PA State Police Hiring Process

Qualified candidates submitting a State Police Cadet (PSP Cadet) application are scheduled to take the PA State Police Written Exam at computer-based testing centers. This test is administered by the Pennsylvania State Civil Service Commission (SCSC), who is responsible for all of the PA Civil Service Exams. The PA State Police Exam is not administered to all law enforcement positions within the state as there are a variety of different police exams based on state, county, and city. The Philadelphia Police Officer Exam, for example, is different than the state's exam, as is the Pittsburgh Police Exam and exams for other municipal departments. 

Those applying for an entry-level position will be required to take the National Criminal Justice Officer Selection Inventory (NCJOSI). Pennsylvania police jobs are in demand, and the Pennsylvania police test is highly competitive. The Cadet Eligibility Ranking depends upon your exam results. The more you prepare, the higher your score and the greater the likelihood you will be wearing the badge of a police officer. 


PA State Police Test

The NCJOSI is comprised of multiple-choice questions that must be completed within two hours. The exam varies from a traditional NCJOSI only to the extent that two cognitive aptitudes are omitted: Mathematical Reasoning and Number Facility.

Expect to see two main parts: Section I – Cognitive and Section II – Behavioral Orientation. The Pennsylvania police exam measures the skills, abilities, and traits that are essential for the effective performance of police duties, responsibilities, and tasks. The attitudes and opinions that are assessed in Section II reflect your willingness and likelihood to succeed in the job.

Cognitive Section

The cognitive section of the PA police tests contains 80 question covering 10 aptitude areas:

  • Deductive Reasoning – applying rules to find logical solutions to situational problems
  • Flexibility of Closure – identifying a small shape that is within a complex drawing that contains a conglomeration of shapes; finding a specific face in a crowd
  • Inductive Reasoning – determining general conclusions based on the information contained in charts, tables, and graphs
  • Information Gathering – following rules to correctly sequence statements based on chronology or logic
  • Problem Sensitivity – identifying the most serious problem in a passage and selecting the alternative that most effectively alleviates the problem
  • Selective Attention – measuring the ability to concentrate on a task in the midst of distractions; complex set of letters, numbers, and symbols requiring the selection of the same exact set among four alternatives
  • Spatial Orientation – locating yourself in relation to streets, buildings, and objects through the use of maps and layouts
  • Reading Comprehension – recalling details and forming conclusions from information contained in a passage
  • Verbal Expression – testing spelling, grammar, and English usage by selecting the alternative that correctly completes a sentence; assessing the ability to communicate in writing
  • Visualization – identifying objects or people that have undergone surface changes

Behavioral Orientation Section

The items in this section are not scored on a basis of “correct” or “incorrect.” Scoring is rooted in the traits that are associated with successful policing in a community. You can prepare for this portion of the police exam by practicing on sample tests and reviewing a Q&A analysis. Test preparation ensures a familiarity with different types of questions and the exam format. This will increase your speed, confidence, and question comprehension and thus ensure a more successful testing experience.

JobTestPrep has designed an affordable and thorough NCJOSI–PA preparation system that is focused on optimizing police officer written exam scores.


Other Department Police Exams

To become a police officer in Derry, Harrisburg, Highspire, Hummelstown, Lower Swatara, Middletown, Paxtang, Penbrook, Scranton, Steelton, and Swatara Township you need to take the NPOST exam by Stanard and Associates. The exam has four sections: Math, Reading Comprehension, Grammar, and Incident Report Writing. Each department may have a different passing score.


Related Links

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