Nelson-Denny Reading Test: Format, Score, and Prep Tips 2024


On this page, you’ll find info on the Nelson Denny Reading test format, scores, practice questions, and passing tips for its Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension sections. Let’s begin.

What Is the Nelson-Denny test (NDRT)?

The Nelson-Denny test (NDRT) is a multiple choice online exam comprised of two main sections vocabulary and reading comprehension and is used as an initial screening tool for entry-level police positions and academy training requiring good reading and comprehension skills.

Is the Nelson-Denny Reading Test Hard?

Yes, the questions on the test are simple but the tight time limit makes it hard.

You have only 20 minutes to answer 36-38 reading comprehension questions, or 30 seconds per question, and 15 minutes to answer 80-100 vocabulary questions or 9 seconds per question.

So it's vital to use an accurate test-like practice test that will simulate real test conditions and give you a true indication of your current skill level.

What are the Nelson-Denny Reading Test Instructions?

Here is a good example of the instructions
you’ll see in the real exam

“In this study guide, you will find a word list consisting of 300 words you should be familiar with before taking the examination. The word list is also accompanied by two sample questions similar to what you will be expected to answer during the examination.

You will also find two similar examples of the type of reading comprehension passages and questions you will be expected to answer during the Reading Comprehension section of the examination.

Prior to the beginning of the test, a proctor will give concise instructions regarding the
examination. A passing score of 102 is required to proceed in the hiring process.”


Nelson-Denny Reading Comprehension Section

Expect five to eight reading passages and between 36 to 38 questions that will test your reading comprehension skills. The time frame for this portion of the NDRT is 20 minutes. Each passage is approximately a half-page in length.

The NDRT online Reading Comprehension section measures two main skills:

  • Ability to understand the literal meaning of the written material.
  • Ability to infer from the information contained in the passage.

The items require a recall of facts, analysis, summary, or making conclusions based solely on the facts included in the scenario presented.

Reading Comprehension Sample Questions

Over a billion people use Facebook, and Facebook allows them to place advertisements in order to reach just about any group of people imaginable. Some people prefer to advertise on Google, where they can find more active buyers. Yet, the advantage of Facebook is that it is a very popular network, enabling you to reach any segment of people, anywhere, within a very short setup time.

Anyone can create a Facebook advertisement by following three simple steps. First, you must register as a user on Facebook, if you don't already have an account. Next, you need to set up a Facebook profile page to represent your company or service. On your Page, you can promote items or services, interact with established customers, and create opportunities to reach new customers.

Finally, you advertise by reaching out to your customers with posts. Posts can be anything ranging from a notice of a summer sale to the announcement of a new product line.

Which one of the following is mentioned as an objective of a company's profile page?

A. Establishing new connections.

B. Posting pictures.

C. Finding investors.

D. Research rival companies.



The company's profile page is detailed in the second step. Let's examine it closely: ”Set up a Facebook profile page to represent your company or service. On your Page, you can promote items or services, interact with established customers, and create opportunities to reach new customers.” The only answer that corresponds with this paragraph is (a), since ”establishing new connections” is equivalent to ”reach[ing] new customers”.

Nelson-Denny Vocabulary Section

The Vocabulary section is comprised of 80 to 100 items to be answered in 15 minutes. In it, words will be presented either alone or in the context of a phrase or sentence.
The total Nelson-Denny vocabulary words list is comprised of 300 words.

Your goal is to choose one response that best fits the definition of the initial word from a set of alternatives following the question.

Vocabulary Sample Questions

Augment most nearly means:

A. Repent
B. Concise
C. Improve
D. Amplify
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

Augment means to add to something, to enlarge, or to increase. Therefore, Amplify is closest in meaning.

Surmount most nearly means:

A. Add
B. Hill
C. Remainder
D. Overcome
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The word surmount has two meanings: (1) To be on top of something, (2) To deal with something successfully.

The word overcome is similar to the second definition and is therefore the correct answer.

Click to see more Nelson Denny Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary test questions.

Pass the Nelson-Denny Reading Assessment

The Nelson-Denny Reading test is a challenging law enforcement pre-employment exam.

What makes the test difficult is the fact you have only 35 minutes to answer 128 questions or 16 seconds per question.

Having access to accurate practice will improve your problem-solving speed and help you become familiar with various question formats and strategies for solving them.

If you're here, you've already taken an important step towards passing the Nelson Denny assessment, and we're here to help you advance that extra step toward your goal.

Nelson Denny Police - Typical Test-Day Procedure 

The following is a typical test-day procedure you may encounter when applying for a job at a police department in your area.

Two tests are used in pre hire testing to assess your ability to handle real on-the-job demands: The online Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the Police Officer Physical Abilities Test (POPAT).

Nelson Denny Test

As mentioned previously a typical Nelson-Denny test includes two sections:

  • A Vocabulary section that has 80-100 multiple-choice questions and takes 15 minutes.
  • A Reading comprehension section that includes 36-38 multiple-choice questions and takes 20 minutes.

Police Officer Physical Abilities Test (POPAT)

The POPAT includes physical exercises that will test your endurance. To feel comfortable and prepared for the test, applicants should practice these exercises before the day of the test.

Chase and Apprehension Scenario

  • Maximum time: 7:15.
  • It is necessary to repeat all the steps two times.

The steps include actions such as a broad jump over a 4-foot area, going over a 4-foot fence, 20 pushups, and crawling under a 2-foot obstacle.

Rescue Scenario

You must complete the rescue scenario in a maximum time of 3 minutes and 30 seconds. It includes actions such as: Drag the dummy backward across the 25-foot mark, advancing 50 feet around the cone and back 2 times and completing 30 steps on the step box.

What Is the Passing Score of The Nelson-Denny Test?

As far as Nelson-Denny's scoring goes, it is required that a score of 102 be obtained to proceed with the hiring process. A score below 86 will disqualify an applicant from moving forward in the hiring process.

Passing the Nelson Denny Test

Practice is key to passing the Nelson Denny exam and successfully dealing with the strict time constraints that this exam has.

JobTestPrep provides you with the tools needed for comprehensive exam preparation including Nelson-Denny practice tests, detailed questions analysis, study guides, an extensive list of vocabulary words, and detailed Nelson-Denny PDF guides that cover every aspect of the test and offer strategies to overcome them.

As you work through test sample questions, you will refresh your vocabulary and gain a greater comfort level with the process of reading passages, recalling information, and drawing conclusions from written material.

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