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Post Info TOPIC: How to study for this Lieutenant exam

Co-Founder/Owner Rising Star

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How to study for this Lieutenant exam

For those serious about making this list, below are some tips on how to study for an NYPD promotional exam. These exams are only going to get more competitive once the Tier 3 guys and gals start taking exams because overtime is not pensionable for them! Feel free to add your tips below.

Studying for a police promotion exam is different from any studying you have done before: the material is very procedure-specific and the difference between a right answer or a wrong answer may hinge on minutia. This isnt like college where 90% of students pass; some promotion exams have pass-rates of less than 10%.


The key to you doing well are in your expectation (of what the test may be like) and your preparation leading up to exam day. We recommend you start your studying with the most difficult/hated procedures first (Im sure you have PG sections you like or hate from when you were studying for sergeant). The psychology behind this is in the beginning you are pumped and ready to hit the books hardharness this enthusiasm and use it to get the hard sections out of the way. Additionally, when you come down from your peak, the holidays will be approaching (and the weak will lose his or her will to continue studying). At this point, you (in your mind) wont give-up as easily since you invested a lot of time studying the hard sections and now the easier sections are coming. Remember, its easier to give-up when you havent done much yet than if youve already studied your least favorite sections and have comprehended them.


Dont try to guess what theyll ask; study as if they are going to throw a hard youre your way. Theres a chance that your exam may be a straightforward exam; theres also a chance that it may be a difficult examonly the exam writers know. When you study as if you are expecting a difficult examand if it is a difficult exam, youre sure to do well. If the test is straightforward, you will also do well. Either way, youre covered! You can study hard once, or study half-assed twice for the same rank



Proper preparation involves carefully reading the Patrol Guide and practice questions. You have to understand what it is youre reading! Doing well all comes down to this skillreading!


  • Some procedures will be easier to comprehend than others; these procedures you read once or twice and you get it
  • Sometimes, you have to take a quick glance at other actors duties to get it (its easier to retain something if it makes sense!)
  • For many procedures just reading it (and occasionally glancing at other actors duties to see the big picture) may not be enough; tackle these by:


Ų      Paraphrasingre-write it, but in your own wordskeep a notebook handy (this does not mean re-writing the procedure!)

Ų      Know what the words mean; look it up if you have to

Ų      Have someone explain it to you. Sometimes our brains refuse to comprehend the Patrol Guide because certain procedures defy common sense. Speaking with someone about this will confirm what it is you just read, therefore, making the material more digestible. On test day, you may not remember reading the procedure, but might remember the conversation


·        Some procedures you will just not get! Youve read it, outlined it, it was explained to you, you broke it down, created charts, etc. What do you do next? MEMORIZE IT! But not until the end, closer to exam day. Have a page or two of the most difficult items and go over this the morning of the test (possibly while standing in line; just dont forget to throw it out before you enter the school). Once youre allowed to write, take a minute or two to jot-down on your Blue Book tips that will help you recall these tough procedures.




Reading the Patrol Guide: How do you attack a 2,000+ page book? Where do you even begin?


            It is a lot to study, but its manageable. Have a study plan!


Once you start studying, reviewing starts, too. What do we mean by this? The best analogy we came up with is that studying the Patrol Guide is like spinning plates: You start with PG 202, and then you move-on to 203, 204, and so on. By the time you get to 215, you will have forgotten most of 202. This is quite normal! Dont be discouraged. Just like the plate spinner, once your 202 plate becomes wobbly, give it a quick spin and continue moving forward. Heres one way to keep all plates spinning:


Remember in school when you took different classes? Treat studying for the exam as studying different subjects. Your classes are: 1) Patrol Guide 2) our notes 3) our questions 4) your notes 5) study groups/other, etc. Make sure you allot AT LEAST 50-minutes for each class AT LEAST every other day (daily would be better).


Your classes for day should be in different sections of the Patrol Guide. For example, start with PG 202, 203, and 204 (reading and outlining). When you get to 205, start doing 202 questions. When your reading takes you to 208, you will be doing 205 questions; now start reading 202 outlines (to use another circus analogy, its just like juggling! Start with one ball and just keep adding more balls). By using this method, by the time youre reading 218, for example, you will be reading outlines from 215, doing questions from 212, your study group will be doing 207in one day you would have studied 4 or more different sections!




Improper reading (rushing through the sections, moving to another section when you have not comprehended the prior section, etc) stems from anxiety a lot of times. Anxiety that there is so much to study, and that if you dont move on, you will run out of time. You will not run out of time! Slow down.


  • Break the Patrol Guide into manageable chunks. Use smaller binders; psychologically, its less intimidating when you are studying off of a 1-inch binder (this is why we mail you the lessons weekly; we could save a ton of money mailing lessons to you in one shot, but it might be overwhelming. Keep-up with your weekly packets and you should be fine)
  • Try to have one spot where you do your hard studying. Sure, its routine and predictable, but it will signal your brain to relax. Make sure this area is in a quiet place with good lighting and few distractions
  • At times, stand-up, walk while reading
  • Discover your productive period (we are all different; are you more productive studying in the morning? Afternoon? Or maybe evening? In the beginning, study at different times and get a feel for what works best for you)
  • Read in 45-to-60-minute chunks. Studies have shown that this is optimal. Concentration, comprehension, and memory may decreases after this. At the same time, however, you should also do a marathon study session every month or sothis means studying for six hours straight! (with bathroom breaks) Why? To condition yourself for test day. Test day is not the day to realize that you cant sit still or concentrate for six hours!
  • If youre feeling good and confident, keep going (even past 45-to-60 minutes)! Stop, however, when you are tired
  • Practice the three Rs to understanding the Patrol Guide: Reading, Reciting, Reviewing

Ų      Read, but dont read it like a novel. Visualize the procedure; if its a procedure that requires notifications, visualize yourself making the notifications to the borough, duty captain, etc

Ų      Recite. Say it out loud. Put it in your own words

Ų      Review within a few hours of reading to enhance re-learning




How to outline: identifying testable nuggets


Outlining is great way to understand the Patrol Guide; it involves writing difficult procedures in a notebook. This does not mean re-writing the whole procedure, just select lines. This will require you to think: think about what is important and what isnt, thereby increasing retention.


When reading/outlining, think of these questions:


Ų      What are the important concepts?

Ų      How might test-writers trick you?




Highlighting has been shown to work more effectively than underlining. But just like outlining, highlighting should not be a mindless exercise.


People who highlight without thinking will instinctively highlight certain action words, like immediately, just as an example. However, these words may not be important. Take the phrase Immediately notify the Duty Captain How important is the word immediately? Not too important: notify the Duty Captain would still be a correct statement.


How do you prevent premature highlighting? Read using your fingers or keep the cap on the highlighter. Once youve read an actors duties and thought of what it means, then go back and highlight the important words/concepts.


·        When in doubt (meaning you dont know if something is important to highlight or not) use colored Post It.

·        Highlighting should be used judiciously; marking-up most of the page with highlights will not be of any great help to you.





Using acronyms:


Acronyms are a good way to remember important lists or procedures that require you to do certain tasks in a specific order. To increase retention, we recommended you make your own acronymsthis is something thats easy to do thanks to the internet. There are several websites you can visit, such as: ScrabbleCheat.com, WinEveryGame.com, or similar word finder programs. In the procedure for lost/stolen/recovered Department radio, for example, a former students acronym for the sequence of notification was OVEIS without the V. He envisioned getting a CD from Chief OVEIS.  Silly, but it worked for him!


A word about vacation time:


Surely, many of you will take vacation right before the exam. From speaking with past students you might be more productive if, for example, instead of taking three weeks off before the test you only take one week and use the other 10 vacations days to take off one day in the middle of the week, every week, for 10 weeks leading up to the exam. You can use this day off as a day where you double your normal studying time (i.e. if you do 4-hours of studying each day you study 8-hours on the days you take off). Again, this is just a suggestion; were all different.


Listening to CDs:


Listening to lessons/Patrol Guide on CD is a great way to ingest the material; however, it has to be done properly! If you choose to utilize audio, make sure you are actively (i.e. concentrating on every word) listeningnot just passively listening!
Most studiers, who utilize audio CDs, listen to its content in the background while
performing other tasks (such as driving). Rising Star believes that this practice is
counterproductive, especially when listening to practice questions and answers; if you're
not actively listening, you are subconsciously prone to hearing the "wrong" answer choices, pick-up on it, and store that information in your mind as correct. On test day, you dont necessarily have to know the right answer: you just have to recognize it! The questions we design ensure you recognize as many right statements as possible.


Another thing to consider about CDs: after a long day at work you might just be more productive if you listen to music and relax on the ride home and then study for 3-hours rather than listen to a CD of the Patrol Guide driving home and have no energy left to study (since you didnt have time to decompress).


-- Edited by eze on Wednesday 27th of August 2014 04:12:34 PM



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Posts: 1794

Thanks for the tips EZE!


The end is near,..good luck to all!,...

Senior Member

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Posts: 403

Thanks really good info

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