One of the steps towards becoming a police officer in Scotland is passing the Standard Entrance Test (SET). While there’s more to becoming a police officer in Scotland, such as passing the interviews and having all of the necessary qualifications, the SET test is important because you need to pass it to move onto other stages of the selection process. So, it certainly pays to take time learning how to pass it. We’re going to discuss all three in this Police Exam Study Guide.
The SET test assessment is made up of three exams. These are:
• Numbers Test – Solving a series of numeracy problems without the aid of a calculator.
• Language Test – Using your grasp on the English language to fill in the gaps and perform some comprehension tasks.
• Information Handling Test – Answering questions based on graphs, tables and other data provided.
You are given up to 30 minutes to complete each of these written tests. The numbers test is one large section, whilst the other two exams are divided into sections, each with a different task.
The pass mark differs for each test. As of the time of writing, these are:
• Numbers – 65%
• Language – 75%
• Information Handling – 67%
In this police exam study guide, we’re going to cover each of the three tests so that you know exactly what you’re getting into.
This is arguably the most straight-forward part of the SET test, since there’s only one question format. You are given around twenty maths questions to answer. The test starts with more simple maths questions which involve addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. For these, make sure to keep BIDMAS in mind:
Indices (powers of)
These questions become more complex, and start to involve problem-solving scenarios. For example:
There were recurring power cuts in the first week of March 2017. Areas affected were without power between 0700 and 0900 on Monday, 1300 and 1600 on Tuesday, and 1900 and 2245 on Friday.
In total, how long were these areas without power (answer in hours and minutes).
Underneath the scenario, this is a simple addition and time comprehension exercise. Other questions can be phrased in this way, but might ask you to perform subtraction, multiplication, or division. Make sure to keep an eye on the instructions that the question gives you so you write your answer in the correct format.
The final page of the test is blank so that you can use it for working out if necessary. Your working isn’t marked.
In this part of our police exam study guide, we’ll be looking at the language part of the SET test. This test is divided into four sections, each with a different task. We’ll go through each section and take a look at what you need to do, and what skills you’re being marked on.
The questions in section 1 each have a sentence with one word missing. You must choose the word that fits best (and is spelled correctly) from a choice of 5 different words or phrases. For example:
The burglar had used a __ to force the lock.
Each of these questions are worth one mark.
This section is essentially testing your spelling and grammar. You need to pick the word which is of the correct tense (i.e. past, present, or future) and is spelled correctly.
This section is similar to the previous one, but you are given a longer passage with a number of words removed. You are then given a series of words and phrases that you need to insert into the passage in the right places. Bear in mind that you are given more words to work with than are missing from the passage, so you need to be careful about which ones you pick. For example, if you have 12 words missing from the passage, you might have somewhere between 15 and 18 words at your disposal. Some of those words will not fit into the passage!
Again, this section is testing your ability to read a text and figure out which words match each place properly. There’s a blank box at the bottom of the page which gives you space to test your ideas before writing them into the passage.
In this section, you have to make sense of a jumbled-up sentence. You’ll be given the start of a sentence, followed by a number of phrases which need to be placed in order. For example:
Andrew went /(to buy)/(to the shops)/(milk and cereal)
You’d need to reorder the words as follows:
Andrew went to the shops to buy milk and cereal.
This section tests your skills in grammar and sentence structure, as you’ll need to know how to rearrange the phrases so that they make sense.
This final section of the language SET test assesses your comprehension skills. You’ll be given an extended passage that you’ll need to read carefully, and take the key information from. Then, you’ll have a series of questions based on the information in the passage that you’ll need to answer. Here, you’re being tested on your reading skills, as well as your ability to pick out key details.
Information Handling Test
In this final section of our police exam study guide, we’re going to take a look and the information handling portion of the SET test. Like the language paper, this test is divided into multiple sections, each with different material to cover.
For each section, you’ll be presented with a table, graph, or other figure representing data. Then, you’ll be given a series of questions about the data represented. The point of these exercises is to see how well you can interpret data and answer questions based on it. Take some time to practice looking at graphs and tables, and brush up on your percentages if you need to.
Police Exam Study Guide – Conclusion
In this police exam study guide, we’ve taken a look at each of the three parts of the SET test: numbers, language, and information handling. Click here to get access to psychometric tests to hone your skills and improve your chances even further!