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Training Advice

Getting into NZ Police isn’t a walk in the park – but it’s definitely worth the effort. To be accepted into NZ Police training you’ll need to be fit enough to pass the police physical tests, and bright enough to complete a range of assessments. You’ll also need to show that you have the right attitude and personal qualities to be a police officer.

If you think you might not be fit enough, or you have any other doubts about your suitability for the job, the training advice below will help you become a better recruit. Follow the advice, and you’ll definitely increase your chances of being accepted into NZ Police training.

Already sent in your forms?

Download this 'preparing for police selection' booklet, if you've already completed your recruit application. This booklet contains tips and suggestions to help you prepare for your Assessment day, right through to reaching Royal New Zealand Police College.


The earlier you start the recruitment process, the sooner you’ll be ready to start your NZ Police training. The best time to start is while you’re still at school, engaged in tertiary education, or while you’re already in a job if you have one.

Many of the early stages of the police recruitment process can fit in around your other commitments. That means you don’t need to wait until you’ve finished school or quit your job to apply.

It will also help your case if you show us that you’re committed to work or learning, rather than applying after a lengthy employment gap. You’ll need to explain the reasons for this if you are.


It’s no secret that you need to be physically fit to get into NZ Police training. If you play a sport or have a fitness regime already, that’s a great start. Although you may find that your usual activities don’t prepare you for the very specific requirements of the Physical Appraisal Test (PAT) and Physical Competency Test (PCT). It’s therefore essential that you prepare yourself for each of the physical tests you’ll have to pass.

Training for the PAT and PCT physical assessments

It’s important to start preparing for the police physical assessments as soon as possible. If you’re relatively unfit, start with a walking programme and slowly build up to a regular running program to improve your cardiovascular fitness.

You should also do press-ups regularly, and train for the vertical jump test by doing step-ups, one-legged squats and bench jumps. Then, when you’re ready, practice the vertical jump as well.

To prepare for the grip test, try squeezing a tennis ball or soft ball, or use one of the many grip-strengthening devices on the market.


The ability assessments will test your verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and abstract reasoning. These are all skills that you’ll need to carry out the job of a police officer. The best way to test your current ability is to complete the practice assessments online. If you don’t meet the required standards, try following the advice below to help improve your abilities. A relevant book to help you revise, containing vocabulary, numerical and abstract patterns is Joosten, V. (2000) "Preparing for Career Selection Tests - Numeracy and General Ability", 2nd and 3rd editions.

 Verbal Reasoning Assessment

You might find it beneficial to do crosswords and other word puzzles. You should also read more, and increase your vocabulary by exploring words you don’t understand in a dictionary.

Numerical Reasoning Assessment

Practice basic addition, subtraction and multiplication problems, and make sure you’re familiar with things like number sequences, ratios, percentages, fractions and decimals.

Abstract Reasoning Assessment

Try doing puzzles involving diagrams, and play games that involve thinking out problems logically, and in a visual sequence, like chess, labyrinth and freecell on a PC.


Being a police officer requires more than just physical fitness and intelligence. You’ll also need to be community minded and display a positive attitude.

To become a better candidate, and increase your chances of being accepted into NZ Police training, you might want to think about doing some work in your community. This could include:

  • Working with a community group
  • Joining a community patrol
  • Coaching sports
  • Mentoring young people
  • Volunteering
  • Fundraising.