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PELLETB Test: Guide & Tips 2023

PELLETB Test: Guide & Tips 2023

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To embark on a career as a police officer – also known as a peace officer – in California, you’ll need to take the POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (or PELLETB test).

The test is a US Police Civil Service exam that assesses language and communication ability through challenging an applicant’s reading comprehension, vocabulary and writing skills.

This article will cover the nature and structure of the PELLETB test, and the question types involved, including some examples of the style of questions you’ll encounter.

It will also review the scoring system for PELLETB and share some handy tips for preparing for and taking the test.

Preparation is the key to success on pre-employment tests such as the PELLETB and the first step is knowing exactly what the testing process will involve.

What Is the PELLET B Test?

The Commission Regulation 1951 states that all police officers must have a level of reading and writing ability commensurate with the responsibilities of a law enforcement role.

In 1959, the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) was established in California – with the purpose of ensuring standards across law enforcement selection and training.

In 1976, it was decided that a proficiency exam was needed so that applicants could be objectively measured against a benchmark standard for language, reading and writing abilities.

The PELLETB test was therefore designed by the State of California to ensure the presence of these competencies in all law enforcement recruits.

Over 600 agencies use the PELLETB as their written exam to assess applicants. Note that large counties, such as San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles, don’t use the PELLETB as they have devised their own entrance exams.

The PELLETB is considered to be one of the hardest law enforcement tests in the US but, with appropriate preparation, you’ll soon have the pass result you need to set out on your policing career.

The Three Parts of the PELLET B Exam

The PELLETB test is used to comprehensively assess three areas of language ability:

  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Reasoning

The test features a total of 120 questions in both multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank styles.

The test has a time limit of two hours, so you’ll need to work through the test calmly, quickly and accurately to ensure you cover all the questions in the given time.

Let’s explore the three sections of the test in greater detail.

1. Writing Ability

The writing ability section of the test has three subsections, each with 15 questions:

  • Clarity
  • Spelling
  • Vocabulary


In the clarity section, each question will involve two sentences. You’ll be asked to select which is written correctly.

When choosing, remember the rules on grammar and sentence structure. For example, a run-on sentence with improper clause connections or a sentence with modifiers in the wrong place should be discounted as incorrect.


The spelling questions each feature a sentence that is missing a word. You’ll need to select the correctly spelled word from four options.


To assess vocabulary, one word in each sentence presented will be underlined. You’ll need to select either the correct synonym for this word or the right definition.

There will be four options to choose from.

Note that the words used in these sections will be common to a law enforcement setting.

2. Reading Ability

The reading ability section on the PELLETB test has two sections:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • CLOZE Reading

Reading Comprehension

This section has 28 questions based around paragraphs of text, usually in the style of reports or policy and varying in length.

You’ll be required to answer each question based on the information given within the passages, using your skills of analysis and deduction.

For example, you may be asked to select the most accurate sentence from a set of four.

The idea is to show that you fully understand the content and the inferences that can or can’t be made from it.

CLOZE Reading

The CLOZE Reading section of the test involves 40 paragraphs with many missing words. The words are replaced with dashed lines, in which the number of dashes represents the number of letters in the missing word.

You’ll need to read through the passage and deduce the missing words by considering the content, sentence syntax, style and tone.

There won’t be any multiple-choice answer options here, so you’ll need to come up with all of the missing words through carefully analyzing the passage.

Sometimes more than one word will be correct given the context. At other times, there will only be one suitable word for filling the gap.

3. Logical Reasoning

The Logical Reasoning section of the PELLETB involves ordering and grouping information presented and employing pattern recognition skills.

For example, you may need to identify relationships, make linkages and order events to select the correct multiple-choice answer for each question on the information displayed.

PELLET B Practice Test Examples

As part of your PELLET B test prep, you’ll need to become familiar with the type and formats of the different questions you’ll encounter within the three sections of the assessment.

Take a look at the POST PELLET B sample test questions below.

Writing Ability


Example Question

Select the correctly formed sentence:_

a) Once the case was closed, the officer completed and archived the case report.
b) The officer completed and archived the case report. Once the case was closed.


Example Question

Select the correct spelling of the word missing from the sentence below:

The prisoner [BLANK] a book at the guard.

a) Through
b) Threw
c) Throw
d) Thorough


Example Question

Select the synonym for the bolded word:

The suspect was apprehended during a night raid.

a) interviewed
b) overlooked
c) jailed
d) arrested

Reading Ability

CLOZE Reading

Example Question

Fill in the blank spaces in the paragraph below with the correct words:

The juvenile criminal justice system involves many people. Consider the following example:

Kate was just 12 years old when she _ _ _ arrested for the first time. She had lots of friends _ _ school. Teachers verified that during the period _ _ her initial arrest, she was a very diligent _ _ _ _ _ and achieved top grades.

Logical Reasoning

Example Question

Answer the question related to the sentence below:

The police officer entered the room before the suspect, and the witness was already standing by the window.

Who was the first person in the room?

a) The suspect
b) The police officer
c) The witness
d) None of the above

How Is the PELLET B Test Scored?

On the PELLETB test your raw score (the number of questions you answered correctly) is automatically converted to a standardized T-score.

A T-score places your result in a distribution (bell curve) – enabling it to be compared to the average performance.

For the PELLETB, a T-score of 40 to 60 is considered the average range, whilst a score of 60 or above is above average. You will receive a letter from the department to which you have applied, detailing your T-score.

A score of 42 or higher is generally needed to have a chance at being selected. So, although there’s no official pass/fail mark, you should aim for a mark above this threshold.

If you receive a below average score, you can retake the test after 30 days have passed – either for the same agency or department, or a different one.

Your test score is technically valid in perpetuity but note that some departments may ask you to retake the test to get a more up-to-date picture of your language skills.

PELLETB Test: Guide & Tips
PELLETB Test: Guide & Tips

How to Prepare for the PELLET B Test

For a test like the PELLETB, involving multiple sections and subsections that tap into different language skills, PELLET B test preparation is vital to success.

Check out the step-by-step PELLET B exam study guide below to help you prepare for the PELLETB and give yourself the best chance of passing the test.

Step 1. Understand the Test Format

The first step in preparing for the PELLETB test is understanding its format, structure and content and what is expected of you.

Once you are familiar with this, you’ll feel more confident and be able to target your preparation.

Step 2. Take PELLET B Practice Exams Online

The most effective way to improve your performance is to complete PELLET B practice exams online.

The more questions you answer, the more you’ll get used to the demands of the test.

If you’ve tackled similar questions before, you’ll stand more of a chance of answering those tricky questions correctly on the official test.

Step 3. Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Just taking practice tests isn’t, however, enough to ensure you score well on the test.

It is important to be active in your preparation, reviewing your performance on the tests after taking them and going through your responses carefully to understand the origin of any mistakes you made.

By doing this, you’ll become conscious of your areas of strength and weakness and can target your preparation focus accordingly.

Step 4. Read a Lot of Different Materials

The PELLETB assesses language ability, so exposing yourself to as much good quality reading material as possible in the run up to the test can help your grasp of language conventions and vocabulary.

As the PELLETB uses material related to law enforcement, try to consume similarly styled text – such as policy or reports.

It’s also sensible to actively swat up on your law enforcement vocabulary and spelling.

Step 5. Get a Good Rest Before the Test

As attention to detail is important in the PELLETB – in terms of both spelling and grammar – strong focus and a good attention span throughout the test are vital to success.

To give yourself the best chance of succeeding on the test, allow your brain the rest it needs on the run up to the test – and especially the night before.

An overworked tired brain will not be able to process and generate the answers to the PELLETB questions as quickly or accurately as a well-rested one.

Tips for Taking the PELLET B Test

Sitting the PELLETB test can be a nerve-wracking experience, as your police career likely depends upon an above-average mark.

To perform well during the test and display your ability to your chosen department’s recruitment team, consider the following tips:

Read the Questions Carefully

The PELLETB is a timed test, but this doesn’t mean you should rush.

Take the time to read each of the questions carefully, so you can be sure you’re answering the question that’s written (not the question you think is written!).

As lots of the PELLETB questions involve reading passages of text, it may be tempting to skim read – but resist the urge.

Your answers need to be based on the specifics of the material given, so make sure you have a firm grasp of the content.

Whilst speed is needed, haste will be your downfall.

Don’t Get Stuck on a Single Question

You’ll need to work at a steady pace through the test, without compromising accuracy. If you find yourself perplexed by a question, give it your best-informed guess and move on to the next one.

Otherwise, due to the large number of questions to be completed within the 2 hours, you’ll fail to finish the test.

The PELLETB isn’t negatively marked, so you won’t have extra points deducted for incorrect answers.

Test Different Answers if You Are Unsure

If you’re unsure of the correct answer, particularly on the fill-in-the-blank questions, test out the possibilities by inserting them into the sentence and reading it to yourself.

Listen to how it sounds, and this should help you rule out answers that don’t fit in the context.

Frequently Asked Questions

PELLETB stands for the POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery. The test is a requirement for applicants applying to be a police officer (also known as a peace officer) in the US State of California.

The PELLETB test consists of 120 questions, split into three main sections – writing, reading and reasoning. These sections are also made up of subsections. The question type encountered differs across each subsection of the test.

The average PELLETB score is 50 – a score between 40 and 60 is considered within an average bracket. To score above average, you’ll need a mark of 60 or above.

You can best prepare by answering free online PELLET B practice test questions, reading PELLET B exam study guides and taking practice test papers online.

WikiJob can provide access to free online PELLET B test questions and a PELLET B study guide to help you prepare for your upcoming exam.

The purpose of the PELLETB test is to assess language and communication ability through challenging an applicant’s reading comprehension, vocabulary and writing skills.

It seeks to ensure that all law enforcement employees in the State of California have language abilities that meet the standards outlined in the Commission Regulation 1951.

You’ll have two hours to complete the PELLETB test. It’s a timed assessment, so must be finished within this time window.

A good score on the PELLETB is a mark of 60 or above. This is considered to be above-average and you’ll stand a good chance of being accepted into a training program if you reach this threshold.

You can find more example PELLET B test questions via JobTestPrep, which has Police Exam sample papers..

The PELLETB test is considered one of the most challenging law enforcement exams but, with adequate preparation, you’ll feel confident to secure the score you need to progress your law enforcement career.

Yes, after 30 days has elapsed you may retake the PELLETB test to apply again for the same department or to a different department or agency.

As well as practice questions and sample papers, accessing relevant reading material online – for example, in the style of reports and policies – can help you become accustomed to the style of the passages of text you’ll encounter on the PELLETB test.

You can also research law enforcement terminology and ensure you are familiar with the definitions and spellings of commonly used words.

After taking the PELLETB test, you’ll receive your T-scores in a letter from the department you’ve applied to.

If your score was enough to progress on the journey to becoming a police officer, you’ll be contacted by the department.

Final Thoughts

The PELLETB is a likely unavoidable hurdle if you’re looking to work as a police officer in California as, according to regulation, you must display a certain standard of language ability.

The test may be considered one of the trickiest law enforcement assessments but, with active preparation, you’ll be able to achieve the score you need to embark on your policing career.

Use online sample papers to become familiar with the test format and hone your language skills – across reading comprehension, vocabulary, spelling and grammar.

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