Study Guide and Sample Test
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APPLICANT PREPARATION GUIDE FOR THE
POST ENTRY-LEVEL TEST BATTERY
PREPARING FOR THE MULTIPLE-CHOICE AND CLOZE EXAMS
There are many different types of tests. The two most familiar types are achievement tests and aptitude tests. Achievement tests measure what is already known while aptitude tests measure the probability of a person's success in some unfamiliar area. A final exam in college is an example of an achievement test because the test measures information that has already been presented. In contrast, a college entrance test (such as the SAT) is an example of an aptitude test because the test measures existing skills to predict one’s ability to grasp and master information that will be presented at a later date.
In general, studying previously presented material can improve performance on achievement tests. However, little can be done to quickly improve performance on aptitude tests. This is because aptitude tests measure existing skills that have been developed over a long period of time. If an individual is weak in the areas associated with successful performance, the aptitude test will detect these weaknesses and render scores that reflect a decreased probability of success.
The only way to predictably improve scores on an aptitude test is to improve existing skills through extensive learning and practice (e.g., coursework, training).
Because the POST Entry-Level Test Battery is primarily a language aptitude test, one must already possess solid language skills to perform well on the test. However, there are a few exercises that can be helpful in maximizing performance if solid language skills are already in place. This test preparation guide has been developed to provide helpful information about test format and content. This guide explains exactly what is tested in the exam and provides short, sample tests that can be used for practice. This guide also provides research-based information on the best strategies for answering test questions.
WHAT THE TEST BATTERY MEASURES
Focusing exclusively on language ability, the test battery is comprised of two components: one evaluates writing ability and the other reading ability. The writing component of the test measures clarity, vocabulary, and spelling. The reading component measures reading comprehension.
Each of the three writing sub-tests contains 15 items. The clarity sub-test presents the test-taker with two sentences and asks the test-taker to identify which sentence is correctly written and clear.
As the segment name implies, this section is intended to measure the test-taker's ability to identify clear writing. Only common writing errors (e.g., unclear references, misplaced modifiers, sentence fragments, and run-on sentences) are included in the clarity portion of the exam.
The spelling sub-test utilizes a standard multiple-choice format. A sentence is given with one word omitted. A blank indicates the location of the omitted word. Four alternative spellings of the same word are given. The test-taker is asked to identify the word that is correctly spelled for the given context. The vocabulary sub-test also uses a standard multiple-choice format. One word in a sentence is underlined and the test-taker is instructed to select the alternative that is the most accurate synonym or definition. The words included in the spelling and vocabulary tests are common words that are likely to be encountered in law enforcement work.
Reading ability is measured through the use of two sub-tests. The first is a 20-item reading comprehension sub-test. This sub-test presents the test-taker with passages which vary in length from a single paragraph to one page. After reading the passage, test-takers answer multiple-choice questions about the information contained in the passage. All passages cover common concepts