San Diego

Written Test

The initial step in applying for a position with the San Diego Police Department is to take the written test, which is administered by the City of San Diego's Personnel Department.

To obtain a test date, go to the Personnel Department's Open Job Opportunities and fill out an online application (requires registration) for Police Recruit, Police Officer I, or Police Officer II. If you meet the minimum requirements, and your online application is approved, you will be notified and given instruction on how to sign up for an available test date. The application approval process takes approximately three weeks.

Refer to the PDF icon First Time User Guide for assistance with online job applications.

The written test consists of multiple-choice questions that measure general aptitudes needed to be a Police Officer. No prior law enforcement knowledge is necessary to pass the test that may include the following factors:

Section I

  • Decision Making: Ability to identify and comprehend critical elements of a situation and choose courses of action based on general policies and guidelines.
  • Cognitive Abilities: Ability to detect similarities and differences between groups of items such as words or numbers.

Section II

  • Reading Comprehension: Ability to read, comprehend and interpret factual or technical materials in a variety of written formats.
  • Report Writing/Written Communication: Correctly apply fundamentals of English grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, written expression, vocabulary and more.
  • Scoring: There are three pass points for this examination.
    • Candidates must first pass Section II AND then Sections I and II combined to be placed on the eligible list. THIS IS A QUALIFYING ONLY (PASS / FAIL) TEST.
    • Test results will be mailed to you on a Police Recruit Notice of Test Results. SAVE THIS FORM! You may be required to submit a copy at a later date.
  • Reexamination Eligibility: If you fail the police recruit written test, you may retest every two (2) months provided the examination is open. If you pass the written exam, and your eligibility expires, you will not be permitted to take the police recruit written test again. If you wish to reapply after your eligibility expires, you should request a waiver of the written exam.
  • Written Test Waiver: Candidates who meet either one of the following conditions may request a waiver of the written test by submitting a special waiver application, provided the examination is open.
    • Graduation from a California P.O.S.T. approved Police Academy with a Basic Peace Officers course certificate or possession of a basic P.O.S.T. certificate. A copy of the certificate must be attached to the application.

Back to Hiring Process

If you have additional questions about San Diego Police Department Recruiting, see the Frequently Asked Questions, call (619) 531-COPS (2677) or email [email protected].

If you have an emergency, dial 9-1-1.

To access 9-1-1 from a cell phone or outside San Diego, dial (619) 531-2065.

For 24-hour non-emergencies, dial (619) 531-2000 or (858) 484-3154.


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