Police Scotland Standard Entrance Test (SET) Preparation

Are you applying to Police Scotland? As part of recruitment to all positions, you will have to take the Standard Entrance Test, or SET. This page will guide you through the three tests that make up the SET, and highlight the resources available to help you prepare.
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The SET is a key part of Police Scotland’s recruitment process. You must pass each of the three tests in order to move on through the recruitment process. The fitness test is usually scheduled for the same afternoon, and can only be taken if you have passed the written tests. As a result, you will find out immediately if you have passed or failed the SET. The SET is approximately Standard Grade level. In this page we will discuss each of the three tests in detail.

The SET contains three tests:

Numerical Reasoning Test

The SET information handling test is also known as the SET numerical reasoning test. Numerical reasoning tests are commonly used in recruitment processes. You have to answer questions based on information given to you in a numerical format. You are being tested on how you understand this information, and how you can take the information from this format and use it to answer a question in a different format.

In the SET information handling test you are assessed on how you understand information presented in a numerical format in a table or graph, or on a form. Up to six questions are asked on each piece of information provided. The test is timed, with 30 minutes available to answer 24 questions. The pass mark on the test is 16 out of 24.

Numerical reasoning tests can be challenging for a number of reasons including:

  • The limited time for the test is one of the hardest elements as it creates pressure, which creates a dilemma between speed and accuracy.
  • You are not allowed to use a calculator in this test, you have to be able to work out the answer for each question on your own. Rough paper is provided for you to work out the answers.

Practising ahead of taking tests like this helps you improve both your speed and accuracy by making you familiar with the skills you need to answer the questions. With practice, you will also become familiar with the test itself, making you more relaxed when you come to take the test. JobTestPrep have created special numerical reasoning practice packs guiding you through the tests with expert help and tips. See how they can help you prepare for the test.

Verbal Test

The SET language test is designed to examine your ability to understand and use language, skills which are needed in all jobs. Verbal reasoning tests can take many different forms, but they all test how you can read and understand information.

The SET language test contains four sections. Each section tests a different skill, and all of which require you to use the language provided to complete the information. You are given 30 minutes to answer 40 questions, and the pass mark is 30.

The four sections are:

  • Complete the sentence - you are given a sentence with a word missing and four optional answers.
  • Fill in the blanks - you are given a passage with some words missing. You are given word options below the passage to choose from to put in the passage.
  • Jumbled up sentences - put the sentences in order from the words contained in brackets below.
  • Answer questions on a passage with information. There is a long passage and you are asked questions to answer based on the information in the passage only.

The fourth section is a verbal comprehension test. These tests require you to quickly read a passage, and be able to answer questions quickly and accurately on the information provided. This test is timed, which adds to the pressure on you to answer questions quickly and get them right.

Practising ahead of the SET can help you achieve a better result overall. JobTestPrep can help you prepare for the language test, with our verbal reasoning practice packs.

SET Basic Numerical Test

The SET number test tests how good you are at making numerical calculations. Calculations are an important part of a policeman's role, and they are often needed in times of pressure.

The SET number test tests your mathematical skills, how you add, subtract, multiply, and divide as well as how you make calculations based on information available. You have 30 minutes to answer 20 questions, and the pass rate is 13.

Some example questions include:

  • The distance from Perth to Oban measures 66 cm on the map. 4 cm represents 10 kilometres. How far is it from Perth to Oban?
  • A cyclist travels at an average speed of 21 miles per hour for three and a half hours. A rambler walks at 4 miles per hour for the same time. How much further does the cyclist travel?

The number test could create some challenges for you. You are not allowed to use a calculator in this test, but you will have paper to work out answers. You will have to complete the test within a short time frame, so you need to learn how to answer questions quickly, but get them right at the same time. It may also be some time since you have done any maths.

Practising for the tests will help you gain confidence in answering these types of questions and improve your skills. See how JobTestPrep can help you prepare for the number test on our website.

In Summary

Recruitment to Police Scotland (as Officers and Special Constables) is competitive, with many candidates competing for each available position. The pass marks are difficult, over 50% each time, so you will want to take practice tests to make sure you move up past the line. In this article we have given you more information about the tests and the resources available to prepare to take the test. We hope you have found this useful, and good luck.

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