City of Berkeley • Police Employment


How to Prepare for the Test


The written test portion of the process is administered in two parts. (1) Applicants are asked to write a short essay which will not be scored but will be used to assess the applicant’s writing ability. (2) A multiple choice test containing 110 questions which are designed to assess the applicant’s ability to reason logically; solve simple math problems; orient yourself; locate and remember facts and details; and understand illustrated materials. The purpose of this test is to determine if the applicant can successfully learn and apply law enforcement information (within a testing environment). Applicants will be required to score at least 70% on this test in order to proceed in the examination process. There are no specific study guides for the examination; however, applicants may practice with any general civil service law enforcement study guide, generally available at local libraries. Applicants should allow approximately 3 hours at the examination site for the two-part test.


The test is designed to measure the minimally acceptable levels of performance in tasks, which current sworn personnel frequently encounter on duty, but which require no special police training in order to complete within the allotted time. Click here for a detailed description of the Physical Ability test.

Having had the benefit of administering this test before, we have the following suggestions to make regarding preparations for this test:

Persons with average physical fitness can be expected to successfully complete this physical ability test. Since the test doesn't require an extreme muscular build, it is recommended that each applicant do some running or jogging to build up stamina, muscle tone and coordination. These appear to be two significant areas of deficiency evident in applicants who fail this test.

Persons not accustomed to physical exertion may not have sufficient stamina to complete all phases of the test within the time limit or earn enough points to pass the test. Also, persons who are overweight, easily tire, or lack upper arm and shoulder strength may have some difficulty scaling the wall, which is a significant event in the test, using the most popular technique which most closely resembles a pulling up and scrambling over method. In order to overcome the latter problem, it is suggested that all candidates attempt to scale a 6-foot wall prior to the test, and if the effort proves unsuccessful, the applicant should then consider employing the technique, which we recommend for scaling the wall in the test. This method involves "walking" up the wall, and can be used successfully by the average male and female applicant. Click here to get tips on how to scale a 6-foot wall.


The questions generally address your preparedness for police work as well as how you would respond to police situational questions. You should read and review the job description for the Police Officer and familiarize yourself with the Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) of the job. Questions will be based on the KSA’s as well as there may be questions based on real scenarios handled by a Police Officer on duty. The interviews are scheduled for 30 minute time slots.


Applying /


For more info, contact the Police Dept / Personnel & Training Bureau at:
PHONE:  (510) 981-5977   •   EMAIL: