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Best police officer exam prep book

Which police officer exam prep book is best?

Becoming a police officer can be a satisfying career path for anyone who wants to help serve and protect the public. Along with other qualifying assessments, you must pass a police officer exam to become a police officer. Studying for this type of exam can be tough, but an effective police officer exam prep book can mean the difference between passing and failing.

Our shopping guide will help you choose the best police officer exam prep book. It also includes specific product recommendations like our top pick from Barron’s, which includes a helpful diagnostic to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses and three practice exams to help track your study progress.

What to know before you buy a police officer exam prep book

Police entrance exam components

The police entrance exam isn’t just a written test. In addition to the written exam, you’ll also have to complete the following:

  • An oral interview
  • A background check
  • A drug screening
  • A medical check-up
  • A psychological profile
  • An agility test

Though many of these components can’t be studied for, a police officer exam prep book can help you study for the written test while helping you to understand the physical requirements necessary to pass the medical screening and agility test. The main benefit of a prep book, though, is that it can help you build the knowledge necessary to pass the written exam and aid you in developing effective test-taking and studying strategies.

You’re only allowed to sit for two written exams in any 12-month period, so having an effective police officer exam prep book can help ensure that you stay on track with the application process and don’t experience any delays.

What to look for in a quality police officer exam prep book


While a police exam prep book should focus on getting you ready for the written exam, you may also want a book that offers a wider view of a career as a police officer and the entire application process. This can not only help you decide whether a career in law enforcement is right for you but can also help you come up with a strategy for the application process beyond just the written exam.


Most police officer exam prep books include a diagnostic test that you take before you really begin your exam preparation. It helps you identify your strengths and weaknesses for the written exam so you know what areas you need to work on and can better focus your studying efforts.

Section reviews

To make sure you can handle all of the concepts and knowledge areas that the police exam tests for, a good prep book will offer general section reviews to help you boost your knowledge. Many books offer specific sections for:

  • Grammar and spelling
  • Reading comprehension
  • Mathematics
  • Police situations

Practice tests

As with any exam, taking practice tests is one of the best ways to prepare for the police officer exam because it gives you a clear idea of exactly to expect from the test. A prep book should have at least one practice exam, but you may want to invest in a book with at least three practice tests. You can take them at different points during the studying process to give you a better idea of how you’re progressing and what areas you might still need to work on.


Many police exam prep books offer general strategies both for studying for the test and actually taking it. You’ll usually get some important tips on maximizing your time and score on the police officer exam, which can help alleviate some stress as you’re preparing.

Career opportunities

While you may have your heart set on being a uniformed police officer, there are actually other career options in law enforcement once you have your foot in the door. Some exam prep books discuss other career paths that you may want to take advantage of once you pass the exam.

How much you can expect to spend on a police officer exam prep book

Police officer exam prep books are usually fairly inexpensive, ranging from $10-$25. You can even find some books for less than $10, but those are usually e-books or digital downloads.

Police officer exam prep book FAQ

Q. What score do I have to earn to pass the police exam?

A. You need to get at least 70% of the questions on the exam correct to achieve a passing score. But keep in mind that passing doesn’t mean you’ll be accepted into police training — you must be among the top 10% of test-takers to be considered.

Q. What requirements do I have to meet to take the police exam?

A. Requirements can vary from department to department, but you usually have to be at least 18 to 21 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, be a U.S. citizen, hold a valid driver's license, have no felony convictions or a dishonorable military discharge, and have no history of drug or alcohol abuse.

What are the best police officer exam prep books to buy?

Top police officer exam prep book

Barron’s Educational Series Police Officer Exam, 10th Edition

What you should know: An up-to-date, comprehensive prep book with expert information from one of the most trusted names in the test prep game.

What you'll love: Written by two law enforcement professionals. Provides information for testing with multiple police departments. Includes study strategies, practice exams and detailed area reviews.

What you should consider: Some books arrived damaged, but there are no real complaints about the content of the book itself.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top police officer exam prep book for the money

Normal Hall Police Exam Preparation Book, Second Edition

What you should know: A budget-friendly option that has lukewarm reviews regarding its content, but features a money-back guarantee that makes it worth considering.

What you'll love: The author guarantees at least an 80% on the exam. Includes tips for boosting your overall score. Provides a detailed breakdown of the entire application process. Features three practice tests.

What you should consider: Some of the information in this book information isn’t up to date. Doesn’t include prep information for test-takers in all states.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Police Officer Exam for Dummies, First Edition

What you should know: Extremely user-friendly prep book that provides a helpful basic look at the studying process but works best as a supplemental study guide.

What you'll love: Written by a former LAPD member. Features four practice tests with detailed answer explanations and a targeted review of key knowledge areas. Offers both study and test-taking strategy tips.

What you should consider: The math section isn’t as detailed as some users would like. Doesn’t contain information for all states.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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