Read below to learn about what the California police physical ability test and the WSTB ( Work Sample Test Battery ) is like and how to best prepare for them. These standards were compiled according to local departmental standards and the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards Training ( POST ), a statewide group that establishes the baseline requirements for applicants to become police officers.
The physical ability test is used to measure aspiring police officers’ physical strengths and capabilities. In addition, local agencies in the state often have their own requirements as part of their job application process. The test, while varying across departments, generally has five sections targeting specific strengths. These are:
This article provides a set of general plans and sections for the police agility test, but they can differ significantly. For example, the San Francisco Police Department has certain weight and height guidelines for prospective officers to meet. While not all departments have these requirements directly implemented, keep in mind that they could factor into the other requirements you must fulfill ( ie. different weights will affect expected running speed ). Beyond the height and weight standards at the SFPD, their test also measures hand strength ( with a dynamometer ), core strength (as many sit ups as possible in a minute ), upper body strength ( as many push ups as possible in a minute), and agility ( running and climbing over a wall ). There are 0-8 points possible in each of the four sections mentioned and you must get over 20 points, with at least 1 point in each section. Expected results and a detailed scoring breakdown are found on the table at this site.
Meanwhile, the Newport Beach Police Department has five parts: an obstacle course (to be completed in less than 2:03 minutes), a weapon simulation (use a handgun 5 times/hand), vehicle push (push a police vehicle in less than 10 seconds), body drag (move a 165 lb mannequin 45 feet in less than 15 seconds), and a run (run 515 yards in less than 1:52 minutes).
Other government organizations may also require physical ability tests. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) requires 24 push ups in 1 minute, 31 sit ups in 1 minute, a 300 meter run in 70 seconds, and a 1.5 mile run in 13 min and 35 seconds or less.
Some police departments like the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety and the San José Police Department administer the WSTB (Work Sample Test Battery), which consists of a 9-yard obstacle course, a 32-foot body drag of 165 lbs, a 6-foot chain link fence climb, a 6-foot solid wall climb, and a 500-yard sprint, as well as a 1.5-mile run. If you’re interested in taking one in Northern California, the tests are hosted by South Bay Regional Academy and you can sign up here at this link.
Meanwhile, the Newport Beach Police Department has five parts: an obstacle course ( to be completed in less than 2:03 minutes ), a weapon simulation ( use a handgun 5 times/hand ), vehicle push (push a police vehicle in less than 10 seconds), body drag ( move a 165 lb mannequin 45 feet in less than 15 seconds ), and a run ( run 515 yards in less than 1:52 minutes ).
According to POST, officers do not need to take the California police physical ability test to become certified in California, POST requires taking a physical conditioning program at the end of a mandatory academy training. To pass this examination, their training recommendations are as follows:
When training, remember to know your limits and always do warm-up and cool-down exercises. Never overexert yourself as this increases your chances of long term muscle or joint injury. Beyond just training for your test, make sure to follow some nutrition tips to keep your body healthy:
Source: the American Heart Association
Before your test, get a good night’s sleep, stay hydrated, and eat solid meals to keep your energy up! Bring some food and water, and stay focused and calm during your exam.
Please keep in mind that each city’s police physical ability test is different, so make sure to check with your local department for specific requirements.