How to Test For the LAPD


Testing for the Los Angeles Police Department is a long process. There are mental and physical tests, background checks, interviews and a polygraph examination, which will determine eligibility for entrance into the police academy. Candidates must be at least 20.5 years old when beginning the application process and have a high school diploma or a GED. A passing grade on the entrance exams must average 70 percent. A 75 percent grade on the Personal Qualification Essay is required. The standards are very high.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer with Internet Connection
  • Printer
  • Paper
  • Transportation around the Los Angeles Area

Preliminary Eligibility

  • Head to and click on the Preliminary Background Application and Job Preview Questionnaire. This portion of the test is designed to determine the strength of the applicant. Candidates must take this test online.

  • Print the results of the Preliminary Background Application and Job Preview Questionnaire. Bring these results to the testing center for the Personal Qualifications Essay, a written test.

  • Head to and find a time and location to take your Personal Qualifications Essay, exam. You must receive at least 75 percent on the Personal Qualification Essay to proceed to the next step.

  • If you pass the Personal Qualifications Essay exam you will be invited to proceed to the Physical Abilities Test, which usually occurs twice per month.

  • Complete both phases of the Physical Abilities Test, which tests both cardiovascular and muscular strength

Interviews and Personal History

  • Complete and submit The Personal History Form available here. It is important to be forthcoming about any indiscretions. They can be explained at the next step, The Background Interview.

  • Schedule The Background Interview. Any issues noted will be discussed.

  • If passed the Background Interview, a Polygraph Exam will be scheduled. A Polygraph Exam is a lie detector test and further questions about an application will be asked to determine suitability.

  • The final interview is called The Department Interview and is in front of a panel which evaluates the candidates entire resume, as well as their test success up to this point.

  • If passed through the Department Interview, the candidate is required to undergo a final medical and psychological evaluations. If the doctor deems the candidate fit for duty, the candidate is placed on the eligibility list for Police Academy.

Tips & Warnings

  • If deciding to apply to the LAPD, begin preparations for the physical examination early in the application process.
  • If the candidate fails any step in the exam it can generally be retaken after a set amount of time.

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  • Photo Credit Siri Stafford/Lifesize/Getty Images
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