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Written Test

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:

  • Reading Comprehension: Ability to read, comprehend, and interpret factual or technical materials in a variety of written formats.

Section II:

  • Checking Ability: Ability to detect similarities and differences between groups of items such as words or numbers.
  • Map Reading/Directional Situations: Ability to correctly follow a series of written directions (north, south, east, west) or movements (left, right) within a general area; ability to locate destinations and follow/determine appropriate routes using a map and/or map index.
  • Decision Making: Ability to identify and comprehend critical elements of a situation and choose courses of action based on general policies and guidelines.

Section III:

  • Written Communication: Ability to correctly apply fundamentals of English grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, written expression, and vocabulary.

There are three pass points for this examination. You must pass Section I, Section III AND Sections I, II, and III combined to pass the written test.

Reexamination Eligibility: If you fail the police recruit written test, you may retest after 30 days 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 basic law enforcement academy. A copy of the certificate must be attached to the application.
  • Possess at minimum an associate's degree from an accredited college or university (accreditation must be from an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Department of Education of the United States of America).
  • Have taken the California P.O.S.T. Pellet-B exam within two (2) years of date of application and acquired T-scores of 42 in all areas (reading, writing and overall).

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

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.