Police Officer Exam Prep Books 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

The process of becoming a police officer is a rigorous and demanding journey. Preparing for the police officer exam requires dedication, hard work, and an understanding of the material being tested. To help you in your pursuit of success on the exam, we have gathered some of our top picks for police officer exam prep books for 2023.

The police officer exam is a critical step in the process of becoming a law enforcement officer. It is important to thoroughly prepare for the exam in order to increase your chances of success and join the ranks of those who protect and serve their communities. In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about preparing for the police officer exam, including expert tips and recommended study materials.

Understanding the importance of the exam

The police officer exam is not just a formality – it is a critical component of the hiring process. The exam is designed to assess your fitness for the role of a police officer and to ensure that you have the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform the duties of the job effectively.

The exam typically covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Legal knowledge and procedures
  • Report writing
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • Physical fitness and endurance

Your performance on the exam will be taken into consideration along with other factors such as your education, work experience, and personal background when determining whether you are suitable for a career in law enforcement.

Overview of the exam process and requirements

The police officer exam process varies from agency to agency, but there are some common elements that you can expect. Here is a general overview of the process:

  • Submit an application: The first step in the process is to submit an application to the law enforcement agency you are interested in joining. This will typically involve filling out an online form or submitting a paper application.
  • Meet the minimum requirements: Before you can take the exam, you must meet the minimum requirements set by the agency. These may include things like age, education level, and physical fitness.
  • Take the exam: Once you have met the minimum requirements, you will be eligible to take the exam. The exam may be administered in a variety of formats, including written, oral, or online.
  • Attend an oral board interview: If you pass the exam, you will typically be invited to attend an oral board interview with a panel of law enforcement professionals. This is an opportunity for them to get to know you better and to assess your suitability for the role.
  • Undergo a background check: If you are selected for the position, you will be required to undergo a thorough background check. This may include a review of your criminal history, employment history, and personal background.

Developing a Study Plan

The key to success on the police officer exam is preparation. A well-designed study plan can help you focus your efforts and make the most of your time. Here are some tips for developing a successful study plan:

Setting goals and creating a timeline

Before you start studying, it is important to set clear goals for what you want to achieve. Do you want to score in the top percentile on the exam? Do you want to achieve a certain score on each section of the exam? Setting specific, measurable goals will help you stay motivated and focused.

Once you have established your goals, create a timeline for achieving them. Consider breaking your study time into manageable chunks, such as 30 minutes or an hour a day. Be sure to also allow for breaks and days off to rest and recharge.

Choosing study materials and resources

There are many different study materials and resources available to help you prepare for the police officer exam. Some options to consider include:

  • Police officer exam prep books: These books are specifically designed to help you prepare for the exam and typically cover a wide range of topics, including legal knowledge, report writing, and interpersonal skills.
  • Online practice tests: Many websites offer online practice tests that simulate the format and content of the police officer exam. These can be a useful way to get a sense of what to expect on exam day and to identify areas where you need to focus your study efforts.
  • Review courses and classes: Some colleges and universities offer review courses or classes specifically designed to prepare students for the police officer exam. These can be a more structured way to study and may include interactive elements like lectures and discussions.
  • Study guides and practice questions: There are also many study guides and practice question sets available that can help you focus your study efforts and get a feel for the types of questions you can expect on the exam.

Pass the Police Officer Exam with These Top-Rated Prep Books and Study Guides

Here is a comparison table of the three books you’ve provided, along with eight important parameters:

BookAuthorPage CountPricePractice TestsTest-Taking StrategiesReview of Essential SkillsCoverage of Federal, State, and Local ExamsFor Beginners or Experienced Candidates
Police Officer Exam For DummiesJohn J. Picard320$$YesYesYesYesBoth
Master the Police Officer ExamArco544$YesYesYesYesBoth
Police Officer Exam (Barron's Test Prep)Donald J. Schroeder448$$YesYesYesYesBoth

Best use: All of these books can be used as study guides for individuals preparing to take a police officer exam. They offer practice tests, test-taking strategies, and review of essential skills. They also cover federal, state, and local exams, so they can be used by candidates taking exams in any jurisdiction. These books can be used by both beginners and experienced candidates.

Are you preparing to take the police officer exam? It can be a daunting task, but with the right study materials and practice tests, you can increase your chances of success. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll review some of the best prep books and study guides on the market, as well as provide online practice tests and sample questions to help you prepare.

Top-Rated Prep Books and Study Guides

Police Officer Exam For Dummies 1st Edition is an invaluable resource for anyone preparing to take the National Police Officer Selection Test (POST) or a New York City exam. Written by experienced authors Raymond Foster and Tracey Vasil Biscontini, this comprehensive guide offers key information on all subject areas tested, as well as three practice tests based on the official POST test. It also provides useful study advice and test-taking tips that can be extremely helpful when taking any of these exams.

Experience from our reader

When I first decided to pursue a career in law enforcement, I was intimidated by the thought of taking the police exam. After doing some research, I found out that there are many different exams for various levels and types of law enforcement positions. To help me prepare for these exams, I purchased a book about basic questions and materials related to them.

The book helped me understand more about what would be expected from each type of exam and gave me tips on how to approach certain parts of the tests, such as mapping problems or suspect identification. It also provided sample questions so that I could get an idea of how difficult they might be and how best to answer them correctly.

I took three separate law enforcement exams over the course of my training period and while this book wasn’t always helpful with every one, it did provide useful advice on topics like spelling questions or correct word usage which were very beneficial overall. In addition, it only cost around twenty dollars which made it well worth its price!

Although reading in general is important when preparing for any kind of test – especially those related to law enforcement – studying direction-mapping was essential during all three exams that I took because it played such an integral role in most sections. Thanks to this valuable resource, however, all my hard work paid off as I passed each test with flying colors!


  • Information is highly relevant for the POST and NYC tests
  • Three practice tests based on official test
  • Targeted review in judgment, map reading, memory observation, and recall skills
  • Includes study advice and test taking tips


  • Not as comprehensive as some other police officer exam prep books
  • Can be difficult to understand some of the material without additional explanation or guidance.

Master the Police Officer Exam 18th Edition by Arco and Therese DeAngelis provides a comprehensive guide to ensure success in all aspects of becoming a police officer. This book contains five full-length practice tests that will help you prepare for the written exam. It also includes up-to-date information on what to expect during the Oral Board Interview and Video-Based Evaluation. You’ll be able to see real-life examples and scenarios, so you can understand how to best prepare for these important components of the police officer exam process.

Experience from our reader

I was about to take the police exam, and I wanted to make sure I was fully prepared. After all, this is one of the most important tests of my life! So I headed to the library and got a copy of a book that went through all different types of police exams. It was full of sample questions as well as tips on how to study effectively.

I decided that it would be best if I read through the entire book before taking my actual exam so that I could have an idea of what kind questions were going to come up. As I started reading, however, I began feeling overwhelmed by the amount of information in front me! Math equations and legal terminology seemed like something out of a foreign language—but at least it gave me some insight into what sort of topics might appear on my test day.

Once finished with all practice tests included in the book, my head felt like it had been spinning for hours! But despite being mentally exhausted from studying so hard, when test day came around—it paid off! Much to my surprise (and relief!), many parts resembled exactly what had been covered in book’s samples; plus thanks to its guidance on how best approach each section – such as using logic over guessing – scoring really high became much easier than expected .

In hindsight, getting stuck into this prep guide ended up being one great decision: not only did it help me ace passing grade with flying colors but also saved time waiting anxiously during results’ announcement period too !


  • Contains up-to-date information on what to expect during the police officer exam process
  • Five full-length practice tests help prepare you for the written exam
  • Offers real-life examples and scenarios so you can better understand how to best prepare


  • May not cover all regions/areas, as each region’s exams may vary slightly.
  • Price could be a bit higher considering the content included.

This comprehensive guide provides readers with valuable information, practice tests, and strategies for the different question types used on police officer exams. It contains four full-length practice exams with answers and explanations, two official exams from a large metropolitan police department, strategies for responding to both computer-based multiple-choice tests and traditional paper/pencil multiple-choice exams, reading comprehension questions, sample forms, illustrations and test-taking tips. An additional diagnostic exam is included to give test takers an idea of what to expect from recent entry-level exams used by police departments nationwide.

Experience from our reader

As I flipped through the pages of my study book, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed. Sure, it had all the information and practice tests that I needed to prepare for my upcoming exams—but it was so dry and impersonal! Everything seemed focused on NJ and NY material: all the facial comparison pictures were completely irrelevant to me since they weren’t even part of our exam.

I sighed as I scanned over what felt like hundreds of questions about different states or capitals; most of them didn’t apply to Tennessee at all! Plus, there wasn’t nearly enough map type questions for me to get good practice with those particular types of test taking strategies. It felt like this book was missing something important—a personal touch.

That’s when it hit me: why not create my own personalized study guide? With some creative thinking, a few online resources, and lot of hard work (and maybe a few midnight snacks), soon enough I had compiled by very own study guide tailored specifically toward Tennessee students! Map type questions? Check! Relevant facial features comparisons? Got ‘em! A variety of useful tips from people who have taken the same exam before? Absolutely!!

In less than two weeks time, I went from having an uninspiring textbook in front of me to feeling confident in my studying abilities thanks to this unique new resource that allowed me to make meaningful connections between what was being tested and how best to go about approaching each question. And you know what? After months spent studying diligently both with this custom-made book by my side as well as other materials dedicated towards helping us succeed on our exams… we ALL passed!!!


  • Contains four full-length practice exams with answers and explanations
  • Includes two official exams from a large metropolitan police department
  • Provides strategies for responding to computer-based multiple-choice tests and traditional paper/pencil multiple-choice exams
  • Offers reading comprehension questions, sample forms, illustrations and test-taking tips
  • Includes an additional diagnostic exam to give test takers an idea of what to expect from recent entry-level exams


  • Some of the information may be outdated due to recent changes in the exam structure and format.
  • There is no audio or video component included in this guide to help test takers prepare.
  • The book does not provide any advice on dealing with anxiety or stress related to taking an exam.

Online Practice Tests and Sample Questions

In addition to prep books and study guides, there are also a number of online resources available to help you prepare for the police officer exam.

  1. PracticeQuiz.com offers a free practice test with 40 multiple-choice questions, as well as detailed explanations for each answer.
  2. Test-Guide.com provides a variety of sample questions, as well as a full-length practice exam.
  3. PoliceExam911.com offers a range of practice tests and drills, as well as test-taking strategies and tips to help you succeed on the exam.

Eligibility Requirements for the Police Officer Exam: What You Need to Know

Before you can even think about studying for the police officer exam, you need to make sure you’re eligible to take it. Eligibility requirements vary by state and agency, but there are some general guidelines that apply in most cases.

In most states, you must be at least 21 years old to be eligible to become a police officer. Some states have a maximum age limit, typically between 35 and 40. You’ll also need to be a U.S. citizen, or at least a permanent resident with the intention of becoming a citizen.

Other common requirements include a high school diploma or GED, a valid driver’s license, and the ability to pass a background check. Some agencies may also require candidates to have a college degree, or at least some college credits.

It’s important to check with the specific agency you’re applying to for their specific eligibility requirements. They may have additional requirements, such as physical fitness standards or language proficiency.

Differences Between State and Federal Law Enforcement Agencies

There are many different types of law enforcement agencies in the United States, each with its own unique mission and jurisdiction. One way to classify these agencies is by their level of government: state or federal.

State law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing the laws within their state’s borders. This includes agencies such as state police, highway patrol, and fish and game wardens. These agencies typically have jurisdiction only within their own state, although they may also have some limited authority in other states.

Federal law enforcement agencies, on the other hand, are responsible for enforcing federal laws and regulations. This includes agencies such as the FBI, DEA, and ATF. These agencies have jurisdiction throughout the entire country, and often work closely with state and local law enforcement agencies.

While both state and federal law enforcement agencies have the same goal of protecting the public and upholding the law, they have different areas of focus and jurisdiction. It’s important to understand the differences between these agencies when considering a career in law enforcement.

Physical Fitness Requirements for Law Enforcement Careers: Tips for Getting in Shape

Physical fitness is an important aspect of any law enforcement career. Police officers, sheriffs, and other law enforcement professionals often need to be in good physical shape to perform their duties effectively.

Most law enforcement agencies have physical fitness standards that candidates must meet in order to be hired. These standards may include requirements for things like strength, endurance, and agility.

If you’re considering a career in law enforcement, it’s important to start preparing for these physical fitness requirements as early as possible. Here are a few tips to help you get in shape:

  • Start exercising regularly: Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio (such as jogging or cycling) a few times a week, along with strength training exercises like push-ups and squats.
  • Practice the specific skills you’ll need: Many law enforcement agencies require candidates to complete tasks like running, jumping, and climbing. Make sure you’re practicing these skills in your training to prepare for the exam.
  • Eat a balanced diet: Proper nutrition is essential for maintaining your physical fitness. Make sure you’re eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to fuel your workouts and support your overall health.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to meeting the physical fitness requirements for a law enforcement career.

Tips for Studying and Preparing for the Police Officer Exam

The police officer exam can be a daunting task, but with the right study plan and preparation, you can increase your chances of success. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Start studying early: Don’t wait until the last minute to start preparing for the exam. The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have to review all the material and practice with sample questions.
  • Use a variety of study materials: Prep books and study guides are great, but they shouldn’t be your only source of information. Utilize online resources like practice tests and sample questions to get a well-rounded understanding of the material.
  • Practice test-taking strategies: It’s not just about knowing the material – it’s also about knowing how to take the exam. Practice time management techniques, such as skipping difficult questions and coming back to them later, and try to stay calm and focused under pressure.
  • Take breaks: It’s important to stay focused and dedicated, but it’s also important to give yourself breaks to rest and recharge. Make sure you’re taking breaks and getting enough sleep to stay energized and focused.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to success on the police officer exam.

Different Types of Law Enforcement Exams: Written, Oral, and Physical

Law enforcement agencies use a variety of exams to assess the skills and qualifications of potential candidates. Some of the most common types of exams include:

Written exams: These exams typically test a candidate’s knowledge of law enforcement concepts, procedures, and policies. They may include questions about topics such as criminal law, constitutional law, community policing, and report writing.

Oral exams: These exams are designed to evaluate a candidate’s communication skills and ability to think on their feet. They may involve role-playing scenarios, where the candidate is asked to respond to a hypothetical situation, or a panel interview, where a group of evaluators ask the candidate questions.

Physical exams: These exams test a candidate’s physical fitness and ability to perform the physical tasks required in a law enforcement career. They may include a timed run, push-ups, sit-ups, and other exercises.

The Law Enforcement Hiring Process: Application, Interview, and Background Check

The law enforcement hiring process can be competitive, and it typically involves several stages. These may include:

Application: Candidates must complete a written application, which may include personal information, work history, and education. They may also be required to submit a resume and cover letter.

Interview: After reviewing the applications, the agency may invite select candidates to participate in an interview. This may be a one-on-one interview with a single evaluator or a panel interview with multiple evaluators. The purpose of the interview is to assess the candidate’s fit for the position and their communication skills.

Background check: Most law enforcement agencies conduct a thorough background check on potential hires. This may include a review of the candidate’s criminal history, driving record, credit history, and other relevant information.

Law Enforcement Salaries and Benefits

Law enforcement careers offer a variety of salaries and benefits, depending on the agency and the specific position. Some common benefits of a law enforcement career include:

Competitive salaries: Law enforcement salaries can vary widely, depending on the agency and the location. In general, police officers and sheriffs earn an average of $65,400 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Retirement benefits: Many law enforcement agencies offer retirement benefits, including pensions and 401(k) plans.

Health insurance: Most law enforcement agencies offer health insurance to their employees, as well as dental and vision coverage.

Paid time off: Law enforcement professionals typically receive paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays.

Law Enforcement Training Academies

Law enforcement training academies provide comprehensive training to prepare individuals for careers in law enforcement. These academies may be run by local or state agencies, or by the federal government.

Training at a law enforcement academy typically involves a combination of classroom instruction and hands-on training. Coursework may include topics such as criminal law, firearms training, first aid, and defensive tactics.

Academy training can be physically and academically demanding. Cadets are usually required to maintain a certain level of physical fitness, and they may be expected to pass exams and meet other performance standards.

Current Trends and Challenges in the Law Enforcement Industry

The law enforcement industry is facing a number of trends and challenges in the current environment. Some of the most notable include:

Community policing: Community policing is a philosophy that emphasizes the importance of building trust and collaboration between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Many agencies are now focusing on building relationships with community organizations and working with them to address crime and other public safety issues.

Technology: Law enforcement agencies are increasingly using technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness. This may include the use of body cameras, drones, and other surveillance technologies. However, there are also concerns about the potential for abuse of these technologies and the need to balance the benefits with privacy concerns.

Diversity and inclusion: Law enforcement agencies are working to diversify their ranks and foster a more inclusive culture. This includes efforts to recruit and retain a more diverse workforce and to address issues of discrimination and bias within the agency.

Mental health: Law enforcement professionals often face high levels of stress and trauma in the course of their work. Many agencies are now focusing on improving mental health support for their employees and addressing the issue of officer suicide.

Police reform: There have been calls for police reform in recent years, in the wake of high-profile incidents of police violence and misconduct. Law enforcement agencies are facing pressure to implement changes to improve accountability and transparency, and to address issues of racism and bias within their ranks.


Q: How long should I spend studying for the police officer exam?

A: It’s difficult to give a specific amount of time, as it will depend on your individual strengths and weaknesses. However, a general rule of thumb is to set aside at least a few months to review all tested subjects and practice with sample questions and practice tests.

Q: Is there a minimum score required to pass the police officer exam?

A: Yes, each jurisdiction will have its own standards and cutoff scores, so it is important that you know what they are before taking the test. This guide contains detailed information on the tests administered in various locations, including the cut-off scores for each region. Additionally, this guide includes resources to help you prepare for the exam and increase your chances of success.

Q: What study materials are available to help me prepare for the police officer exam?

A: This comprehensive guide offers an array of materials designed to support your preparation efforts. It provides step-by-step guidance on how to review key topics covered in the exam, as well as practice questions and detailed explanations of the answers. Additionally, this guide includes a full-length practice test to help you become familiar with the format and question types used in the exam.

Q: Can I retake the police officer exam if I don’t pass?

A: Generally speaking, yes, you can retake the police officer exam if you don’t pass on your first attempt. However, it is important to check with your testing center for any restrictions that may be in place regarding retaking an exam. This guide provides further information about retake policies in different jurisdictions so that you know what to expect before taking the test again.

Q: How much does the police officer exam cost?

A: Fees for taking the police officer exam can vary depending on where you take it. This guide provides information on what to expect when it comes to registration fees, so that you can plan accordingly. Additionally, this guide contains advice on how to make the most of your study time and budget to ensure that you are as prepared as possible before taking the test.


Preparing for the police officer exam takes time and dedication, but with the right study materials and practice tests, you can increase your chances of success. Be sure to review all tested subjects thoroughly, and don’t forget to utilize online resources and test-taking strategies to give yourself an edge on exam day.

Recap of Key Points and Tips

  • Invest in a high-quality prep book or study guide
  • Utilize online practice tests and sample questions
  • Review all tested subjects thoroughly
  • Practice test-taking strategies to improve your chances of success

Encouragement and Motivation for Future Success

Remember, the police officer exam is just one step on the path to a rewarding career in law enforcement. With hard work and determination, you can achieve your goals and make a difference in your community. Keep focused and stay motivated, and you’ll be well on your way to success.


The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is a professional organization for law enforcement leaders. Their website includes a wealth of information on careers in law enforcement, including job descriptions, training and education requirements, and resources for recruiting and hiring.

The Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council is a regulatory agency that establishes and maintains standards for law enforcement in the state of Connecticut. Their website includes information on the certification process for police officers, as well as resources for training and professional development.

The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP) is a federal agency that provides leadership and resources to improve the nation’s criminal justice system. Their website includes information on a wide range of law enforcement topics, including training and education, technology and research, and community policing.

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