What Does the NYPD Exam Look Like?

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Becoming an Officer for the NYPD involves a selective process meant to leave the department with the best possible and most suited candidates to choose from. There are several components to the application process, with one of them being the NYPD written exam. While passing the exam does not guarantee selection, failing the exam will prevent you from becoming an officer for a minimum of six months. In most cases, candidates are allowed to retake a failed exam six months after their previous attempt. 

As a former New York Police Captain and a current attorney representing law enforcement candidates who feel they were wrongly disqualified from candidacy, Robert B. Kronenberg’s office has direct insight into the exam and describes what it entails.

What Is on the NYPD Exam?

The NYPD exam consists of 85 questions designed to test knowledge and specific skills necessary for the role of a police officer. The questions test an applicant’s proficiency in the following areas:

  • Memory
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Deductive reasoning
  • Problem sensitivity
  • Spatial orientation
  • Written comprehension and communication 
  • Information ordering
  • Visualization
  • Number facility

Summary of the Topics on the NYPD Exam


The topic of memory is pretty self-explanatory as it tests a candidate’s memorization skills. Candidates are given a story or photo and are told to study it. After a certain amount of time, the photo or story is removed. Additional time will pass, at which point you will be asked to complete multiple-choice questions about the image or story.

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning is used to test a candidate’s knowledge of legal subtleties. This test is administered by presenting you with a written crime scenario and following with questions.

Deductive Reasoning

The deductive reasoning portion of the exam gives a candidate some information or items related to a hypothetical investigation. You will be asked to deduce which items and information would help find the perpetrator.

Problem Sensitivity

The problem sensitivity portion tests a candidate’s ability to prevent harm to the general public. Once again, candidates are faced with a hypothetical scenario and must choose from a set of given options to minimize any danger or harm to the surrounding people.

Spatial Orientation

Spatial orientation is a segment that tests your ability to comprehend and navigate an unknown, often fictional, area quickly. You will be handed a map with street names, numbers, and important strategic locations. You will only be allowed limited time to study this map before answering questions regarding the area. 

Written Comprehension and Communication

In the written comprehension and communication section, you’ll be given a written text and asked questions. This section will gauge how well you understood the information and how well you can communicate that information to others. 

Information Ordering

For the portion on information ordering, you will receive a sequential detailing of a hypothetical scenario. You will then be asked questions about the specifics of this, including the order in which these events transpired.


Visualization is the segment that tests your ability to identify certain visual elements. You will be asked to identify an item after changes are made to its appearance. This test is used to evaluate your ability to process information quickly and accurately.

Number Facility

The number facility segment tests your understanding of mathematical concepts and basic arithmetic. This portion does not include access to a calculator, though you can use scratch paper. 

Becoming a New York Police Officer

If you feel that you have been incorrectly disqualified from candidacy, we strongly encourage you to contact our office. We specialize in psychological disqualification appeals, character disqualification appeals, and medical disqualification appeals for NYPD candidates. 


Related Readings:

Character Screenings for Police Officers

Psychological Screenings for Police Officers

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