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Preparing for the AFP Tests

The process for applying as a Federal Agent or ACT Police officer with the AFP is very competitive. Only 10% of applicants even make is as far as the assessment centre. As a result is it important that you do your best in the early stages of the application, in particular, to give yourself a chance of getting a coveted place.

The AFP Hiring Process

The Federal Police Development Program is the recruitment program for ACT Police and Federal Agent positions. These two areas make up part of the sworn roles with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the other part being Protective Service Officers which has its own recruitment process. ACT Police provide police services to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), including initially working as community police officers. Federal Agents prevent and detect crimes against Commonwealth law. Movement between the two areas of the AFP is possible throughout your career. This article will take you through the annual recruitment process for the Federal Police Development Program. 

The recruitment process is as follows:

The AFP has five core capabilities that every role holder must have. You are expected to use the application process at each stage to demonstrate your skills against these competencies.

The core values of integrity, commitment, excellence, accountability, fairness and trust are also important throughout the application process.

AFP Application Form

The first stage of the process is to submit your application to become a police officer. The most important section of the application is your selection criteria statement, in which you must demonstrate your knowledge, skills, qualifications and personal attributes, and how these address the core capabilities and core values of the AFP.

Your application form will be considered alongside the results of your employment suitability questionnaire and the online ACER assessment test It is important that you take advantage of the opportunity to tell the AFP why you are a suitable candidate to join them.

AFP Online Employment Suitability Questionnaire

After you have submitted your application form, the next step is to complete an AFP employment suitability questionnaire. This AFP test assesses your fit against the AFP employment character guidelines. This includes your legal history with the police, for example, any speeding or parking tickets you may have received.



The online test is the third part of the opening stage of your application. This test measures your abilities to gather, retain, process and apply information.

Physical Competency Assessment

Applicants for the Federal Police Development Program must pass a PCA in order to gain a place on the scheme. The PCA tests possible recruits for a base level of fitness required in the service. The AFP website has more information about what the personal fitness standards are for the role. They recommend you start training early in order to be able to pass the test.

Federal Police Development Program Assessment Centre

The whole day assessment centre is designed to assess your suitability against a set of criteria for joining the AFP. There is a range of activities at the assessment centre, each testing different skills. The AFP uses the assessment centre to look for evidence of your experience against their selection criteria: self-management, communication, teamwork, leadership, integrity, and diversity awareness. The activities at the assessment centre will all be based on realistic scenarios.

Assessments include:


The interview is your opportunity to impress the recruiters face to face. Your interviewers are two sworn officers and one non sworn employee. They will be assessing you against a set of selection criteria. They want evidence that you have put thought into your choice of career, and that you have researched the AFP and the particular area you want to work in. Interview question topics will include your capabilities, integrity, interests and personal history. Some time will have passed since submitting your online application form, so don’t forget to review what you have written there before your assessment day. 

Group Discussion

In this exercise, as in the rest of the day, the assessors will be observing how you work in a team setting. In a group discussion, the group is given a scenario and a task and is supposed to come to a solution or set of conclusions. During the discussion, you are observed for your team working skills, including the quality of your contributions as well as how you respond to people who are taking over the group, or others who are not contributing enough. Getting the balance right in a group exercise is difficult, and you will want to think about your strategy ahead of time. JobTestPrep’s website contains a group exercise package to help you with your planning.

Literacy Assessment

The literacy assessment will test your reading and writing skills. The test will be based on a scenario you may face as a sworn officer with the APF. Whilst you can’t prepare using the exact same test, check out JobTestPrep’s written exercises pages to brush up your skills.

Any time after the assessment centre you can be offered a spot at the academy, subject to you passing the medical test, psychological assessment, and security check. The psychological assessment includes some questions on a form, and a face to face interview with a psychologist to determine your psychological readiness to join the AFP.


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