Police Scotland Police Officer Assessment Centre and SET Test Preparation

Are you applying to be a police officer with Police Scotland? Practice is key to navigating all of these challenges, and JobTestPrep is here to help you with aspects of the recruitment process.
Practice SET Test

Practice SET test including Numerical, Verbal and Basic Numerical Reasoning Tests.

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Police Scotland unified all police forces in Scotland from April 2013. Local policing is now carried out by 14 local policing divisions in three command areas: East, West and North. As part of the unification of the police force, Police Scotland created a common process for recruitment, designed to help the service identify the best recruits to join the police. The police officer selection process includes:

  • Application Form 
  • Standard Entrance Test
  • SET Numerical Reasoning Test 
  • SET Verbal Test 
  • SET Basic Numeracy Test 
  • Initial Fitness Assessment
  • Initial Interview 
  • Assessment Centre
  • Police Scotland Interview
  • Medical
  • Final Fitness Assessment

  • Police Scotland advises that you meet the National Fitness Standard before you submit your application, as the fitness test determines your eligibility to proceed further in the application process. 

    Police Officer Competencies

    The police officer essential criteria will be tested throughout the application process. These criteria are:

    • Ability to demonstrate a realistic appreciation of the role and duties.
    • Ability to demonstrate adequate knowledge of key areas such as the training programme, fitness and conduct standards.
    • Highest levels of personal integrity, honesty, conduct.
    • Effective communication skills.
    • Strong community and customer focus.
    • Personal effectiveness.
    • Emotional resilience.
    • Problem solving skills.
    • Respect and understanding of equality and diversity.
    • Effective team working skills.
    • Proven level of physical fitness.
    • Strong desire for continual personal development.
    • Ability to study, learn and pass ongoing academic assessment, particularly throughout the two year probationary period.

    Application Form

    The application form contains questions about your experience and skills. In answering these questions, you need to demonstrate that you have the qualities needed to be an officer with Police Scotland. You should use examples from your past, be it work, social life, volunteering, education, leisure, or family life. Think your answers through, and provide as much detail as possible. You are assessed on the quality of your application as much as on the information in it.

    Application form questions:

    • Police officers often rely on teamwork in their everyday activities. Think of a situation where you had to work as part of a team to solve a problem or to achieve a goal. Describe the situation. How did you contribute to the team in this situation? What was the result and what did you learn?
    • It is vitally important in Scotland’s diverse society that police officers have respect for all. Think of an example when you have shown respect for lifestyle, culture or beliefs of someone even though his or her beliefs differed significantly from your own. Describe the situation and how you and the other person(s) differed. Which aspect of the difference did you find the most difficult to deal with? What did you do to show respect? What was the outcome of the situation?
    • It is important that police officers can demonstrate initiative and are well motivated to get things done without being told. Was there a time you used your initiative to complete a difficult task even though it might not have been your job to do so? What was the situation and what motivated you to complete the task? Describe what you did and what skills you used. What was the outcome and how did other people react?
    • Police officers often need to draw upon a wide range of experiences to carry out their job. In this part of the form you have the opportunity to inform us of any activities undertaken in your leisure time. Tell us about your hobbies and interests. Explain how these activities might relate to the role of a Police Officer. What experience do you think you can bring which would be relevant to the role of police officer.
    • Why do you want to pursue a career in the police service?
    • Please tell us about any other skills you have and any voluntary or community activities you have been involved with.

    Standard Entrance Test (SET)

    If your application form is approved, you will be invited to take the Standard Entrance Test, or SET. The SET is designed to test your language, information and number handling skills. There are three tests, and you must pass all three to move to the next stage. Your tests are marked at the assessment centre, and you will be told whether you have passed or failed on the spot. Some of the skills on the tests may be new to you, while you may not have used other skills on the test for awhile, so practice is essential.

    SET Numerical Reasoning Test

    The information handling test, also known as a numerical reasoning test, is designed to measure how you understand information presented in various ways, and accurately transfer information from one form of presentation to another. Information is given to you in the form of a graph, table, or form, and you are asked up to six questions on the information provided. Find out more about the SET numerical reasoning test and how to prepare with JobTestPrep. 

    SET Verbal Test

    The SET language test is designed to examine your ability to understand and use language. There are four sections to the test, all of which require you to use the language provided to complete the test. The four sections are: Complete the sentence; Fill in the blanks; Jumbled up sentences; and Answer questions on a passage with information. Learn more about the SET verbal reasoning test on our SET page. 

    SET Basic Numeracy Test

    In this number test you are examined on your ability to make numerical calculations. There are 20 questions in the test ranging from mathematical functions (addition, subtraction, division and multiplication) to calculations based on information. Prepare for the SET basic numeracy test with JobTestPrep. 

    Initial Fitness Assessment

    The fitness test takes place on the same day as the SET, directly after your tests have been marked. In the fitness assessment, you are tested on your cardiovascular fitness through either a bleep test or a 1.5 mile run.

    Initial Interview

    From the initial fitness test, you will be invited to a formal interview with two members of the recruiting team. This interview is your first opportunity to make a face-to-face impression on the recruitment team. In order to prepare for the interview you are advised to read up on the force you are applying to, visit police stations, or speak to serving officers.

    The interview will assess you on the following competencies (all included in the list above): effective communication, personal effectiveness, teamwork, respect for diversity, job knowledge, personal awareness, and service delivery. Since you have the list of competencies, prepare examples in advance of occasions when you have displayed these behaviours. They best way to organise answers is using the STAR method. Trying out your answers and preparing for an interview is best done with a mock interview. The JobTestPrep Skype based interview can give you real interview practice as well as feedback on how you did, enabling you to improve your technique before the real interview.

    Assessment Centre

    The Police Scotland Assessment Centre is a whole day session, with three practical exercises and a second interview. As Police Scotland are still in the process of their first recruitment cycle as a unified body, the assessment centre will be new to all candidates. The practical exercises can include anything from group exercises and role plays to a written exercise. You are being assessed on competencies throughout the day, so don’t forget to demonstrate them in each task.

    The competencies you are tested on at the assessment centre are:
    • Effective communication
    • Personal effectiveness
    • Team working
    • Respect for diversity
    • Personal awareness
    • Problem solving

    Assessment Interview

    At this point you will have a second interview. This interview tests different competencies than the first interview, so don’t forget to prepare new examples. It may also have been some time since you filled in your application form, so look over your answers to the questions to refresh your memory. The interview assesses you against the following competencies: effective communication, personal effectiveness, job knowledge, personal awareness, leadership and partnership working. It could have been a while since you had your last interview, so don’t forget to brush up on your interview technique. JobTestPrep can help you with this as well with our online interview preparation.

    Final Stages

    If you are successful at the assessment centre, you will then be called in for a medical, drugs tests, a second fitness assessment, and background checks. If you pass all these steps, chances are you will be offered a position.

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