Entry Level Test Battery (PELLETB)

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California POST Exam (PELLETB)


The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) is a California state organization created by the legislature in 1959 to serve as a centralized source of standards for selection, development and training of peace officers serving under the various state, municipal and local law enforcement agencies. Agency participation is voluntary. Over 600 agencies currently participate in the program, which is funded by fines collected from people who violate the law.[1] POST established regulations in 1976 which required law enforcement agencies to insure that the reading and writing skills of all peace officers they employed met minimum standards necessary to perform their duties, as measured by examination. The examination used to assess reading and writing skills was developed to allow agencies to comply with these regulations. To set competency standards, POST performed a job analysis to determine the level of skill needed to adequately perform reading and writing tasks associated with the peace officer’s job, such as reading and interpreting laws and regulations, and preparing reports and issuing citations. The PELLETB (The POST Entry Level Law Enforcement Test Battery) was developed based on these required skills, and then validated by administering the exam to police academy students. The validation step clearly showed that performance on the PELLETB was correlated with academic performance.[2] The PELLETB is developed and maintained by the commission’s Standards, Evaluation, and Research Bureau (SER).[3] PELLETB soon became the most widely used POST exam among law enforcement agencies as well as other government organizations utilizing peace officers. Although agencies were required to enter into a security agreement with POST and undergo special proctor training in order to administer the exam, a series of proctor errors and security breaches raised concerns regarding the continued integrity of the PELLETB assessment tool. POST responded by launching a project in 2008 to enhance the proctor training program and move to an online, portal-based delivery.[4]

Function of the Test

POST Study Guide

The PELLETB is used to assess reading and writing proficiency to assure that entry level peace officers have the necessary oral and written communication skills to perform satisfactorily on the job. </ref>Entry-Level Test Battery FAQs July 19, 2015</ref> The PELLETB enforces the minimum standards set forth in California State law for the selection of peace officers. The test verifies that those who achieve a passing score have attained the skills required to be considered for a position in law enforcement. By law, an individual must meet these requirements prior to being hired as a peace officer either by passing the PELLETB or some other rigorously developed testing instrument.[5] Employers who use PELLETB to screen candidates for hire include police and sheriff departments, colleges and universities, airports, and municipal departments (parks and recreation, public safety, housing authority and so forth).[6] Average scores generally fall close to the statistical average of 50 set by POST. In 2011, the average score was 47.72, up from 47.10 in 2010.[7]

Test Administration

The exam is administered on site by trained proctors within individual hiring agencies who have adopted the PELLETB as part of their peace officer selection process.[8] There is no cost to take the exam, which is provided to participating agencies for use in their hiring process.[9] Candidates who do not pass the PELLETB may retake the exam after a minimum 30 day waiting period.[10]

Test Format

Test Structure

The PELLETB Exam contains three different sub-tests: Writing Ability, Reading Ability, and Reasoning Ability. The Writing Ability sub-test contains three sets of fifteen items that have to do with spelling, vocabulary, and writing clearly. The Reading Ability sub-test has sixty items, and has to do with reading comprehension and reading ability. The last sub-test, Reasoning Ability, has 16 items per sub-test, and tests ones ability to analyze information to answer questions.[11]

Test Environment

Testing for the PELLETB is administered through POST at various law enforcement agencies and basic training academies. It is administered only in paper and pencil format, and exam scores will be sent out within thirty days.[12]

Test Content

  • Sample PELLETB Spelling Practice Questions
  1. The suspect was trying to _______ us.
    A. decive
    B. deseive
    C. decieve
    D. deceive
  2. The _______ will be back next week.
    A. lieutenant
    B. leutenant
    C. lutenant
    D. lieutenent
  • Sample PELLETB Vocabulary Practice Questions
  1. The company invested in some nosie abatement technology.
    A. analysis
    B. reduction
    C. tolerance
    D. amplification
  2. His notoriety came in handy at times.
    A. fame
    B. entourage
    C. wealth
    D. talent
  • Sample PELLETB Clarity Practice Questions
  1. A. After talking to Javier, I didn't think the idea sounded as interesting.
    B. After talking to Javier, the idea didn't sound as interesting.
  2. A. The lawyer respects both the bailiff and the judge.
    B. The lawyer respects the bailiff as much as the judge.
  • Sample PELLETB Reading Comprehension Practice Questions
Questions 1 through 3 are based on the following text:

Jo's face was a study next day, for the secret rather weighed upon her, and she found it hard not to look mysterious and important. Meg observed it, but did not trouble herself to make inquiries, for she had learned that the best way to manage Jo was by the law of contraries, so she felt sure of being told everything if she did not ask. She was rather surprised, therefore, when the silence remained unbroken, and Jo assumed a patronizing air, which decidedly aggravated Meg, who in turn assumed an air of dignified reserve and devoted herself to her mother. This left Jo to her own devices, for Mrs. March had taken her place as nurse, and bade her rest, exercise, and amuse herself after her long confinement. Amy being gone, Laurie was her only refuge, and much as she enjoyed his society, she rather dreaded him just then, for he was an incorrigible tease, and she feared he would coax the secret from her. (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott)

  1. From what point of view is this passage written?
    A. First person
    B. Second person
    C. Third person
    D. Fourth person
  2. The phrase "was a study" implies that
    A. Jo looked jubilant.
    B. Jo looked secretive.
    C. Jo looked disheveled
    D. Jo looked angry.
  3. What can you infer about Laurie?
    A. He was stoic.
    B. He was taciturn.
    C. He was unruly.
    D. He was uncanny.

More free POST practice test questions.


POST scans completed answer sheets into an automated scoring system and tallies the number of correct answers to arrive at a raw score equal to the number of correctly answered questions on the exam. The raw score is converted statistically into a “T-score” which is positioned on a bell curve in which the average score is 50. A candidate whose T-score achieves lies between 40 and 60 is considered to have performed adequately. Those whose scores are below 40 are considered to be below average performers, while those who score 60 or above are considered to be above average performers. Because raw scores are used to calculate the T-score and thus each candidate’s position on the bell curve, POST advises candidates to attempt to answer as many questions as possible, even if it requires an occasional guess.[13] Each agency is at liberty to determine the “cut score” they will use to determine a candidate’s pass/fail status. However, POST recommends that agencies use a score of 42 or above as a passing score since their research shows that every point above 42 is associated with a greater likelihood of academic success.[14] Agencies are advised to set their cut score higher in order to achieve higher expectations of performance from their officers. The direct correlation between test scores and job performance supports use of a higher cut score.[15] Test results are provided only to the agency that administers the test. These agencies are required to inform candidates of their T-score results within 30 days of the test date.[16]

Recent/Future Developments

The PELLETB is a pencil-and-paper test, with some backend automation used to scan and tally scores from candidate’s answer sheets. POST’s strategic vision for 2015 and beyond is to obtain and implement computer-based testing and enhanced automated scoring tools to improve efficiency and accuracy of the services it provides to participating agencies.[17]

Answers to Sample Questions

Spelling: 1;D 2;A Vocabulary: 1;B 2;A Clarity: 1;A 2;A Reading Comprehension: 1;C 2;B 3;C


  1. ^ About POST July 20, 2015
  2. ^ Entry-Level Reading and Writing Tests for California Law Enforcement: Final Report July 19, 2015
  3. ^ Standards, Evaluation, and Research July 20, 2015
  4. ^ Post Commission Meeting Minutes July 19, 2015
  5. ^ Peace Officer Selection Requirements Regulations July 19, 2015
  6. ^ California Law Enforcement Agencies July 20, 2015
  7. ^ POST News Administrative Progress Report (APR) January 2012 July 20, 2015
  8. ^ Entry-Level Test Battery FAQs July 19, 2015
  9. ^ POST News Administrative Progress Report (APR) January 2012 July 20, 2015
  10. ^ Entry-Level Test Battery FAQs July 19, 2015
  11. ^ PELLETB Practice Test 10 August 2015
  12. ^ PELLETB FAQs 10 August 2015
  13. ^ Applicant Preparation Guide for the POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery July 19, 2015
  14. ^ Entry-Level Test Battery FAQs July 19, 2015
  15. ^ POST News Administrative Progress Report (APR) January 2012 July 20, 2015
  16. ^ Entry-Level Test Battery FAQs July 20, 2015
  17. ^ Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training 2015 Strategic Plan July 20, 2015