5 secrets to testing for promotion
Find someone to coach you, it’s worth a few points on the exam and may mean the difference between getting promoted or not
Regular readers of this space know that for many years I’ve created and administered police examinations ranging from Chief of Police down to entry level. I also provide tutoring services for officers from towns which I have elected to not be involved with. Since I’ve been doing this for a long time I’ve developed a keen eye for the intrinsic traits which seem to separate top candidates from those who go through the promotional examination process, but will not be promoted to the next level. So, I thought it might be helpful to readers if I shared some thoughts about why some people excel in the civil service testing process while others fall by the wayside.
Why do officers like “Charlie the Chin” consistently do well in the testing process and rise through the ranks while other are always stuck in the lower echelon? Here are five basic reasons “the Chin” gets that promotion.
1. The testing process has little to do with whether you’re a great cop.
This often results in people being promoted to supervisory and managements positions who can quote chapter and verse about what a book says should be done, but can’t do it themselves or even differentiate between academics and real life. Even so, some qualified people do manage to get promoted if the written examination is properly “weighted” against other testing methods which have a higher predictive capability than a paper and pencil test.
2. There is almost always some sort of written examination.
It’s probable that “the Chin” has a higher reading comprehension level than other candidates. This result in an ability to “study, learn and retain” information from the reading list which other candidates can not. It also allows “the Chin” to have a clear understanding what the question in a written examination is asking and a higher ability to differentiate between two very close answers selections.
In other words, “the Chin” would be able to quickly eliminate answers A and D and realize it was one word that separated selections B from C. He’s then better able to choose the correct answer.
3. Charlie the Chin has had a lot of practice taking written tests.
I meet with all candidates in the towns I’m creating and administering a test several weeks prior to the date of the test. I provide them with a copy of the job task analysis and go over with them what it will take to achieve a high score. It’s not unusual for candidates to drop out of the testing process after such a meeting — they realize they are not willing or can’t (due to other obligations) put the time and effort into the process that’s required.
5. Chin hires a tutor.
Men and woman like Charlie the Chin come to me after a high level of preparation — they all love their department and the police profession. All have excellent verbal communication skills, all are very respectful to me and my years of police service, all are class acts-people who have self confidence under control, and all understand policing as a way of life as opposed to a job or career. All I do is sharpen an already sharp saw. Find someone to coach you, it’s worth a few points on the exam and may mean the difference between getting promoted or not.
Be safe out there!
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