Written Exam

Interview Now > California  > Law Enforcement > Written Exam

Written Exam

The written exam is another component of the hiring process in becoming a police officer. This is intended to check your language abilities and skills because effective communication is vital to discussing with your superiors, collaborating with your fellow colleagues, and filing paperwork and records. The popular written exams for becoming a police officer include the PELLETB (POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery) and the NTN (National Testing Network).

A board interviews a police recruit


This exam assesses writing, reading, and reasoning ability. The writing component of the test is broken down into 3 parts—spelling, vocabulary, and clarity—while the reading component is broken down into 2 parts—reading comprehension and cloze (fill in the blank). This is the most commonly administered written test for police in California.

As with any language test, it is very important that you practice constantly to familiarize yourself with the test format. When you study, make sure you’re in a place where you can focus without any distractions.

On the day of the test, it’s better to attempt all the questions, even if you’re not sure what the answer is. To practice, you can find example questions here.

Usually, you’ll take the PELLETB at a police station or designated testing location, like the ones listed here. The test will take 2.5 hours, so make sure you’re used to the length.

NTN Exam

Another alternative test that you can take in California is administered by the National Testing Network (NTN). This one also consists of 3 sections—a human relations, reading, and an incident observation and report writing test.

The human relations test is video-based. You’ll watch a video establishing a certain situation, and you will have to respond to questions regarding the scenario. The reading portion will mostly test your vocabulary usage and your reading comprehension and understanding. Finally, during the incident observation and report writing section, you’ll watch a situational video, then draft a report of the scenario. This test focuses on responses to situational questions and allows you to display your critical thinking and verbal communication abilities.

With this test, it’s important for you to listen and make sure to pay close attention to all the video and written materials.

You can find practice tests here. To find out how to take the official police written exam, which also lasts 2.5 hours, check out the National Testing Network website for dates and testing locations.