Law Enforcement - Applicant
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where can I take the test?
Contact law enforcement agencies and/or basic training academies in your area to determine if they are administering the PELLETB (some agencies also refer to it as the “POST Reading and Writing Test”). Unfortunately, POST does not maintain a list of nor provide referrals for testing locations; however, the POST Website does provide a list of POST participating law enforcement agencies that may offer entry-level testing. Again, you will need to contact the agencies directly to determine if and when they offer the test.
2. How do I get my test results?
For security reasons, POST is unable to provide test results directly to applicants or other unauthorized persons. All agencies/academies that use the PELLETB are required to provide applicants with their test results within 30 days of the test administration. If it has been less than 30 days, please allow time for the agency/academy to process your results. If it has been more than 30 days, contact the agency where the PELLETB was originally administered to inquire about your results. Alternately, an authorized agency representative (i.e., an individual listed on a current POST Security Agreement) from any of POST’s user agencies can contact POST on your behalf to obtain your results.
3. How long is my test score good for?
A score on the POST test has no shelf life; therefore, a candidate may submit the department letter from the previous administration to the prospective employer. Individual departments, however, have the discretion to establish their own acceptable time frames for the shelf life of a reading and writing test.
4. Must I retake the POST test if I apply to a different department?
Not for the purposes of satisfying POST requirements. Departments who use the POST test are required to provide candidates with a letter indicating their t-score. Other departments have the discretion of accepting this letter as evidence that the candidate has met the POST reading and writing standard, if the score is deemed acceptable by that department. Alternatively, departments may opt to administer another POST or alternative test to their candidates.
5. Can I take the exam multiple times?
Yes, however, before you can retest, you must wait for a period of one month (30 calendar days) before taking the exam again. This applies even if the exam is taken through a different department/agency than the original exam.
6. What if I retest within 30 days?
If you retest within 30 days either with the same or a different department/agency, your test results will be invalidated. You MUST wait at least 30 calendar days prior to retaking the test.
7. How do I interpret my test results?
When POST electronically scans your test answers, statistical calculations are performed to convert your raw score (the number of items you answered correctly) into a “T-score.” A T-score is a standardized score that places your performance on the test into a distribution (bell-shaped curve) with a midpoint (average) of 50 and a standard deviation of 10. If your score falls around 50, your performance is considered “average” when compared to other applicants who have taken the test. If you score 40 or below, your performance is considered “below average” when compared to other applicants who have taken the test. If you score 60 or above, your performance is considered “above average” when compared to other applicants who have taken the test. Research shows that the likelihood of successful academy completion increases for every point above 42 you score.
8. Why do I have to take the test?
Commission Regulation 1951 mandates that peace officers be able to read and write at the levels necessary to perform the job of a peace officer as determined by the use of the POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (PELLETB) or other professionally developed and validated test of reading and writing ability. Because performance on the PELLETB is highly correlated with performance in the academy, many agencies and academies use the PELLETB as an indicator of readiness for a career in law enforcement.
9. What should I expect when I take the test?
The PELLETB is a multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank written examination designed to measure reading and writing ability. Applicants are given 2 ½ hours to complete the PELLETB, which contains five sections:
- Spelling (applicants select the correct spelling of a word from a list of options)
- Vocabulary (applicants select the correct meaning of a word from a list of options)
- Clarity (applicants select the sentence that is most clearly written from a pair of options)
- Reading Comprehension (applicants read a passage and answer questions about the passage’s content)
- CLOZE (applicants use contextual clues to complete a passage that contains blanks/missing words)
10. How do I prepare for the test?
The Applicant Preparation Guide for the POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (pdf) is a study guide that provides information about the PELLETB. Sample questions for all sections of the test are provided. Since the test measures various facets of reading and writing ability, the best method for preparing for the test is to participate in activities that involve reading and writing. Assessment centers at community colleges can generally provide information about specific reading and writing deficiencies and guidance on how to improve those deficiencies. Online writing labs (OWLs) are another tool that can be used to identify weaknesses and improve reading and writing skills. A simple internet search will render results for the many OWLs that are currently available for free on the Internet.
11. I am located outside of California, is the test available online?
At this time, the test is only administered in paper and pencil format. Additionally, POST only allows authorized California law enforcement agencies to administer the exam within the state. You will need to contact a California POST participating law enforcement agency to determine if they are authorized to administer the exam and when and where it is scheduled.
12. What if I have additional questions?
Additional questions about the POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or the Test Coordinator Information Line at (916) 227-4888.