Can You Ace This Police Academy Exam?

By: Torrance Grey
Estimated Completion Time
6 min
Can You Ace This Police Academy Exam?
Image: Darrin Klimek/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Oh, the world of law enforcement: it just isn't as glamorous as TV and the movies make it seem! If you're intent on applying someday to serve on a police force, you should know that you won't pull or use your gun nearly as often as Hollywood would have you believe (though you have to stay certified with your service weapon). You probably won't run down criminal suspects like a lion running down an antelope on the savanna (though, again, you have to stay in shape). You'll do a good bit of paperwork, go to court to testify, and respond to quite a few uneventful incidents of alarms going off, suspicious vehicles or behavior, and the like. 

So, given all that, what's an entrance exam like? Well, first off, a written exam is only part of the process. Naturally, there's an in-person interview and a physical-fitness test. But the written exam is going to test you on things like ethics, judgment, and a baseline understanding of the law, especially concerning searches and search warrants. It might surprise you to know that you'll also be tested on math, spelling, and grammar. Not, however, at a very high level. That's right - to be a cop, you have to prove you're smarter than a 5th grader!

Are you ready to see how you'd stack up? Test your fitness to serve now with our quiz!

After a hard day at work, which of these are you most likely to do?
have a whiskey or two
hit the gym
go to a strip club
stay at home watching TV
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Police forces are looking for recruits that blow off steam in a healthy way. Even if having a drink or going to a strip club wouldn't disqualify you for service, it's wiser to pick the "gym" option on an exam with personality-assessment questions.

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Which of these sentences is punctuated correctly?
To get to Market Square it is best to take the freeway.
To get to Market Square. It is best to take the freeway.
To get to Market Square, it is best to take the freeway.
To get to Market Square: it is best to take the freeway.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

A police entrance exam is likely to test you on both grammar and spelling. This is because writing a basic report is an essential part of police work.

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The area in which you are legally entitled to patrol, make arrests, etc., is called your _______.
fiefdom
grounds
jurisdiction
menage
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Jurisdiction" is the official word for a place where a law-enforcement officer can operate. If you're on vacation in Canada, you have no jurisdiction. So if you intervened in a crime being committed, you might not be faulted for your actions, but they'd be treated as the actions of any civilian.

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When must someone be read their Miranda rights?
at time of arrest
before testifying in court
when being processed into jail
before a body-cavity search
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Miranda warning is the famous one beginning with "You have the right to remain silent." It must be read or recited aloud to a suspect at the time of arrest.

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From whom would you get a search warrant?
a judge
your lieutenant
the district attorney
the voters of your jurisdiction
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Search warrants must be approved by judges. (Imagine if the voters had to decide on every single warrant! What a nightmare!)

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Which of these conditions makes a search warrant unnecessary?
The evidence is in plain view.
The resident consents to a search.
The situation is an emergency.
all of these
none of these
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

There are four exemptions to the need for a search warrant: plain view, consent, emergency, and after arrest. (Thanks to author Vernon Geberth, of "Practical Homicide Investigation," for this piece of information).

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Lakisha needs to lose seven pounds to meet her department's fitness standards. If her diet-and-exercise plan lets her lose a pound every 5 days, when will she meet her goal?
in three weeks
in a month
in five weeks
in two months
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Lakisha will lose seven pounds in 35 days. Which is, of course, five weeks.

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Evidence that has been unlawfully obtained, and is thrown out, is called ______.
admissible
inadmissible
extralegal
non-jurisprudent
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Inadmissible" is a key term in legal situations. It can apply both to physical evidence and to testimony.

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Which of these is the correct spelling?
adollescent
adolescent
adulescent
addolescent
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

As mentioned in another question, members of the media or defense attorneys might read your reports. Having basic good spelling and grammar is important. "Adolescent" isn't the easiest of words, but remember, spellcheck will catch it if you only remember to run the program!

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Which of these weapons are you likely to carry on the job?
an AK-47
a Glock .40
a Derringer .25
a Tec-9
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The Glock is a common handgun for officers to carry, and 40-caliber is about the largest that you'd be issued. If you chose AK-47, we really hope you aren't applying to the police academy any time soon!

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Which of these calls poses the most danger to an officer?
domestic violence
dead body found
suspicious vehicle in residential neighborhood
suspected drug sales in city park
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Time and again, officers say they dread domestic calls. Tempers are high; alcohol is often involved, there might be handguns in the home - it's a volatile mix. There's also a psychological toll, too, from observing the effects of violence on women and children.

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You've observed that a fellow officer frequently comes back from breaks smelling like alcohol. Though he's never visibly drunk, his behavior can be erratic. What should you do?
Leave pamphlets about counseling in his locker.
Sit him down for a talk about the situation.
Take your concerns to a superior.
Nothing. Alcohol is legal, after all.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

While it's good to be compassionate, this is a situation in which the public could be endangered. The officer's partner is also at risk if the officer is driving their squad car. Bite the bullet and go to your sergeant or lieutenant.

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Which of these locations do you NOT need a warrant to search?
public lands
lockers at a Greyhound station
a motor vehicle
an apartment owned by a landlord, not the resident
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Anything that is private property requires a search warrant. It doesn't matter who the ultimate owner is, e.g., a landlord. But public land is an exemption.

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The town you patrol is roughly rectangular, with a northern and southern border of 12 miles each, and eastern and western lines of 10 miles each. How many square miles does your police force patrol?
22
44
100
120
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

To get the area of a rectangle, you multiply the length by width. Here, that's 12 by 10, or 120 square miles. True, it'd be rare for a town or county to be perfectly rectangular, but we're simplifying here to exemplify the kind of math problem you might find on an exam.

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You are pursuing a suspect's car when you reach town limits. What should you do?
Stop at the border line. This is no longer your jurisidiction.
Keep going. You're within your rights to finish the pursuit.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It'd be a good idea to radio the dispatcher of the jurisdiction you're entering so that officers there know what's going on. They might even give you a hand. But there's no legal reason to stop short at the city limits.

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Which of these is the legal limit for blood alcohol level?
.005
.08
.01
.1
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

0.08 is the legal limit in all 50 states. It's important to know this because of DUI arrests are among the most common arrests made by police officers.

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To get in shape for his fitness exam, John has resolved to run 10 miles a week. About how many miles will he run in 12 days?
12
17
19
120
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This is a fairly simple math problem. It requires you to divide those 10 miles by seven days, getting 1.43, then multiplying that by 12, getting (roughly) 17. Of course, we don't know how John is dividing up his running schedule, so this is one case in which we can literally say "actual mileage may vary."

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Captain Jones has an old-fashioned wind-up alarm clock, so a power outage won't make him late for work. After one very stressful day, he sets it for 8 a.m., then collapses into bed at 7 p.m. How long will he sleep?
1 hour
8 hours
12 hours
13 hours
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Hopefully, Captain Jones would be smarter than this! But if he did indeed go to bed at 7, and set his wind-up alarm for 8, he's only going to get an hour's sleep until the alarm goes off at 8 p.m. Retro technology can really backfire on you!

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Why do police officers wear uniforms?
to save money on work wardrobes
to make them quickly identifiable
to underscore their position of authority
both #2 and #3
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Police uniforms serve several purposes. When detaining or arresting someone, officers benefit from wearing a visible sign of their authority. Uniforms also help members of the public flag down officers quickly in time of need. And at calls where multiple agencies respond -- metro police, country sheriff, harbor patrol, park police -- it can really cut down on confusion.

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Which of these statements is NOT appropriate for a report?
"The suspect smelled strongly of marijuana."
"The suspect was reported to be behaving erratically."
"The suspect went nuts when we tried to arrest him."
"Multiple officers were required to subdue the suspect."
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Judgmental phrases like "went nuts" have no place in reports. It doesn't help that the phrasing is so casual, either. Remember, a defense attorney and/or reporters can read these reports, and they should reflect well on the department.

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Which of these words is correctly spelled?
substanse
intoxiccant
narkotic
drug
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Contrary to popular belief, there's absolutely nothing wrong with using simple words in a police report. For example, f you can't spell "juvenile," then "child" or "teenager" will do.

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You respond to a call where an aggressive dog is keeping people from approaching their building's entryway. What's the next step?
You should call Animal Services.
You should Tase the dog.
You should pepper-spray the dog.
Nothing. It's for the dog's owner to handle.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Police are not trained to deal extensively with animals. It's fine to pass this off to the more qualified agency.

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You're chasing a stolen car when it heads toward a downtown district full of bars at about 11 on Saturday night. What should you do?
Drop back, and hope the thief will slow down too. People are at risk.
Keep going at full speed. If someone stumbles into the road drunk, that's their fault.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The right thing to do here is to drop back. The safety of citizens comes first, no matter what they're doing with their free time.

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You respond to a jewelry-store break-in, and just as you arrive, a man dashes from the store with a necklace in his hands. He ignores your commands to stop. Should you fire on him?
Yes, you're within your rights.
No, this is not a deadly-force situation.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Deadly force is to be used to protect you, your partner or the public. Despite what you might have seen on the 70s and 80s cop shows, you can't fire on a criminal just for committing a crime or running away.

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To pass the entrance exam, you must get a score of 80 percent. If the exam has 80 questions, how many must you get right?
all of them
80 of them
64 of them
16 of them
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

An easy way to figure this is to find ten percent of 80, which is eight. (Just lop off the second digit of 80). To get to 80 percent, multiply that 8 by 8, which equals 64.

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Which of these is the correct spelling?
offendre
ofender
ofendder
offender
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Offender" is not an uncommon word in police work. Just don't use it interchangeably with "suspect." If a person hasn't been convicted yet, they are still a "suspect," not an "offender."

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Which of these protects American citizens from unreasonable search and seizure?
the Amber Alert
Megan's Law
the Second Amendment
the Fourth Amendment
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

We're asking a lot of questions about the right to search, but there's a good reason. Understanding when it's OK to search a person or place, and when not, is key to being a competent officer. The issue will come up again and again.

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During your 6-month probationary period, you will make pay of $2,000 a month. After that, you will make $2,400 a month. What is your average pay for your first year?
2,100 a month
2,200 a month
2,250 a month
2,300 a month
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This was a fairly easy averaging question. Because you're dealing with two equal periods of time, six months each, you simply choose the figure that falls halfway between $2,000 and $2,400. Written as an equation, it'd be (6 x 2,000) + (6 x 2,400) /12 = 2,200.

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Two-thirds of your police academy class made it through to graduation. What percent of your class will be getting their badges?
23 percent
45 percent
66 percent
84 percent
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Technically, two-thirds is .66666 ... indefinitely. But it's generally written as .66, or 66 percent.

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You and a veteran officer respond to an break-in call at a deli. While waiting for the owner, you see your partner sneak a large ham into your cruiser. She explains that her husband just lost his job, besides which, insurance will cover the loss to the owner, along with the things that were legitimately stolen. What do you do?
Nothing. Her justification makes sense to you.
Insist that she put it back, also telling her that fellow officers will always help one of their own in need.
Anonymously send the deli owner money for the ham later.
Report her to your lieutenant.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Judgment questions like these are tricky. Is the Academy looking for recruits who are absolute straight arrows, and would report a thief? But, on the job, aren't you expected to be loyal to your partner first and foremost? Is anything wrong with simply making an anonymous repayment? Ultimately, though, the second option offers the best mix of backbone and compassion.

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You arrive at a dead-body call and are the first one on the scene. What do you do first?
Draw a chalk outline around the body.
Check for vital signs.
Begin examining the body for a cause of death.
Keep your distance from the body, just putting up crime-scene tape.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Your first obligation is to preserve life, meaning you should make sure the dead body is really a dead body. Of course, common sense comes into play: if the body is quite decomposed, that wouldn't be necessary.

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Which of these is the correct spelling?
purrloined
purloyned
perloined
purloined
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

"Purloined" is an old-fashioned word meaning "stolen" or "taken by false premises." It appears in the work of 19th-century mystery writers, which is where it should stay! This word really doesn't belong in police reports.

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A shoulder-to-shoulder line of officers, used in public-unrest situations, is called what?
a file
a blue wall
a horde
a skirmish line
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

If you've watched TV coverage of the G8 summits, or certain protest marches, you've seen a skirmish line. It's a military tactic adopted by civilian police for crowd control.

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Which word in this sentence is misspelled? "The youthes were harassing the cinema's customers."
"cinema's"
"customers"
"harassing"
"youthes"
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Some nouns require an "es" rather than just an "s" to be made plural, but "youths" isn't one of them. Sidebar: Bonus points if you thought of "My Cousin Vinny" here, and "the two yoots."

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Lane's body fat percentage is 15 percent. If his total weight is 175 pounds, how many pounds of that is fat?
about 15
about 18
about 26
about 32
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

This question isn't as hard as it looks. Ten percent of 175 is 15.5. Another 5 percent is half that, or 8.75. Added together, that's 26.25 pounds, which we've rounded down to 26.

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You Got:
/35
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