

If issues are identified in your PBA and JPQ, you can still take the test. The purpose of the PBA and JPQ is twofold: the feedback will allow you to make a fully informed decision about whether or not to continue, and you will have some advance awareness of some of the issues you need to begin working to resolve or improve.

However, the selection process is extremely competitive. You will want your application considered in the best possible light. If you begin the process at a time when you have not yet demonstrated the maturity and judgment appropriate for a Police Officer, you are not likely to be successful in this examination. No one expects a candidate to have a "perfect" record. However, evidence of recent, poor choices in life, cannot be mitigated overnight. Take the time now to begin to resolve the issues identified in your letter.

Plain talk about this test part: Be honest. Be thoughtful about your answers. Don't take this test until you are really ready to present your qualifications in the best possible light.


Step 2 - The Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE)
The Personal Qualifications Essay (PQE) is administered at the written test site. The PQE requires you to write essays in response to questions regarding demonstration of your personal qualifications for Police Officer. Essays will be evaluated based on your written communication skill and demonstrated effectiveness in judgement and decision-making and behavioral flexibility.

Candidates are not successful in the PQE for numerous reasons, including the following:

    • Using poor examples that fail to showcase their abilities and potential

    • Failure to provide enough details that would make the essays clear and easier to understand

    • Failure to stay on topic (i.e. rambling, too much detail, or irrelevant information)

    • Failure to provide all information asked for in the essay questions (i.e. did not completely answer the questions)

    • Lacks adequate written communication skills (i.e. English usage, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.)

Factors Judged During PQE Rating

    Written communication skill
    Police Officers are required to fill out many different forms, logs, and reports. Correspondingly, Police Officers must write legibly and clearly and have a good working knowledge of English grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, and spelling. Police Officers must be concise, descriptive, and thorough in all written documents. You must read the questions carefully to ensure that your answers are appropriate to the questions.

    Judgement and decision-making
    This has long been part of what a Police Officer does on a daily basis. Police Officers are expected to recognize small problems and solve them before they become big problems. They must note trends and develop preventive solutions to potential long-term problems. Think about problems you have confronted in the past and how you approached them. Why did you do what you did? Would you do it again?

    Behavioral Flexibility
    Police Officers must be able to work alone, responsible only for their own actions; with a partner, where responsibility is shared; as a member of a team, capable of following the orders of others and working cooperatively with other team members; or as a leader, taking control of a situation and directing or helping others. Officers must be able to assume these different responsibilities at appropriate times and as circumstances change, often during a single work shift or even during a single event. Plan to talk about your past behavior and how it has prepared you to adapt to this behavioral flexibility.

What to think about before taking the PQE
There is no right or wrong answers to the questions. You will be asked to elicit the information needed to evaluate your qualifications for each of the factors discussed above. Each candidate's response will be unique to that candidate, based on his or her life experiences. Prior to your PQE you may want to spend some time reviewing the many events and incidents that make up your personal history and that have helped make you who you are today. Which of these many experiences have prepared you for the position of Police Officer and the factors on which you will be rated?

Your PQE Score
The passing score for the PQE portion is 75% or higher, and your score is valid for 18 weeks. If you do not pass, you may take the PQE once every six weeks.

Your score determines your rank on the eligible list and what happens next. The City can only consider candidates in order of their score on the list. The highest scoring candidates will be scheduled for additional testing. The lowest scoring candidates will not be considered further. If your score is in the middle, you may be scheduled for some further testing, but there is no guarantee that you will ultimately be successful.

The number of candidates needed (and what score is high enough to be called for further processing) depends on two major factors -- the number of appointments expected and the number of applicants. These numbers can change dramatically over time, with new applicants testing every week, making it impossible to exactly predict what will happen to you. Continuing assessment of these external factors is done to determine what scores will be needed to fill expected Academy classes.

If you have one of the very highest scores, you can expect to be scheduled to take the Physical Abilities Test (PAT) and to complete the Preliminary Investigative Questionnaire (PIQ). If you have one of the lowest passing scores, you will not hear further from the City, but you may recompete to try to improve your score. If you are in the middle ranges, you will be notified by mail if further processing is available to candidates with your score. It is your responsibility to make sure your contact information is up to date.

Plain talk about this test part:
Read the essay questions and make sure that you answer the questions that are asked. Reread your answers and look for careless errors. You will be taking this test online. You shouldn't only rely on spell-check. It's not enough that you know how to write or have created excellent written papers in the past - you have to demonstrate your skill on the day of the test.

Tips for the test day

    • When you write your essays, consider a thoughtful answer to the question before you begin writing.

    • Read the question carefully and answer the question as it is asked.

    • Save time to review your essays and correct any careless grammatical or spelling errors you can find. It's not enough to know proper grammar and how to spell - you have to demonstrate your knowledge on test day. Don't be overconfident - check your work.


Step 3 - Background Investigation
Prior to the Background Interview you will be required to complete a Personal History Form, which requires the compilation of extensive biographical information. On the day of the Background Interview you must complete a comprehensive questionnaire. A background investigator will review the Personal History Form and questionnaire and interview you about any issues noted. You will also be fingerprinted. If, based on the information obtained, it appears that you may meet the City's background standards, a thorough field investigation will be conducted. The field investigation includes checks of employment, police, financial, education, and military records and interviews with family members, neighbors, supervisors, co-workers, and friends. The investigation may take from 6 to 18 days to complete. You will be evaluated on your past behavior and the extent to which your behavior demonstrates positive traits that support your candidacy for Police Officer. The findings of the background investigation are valid for 12 weeks.

Plain talk about this test part: Honesty is the best policy. Everyone has done things they're not proud of, but the worst possible action is to try to cover it up.

Quick Tips

    • Type or print neatly when filling out your Personal History Form (PHF).

    • You must do the research necessary to provide accurate answers in every area. "I do not remember" is not an acceptable answer on your PHF.

    • Be well rested and have a good meal before your background interview. Hunger and thirst can distract you.

    • Dress comfortably. (Business casual, Military Class C Uniform)

    • Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled background interview appointment time.

Background Standards
The Background Standards for public safety positions in the City of Los Santos reflect the very high standards demanded of candidates for public safety job classifications and safety sensitive positions within City service. They are designed to identify the kinds of behaviors which are required of Public Safety Officers serving the citizens of the City of Los Santos. Each candidate's past choices, judgments, and behaviors will be compared to these demanding standards. Candidates who fall short of demonstrating consistently sound decision making, maturity, and responsible past behaviors in each of these areas will not be further considered for employment in these critical positions.

Each Standard represents an area that is essential for success in public safety employment. Positions such as Police Officer, Police Specialist, and Special Officer are positions of special public trust for which these exacting standards have been designed. The City identifies and selects only those individuals with the highest chance of success in their training and in continuing employment in these critical positions.

Candidates are asked to critically assess their own background in light of these Standards before beginning the examination process.


Public Safety Officers must be able to draw on extraordinary levels of tact and diplomacy to achieve their goals while dealing with the diverse population of the City of Los Santos. They must be able to use advice, appropriate warnings and persuasion to engender cooperation from the public. Additionally, they must be able to work effectively either as an individual or as a member of a larger team. Each candidate shall demonstrate an understanding of the skills necessary to deal effectively with others in a cooperative and courteous manner. Desired behaviors may include, but are not limited to:

    • Understanding the impact of words and behavior on others, and modifying one's own behavior, comments, or course of action accordingly

    • Concern for the feelings and perspectives of others

    • Demonstration of impartiality in dealing with issues of age, gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, religion, and cultural diversity

    • Use of tact and diplomacy to achieve goals, resolve disputes, and to diffuse or deescalate conflict

    • Ability to work effectively as a member of a team, making appropriate contributions and recognizing the achievements of others

    Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence
    Incidents of domestic violence; use of verbal or physical abuse or violence toward others indicating a lack of self-control; inability to get along with others in work or personal life; failure to listen effectively; use of derogatory stereotypes in jokes or daily language; making rude and/or condescending remarks to or about others; use of physical force to resolve disputes; demonstrated overreaction to criticism; inability to work effectively as a "team player"; disruptive/challenging to authority; use of harassment, threats, or intimidation to gain an advantage.

Public Safety Officers must possess extraordinarily good sense and must demonstrate through their past behavior that they can analyze a situation quickly, make sound and responsible decisions, and take appropriate action. Desired behaviors may include, but are not limited to the ability to:

    • Critically analyze options and determine an appropriate course of action in a given situation

    • Act assertively and without hesitation, but without overreacting

    • Make quick, responsible decisions under pressure

    • Persuade others to own point of view or to desired course of action

    • Know when to make an exception; exercise appropriate discretion

    • Prioritize competing demands

    • Simultaneously and appropriately address multiple tasks

    • Make appropriate choices without constant supervision or detailed instructions

    • Creatively develop innovative solutions to problems

    Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence
    Making poor choices given known circumstances; indecision when options are not clear-cut; failure to take action when appropriate or demonstrating insecurity about making a decision ; behavior indicating poor judgment or failure to consider appropriate options; failure to learn from past mistakes; inability or unwillingness to modify a position; rigid adherence to rules without consideration of alternative information; failure to see or consider all options; succumbing to peer pressure.

Public Safety Officers must present a background which demonstrates maturity and readiness for such employment. Their past choices must be free from behavior inappropriate to the position being sought. A significant degree of personal discipline must be displayed to ensure that candidates can consistently refrain from taking actions which may be detrimental to their own health and well-being or the health and well-being of others. They must be able to maintain their composure and stay in control during critical situations, maintain a positive attitude, and accept constructive criticism without becoming defensive. Desired behaviors may include, but are not limited to the ability to:

    • Refraining from engaging in conduct which, by its very nature, would reflect poorly on the City and limit a Public Safety Officer's ability to do his or her job effectively

    • Adhering to legal and societal constraints and requirements of conduct

    • Considering the consequences prior to taking an action

    • Accepting responsibility for past actions and mistakes

    • Taking proper precautions and avoid unnecessarily risky behavior

    • Using constructive criticism to improve performance

    • Working well in unstructured situations with minimal supervision

    Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence
    Use of illegal drugs; abuse of alcohol or prescription medications; failure to follow all laws and common rules of conduct; associating with individuals who break the law; being argumentative, defensive, or blaming others (or circumstances) for mistakes made; past behavior which indicates a tendency to resort to use of force to gain objectives; overbearing in approach to resolving problems; unnecessarily confrontational taking unnecessary personal risks; placing others at risk through one's own actions; reacting childishly or with anger to criticism or disappointment.

Public Safety Officers are required to demonstrate the highest possible personal integrity through their honesty and ethical conduct. They must be able to maintain high standards of personal conduct, abide by the law, and demonstrate attributes such as truthfulness and fairness in relationships with others. Each candidate must demonstrate a willingness to work within "the system". Examples of behaviors which meet this standard include, but are not limited to:

    • Being truthful in dealings with others

    • Fully cooperating and being completely forthcoming during the pre-employment selection process

    • Admitting and understanding past mistakes

    • Refraining from using employment or a position of authority for personal gain

    • Refraining from "bending" rules or otherwise trying to "beat the system"

    • Accepting responsibility for one's own actions

    Examples of Potentially Disqualifying Evidence
    Makes false and/or misleading statements or intentionally omits relevant information; purposefully withholds information; minimizes past mistakes or errors; blames others/makes excuses for mistakes; attempts to induce others to give false information; "bends" the rules or uses a position of authority for personal gain; refuses to accept responsibility for improper actions; condones the unethical behavior of others through silence; engages in illegal or immoral activities of such a nature that would be offensive to contemporary community standards of propriety; theft; fraud.

Public Safety Officers are required to demonstrate the ability to set and achieve personal and professional goals. Candidates for public safety positions can best position themselves for positive consideration through continuing achievement in the workplace, educational environment, volunteer activities and/or community involvement. Each candidate must demonstrate initiative and the ability to follow through on all commitments without constant supervision and detailed instruction. Candidates have the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to set and achieve goals, their ability to work in a diligent, reliable, and conscientious manner in accordance with specific rules and policies, and their readiness for, and commitment to, public service through the following:

    • Advancement in the workplace through promotion or increased responsibilities

    • Completing work as required and on schedule

    • Meeting high standards for punctuality and attendance

    • Educational achievement

    • Easily meeting unpredictable or unexpected challenges

[liat]Examples of potentially disqualifying evidence
Failure to meet commitments to work, school, family, volunteer or community activities.[/list]

It is in every candidate's best interest to be completely forthcoming and truthful during the background investigation process. Many candidates are disqualified during the background portion of the selection process as a result of dishonesty. These candidates purposely omit information they think will result in their removal from the selection process, when that may not have been the case. When this information is later discovered during the background investigation, the candidate is disqualified, but not necessarily for the behavior he or she failed to disclose. Rather, the candidate is disqualified for what the failure to provide complete, accurate, and honest information reveals about his or her character.


Step 4 - The Physical Abilities Test
The Physical Abilities Test (PAT) consists of two portions. The first portion of the test measures strength, agility, and endurance; it is normally offered twice monthly. The second portion of the test measures aerobic capacity; it will usually be administered after the Medical Evaluation. The PAT is a pass/fail test. Passing the PAT only indicates the minimum physical ability required to undertake academy training. Once in the academy, you will be required to perform at very high physical levels. Just because you pass both portions of the PAT does not mean that you have the strength or conditioning needed to meet the continuing physical requirements of the academy.

If you pass the PAT, your scores will remain valid for a maximum of one year or as long as the City continues to use this current test format.

Candidates who fail the Law Enforcement Officer Physical Abilities Test (PAT) must complete a mock Physical Fitness Qualifier (PFQ) test during one of the Candidate Assistance Program (CAP) sessions. Failure to pass the PAT does not remove you from the eligible list. However, you will not be allowed to reschedule the PAT until you complete a mock PFQ.

All phases of the Police Officer examination are continually under review and enhancements can be implemented at any time. Watch the "New Info" section of this website for updates on new test procedures.

Physical Conditioning Before the Test
Among the most challenging aspects for candidates and recruits are the physical requirements of both the Police Officer examination and the Police Academy. If you find the PAT to be difficult or if you just barely pass the PAT, you can expect to experience significant difficulty with the physical requirements of the academy and should invest maximum effort in continuing to build your physical capabilities. Physical conditioning is emphasized because of the nature of both the academy training program and the job. Police work involves physical activities.

The ACADEMY PHYSICAL TRAINING PROGRAM is intense and demanding, and the first physical fitness test occurs during the first week of the Academy. Therefore it is critical that candidates don't wait until they are in the Academy to get into good physical shape. It is recommended to begin a physical conditioning program as soon as you apply.

The Four-Day Pre-Academy Fitness Program was designed to help candidates who want to work out on their own to develop strength and fitness levels that will help them pass PAT and succeed in the Academy.

The Physical Abilities Test (PAT) First Portion
The first portion of the PAT consists of physical challenges designed to measure your agility, strength, and endurance. It is a pass/fail qualifying test and you may take the test as often as necessary to pass. This portion of the PAT consists of three events administered in the following order:

    Side Step (Agility) - This test measures coordination. You begin by straddling a centerline on the floor. When instructed to begin, you will sidestep or slide to an outer line four feet to your right, then sidestep or slide back across the center-line to an outer line four feet to the left of the centerline, and then back to the right, and so on. You will have 10 seconds to touch or cross the outer lines as many times as you can. You will perform the test twice and your final score will be the average of the two trials.

    Bicycle (Endurance) - This test measures muscular endurance. You will have two minutes to pedal as fast as you can against a pre-set resistance. You will perform the test once and your final score will be the number of revolutions you can do in the two minutes.

The Physical Abilities Test (PAT) Second Portion
The second portion of the PAT consists of a measure of aerobic capacity. It is a pass/fail qualifying test and you may take the test as often as necessary to pass. This portion of the PAT consists of one event:

[list]Run For Hope - This test measures aerobic capacity by running 1.5 miles in 14 minutes. During the test, speed and incline of the run will vary and, as a result, the actual test time is 10 minutes and 20 seconds. The pass/fail score for this test is based upon your completion of this test for the specified period.

Plain talk about this test part - Passing this test is only the first step toward achieving the physical conditioning that is necessary for success in the Police Academy. For everyone, but especially if you needed multiple tries to pass or struggled to pass the two portions of this test, begin a physical preparation program immediately. Consider either the self-directed physical conditioning or the CAP program.


Step 5 - The Department Interview
A panel interview will be conducted to assess your personal accomplishment, job motivation, continuous learning orientation, instrumentality, interpersonal skills, and oral communication skills. Only those candidates who are selected during this part of the process will receive a Conditional Job Offer.

If you fail, you may retake the interview after 3 months. If you subsequently attend an Orientation/Oral Prep Seminar, you will not be required to wait 3 weeks for another interview.

Orientation/Oral Prep Seminars are held every 2nd Thursday of each month (excluding holidays) at the Los Santos PD.


Step 6 - Medical Evaluation and Psychological Evaluation
Medical Evaluation

The medical examination is thorough and it is essential that you be in excellent physical, emotional, and mental health with no conditions that restrict the ability to safely perform the essential functions of the police officer job. Good physical condition is necessary, as training in the Academy is rigorous. Failure to be in excellent physical condition may delay or disrupt training and result in a dismissal from the Academy. Medical examination results are valid for up to 12 weeks, at the discretion of the City's medical staff. Written psychological tests (valid for up to 18 weeks) and the second portion of the PAT will be administered at this time.

Psychological Evaluation
The Psychological Evaluation consists of an individual oral interview and evaluation by a Chief of Police on factors related to successful performance in the difficult and stressful job of Police Officer. The information evaluated includes the written psychological tests completed during the medical evaluation along with information obtained in the background investigation process.

Plain talk about this test part: If you know you had prior treatment or a major injury, go to your doctor in advance and bring your records with you to the examination.


Step 7 - Certification and Appointment
Certification and Appointment are the final steps in the selection process. To be considered, you must have successfully completed all steps in the process. Certification of a candidate's name to the Police Department does not guarantee appointment to the Police Academy. More names are provided to the Police Department than there are vacancies so that the Department can select those best qualified for appointment based on results of the interview and test process. Appointments to the Police Academy are made by the Police Department from the civil service eligibility list. In accordance with City Policies, a pre-employment substance screening for drugs and alcohol may be required prior to appointment because this classification has been designated as Safety Sensitive. - © Copyright 2013,
City of Los Santos Personnel Department, The Los Santos Police Department.
All rights reserved.
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