How to Prepare for the Physical Ability Assessment when Applying for a Police Department Job


When you are applying to be a police officer, you will be expected to undergo several tests, including a physical agility assessment to prove you can handle the physical demands of being a police officer.

If you are serious about becoming a police officer or member of law enforcement, passing your physical ability assessment is a necessity.

Most physical agility assessments used by police departments measure strength and endurance with  several different fitness elements. Sit-ups, push-ups, a 300-meter sprint, and a 1.5-mile run are fairly standard, and some departments require different tests, such as vertical jump, rowing, weight carry, stationary bike, ladder climb, bench press, squat, and obstacle course.  

These tests are designed to be challenging but not impossible and can be passed easily with adequate preparation.

Follow these tips to make sure you pass your physical agility test.

  1. Check the police department’s website to see what will be on the test. Do not show up to the test without knowing what to expect! That is a recipe for failure. Most police departments publish the details of the physical agility test they use, as well the passing scores you must achieve.
  2. Check with your doctor. Some medical conditions or other issues may make taking a physical ability test dangerous for your health. Be sure to let your doctor know you plan to take the test and get medical clearance before you take it.
  3. Test yourself before the actual test. Now that you know what will be on the test and what score you will need to achieve, test yourself to see how you perform and if there are any areas you need to work on.
  4. Start exercising. If you are not currently exercising, it may be difficult for you to pass the test without preparing. Even if you do exercise regularly, you’ll need to make sure you’re including exercises specifically related to the test—being able to bench press 350 pounds won’t help you at all if you can’t run a mile in the required time.
  5. Don’t wait too long to prepare. Depending on your current fitness level, start a training regimen 4-12 weeks before your scheduled test. Many departments will even provide suggesting training programs and exercises to prepare for the test.
  6. Be ready the day of the test. Don’t let all your training go to waste! Get a good night’s sleep the night before the test, don’t smoke or drink alcohol, drink plenty of water, eat a light meal at least a few hours before your test, dress in comfortable clothing and appropriate shoes, and don’t be late!

For more information on how to prepare for your physical agility assessment, see Are You Ready for Your CHIP Test?

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