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Basic Information about the APCAT

The Alberta Police Cognitive Ability Test or APCAT measures a candidate’s potential to effectively complete training and to perform successfully the duties of a police officer in the Alberta province.


The test contains of 120 multiple choice questions. Applicants have 30 minutes to look over the Pretest Study Booklet. After this, they have two hours and 15 minutes to finish the test. Candidates do not have to study before taking the APCAT because it measures a person’s thinking and reasoning ability and not their knowledge on a specific subject.


If a policy agency requires its applicants to complete the APCAT, that agency will arrange for its candidates to take the test.


Tips for Passing the Test

Although it may not be necessary to study before taking the APCAT there are a few tips and techniques, that if followed may help candidates succeed.


  • Be sure to get a good night’s rest.The APCAT is more than two hours of mentally challenging material. There is no way a person can do their best if they are groggy and tired. So, don’t stay out late the night before the test. Go to bed at a reasonable time to assure that you and your brain are well-rested. A good night’s sleep is no guarantee of a passing grade, but it will help you do your best.
  • Budget your allotted time wisely.
    The test is two hours and 15 minutes long. While this may seem like more than enough time, that actually divides out to about one minute per question of the 120 questions. If you spend three or four minutes on one question, keep in mind that you’ll need to make up that time later by answering some other questions quickly. You may find it helpful to decide the number of questions you should have answered by a certain time. For example, if you start the test at 8:00 a.m. you’ll be half way through the time allotted by 9:07 a.m. By this point you should also have completed half of the test questions.
  • Read through the instructions, questions and answers carefully.
    When answering questions don’t choose the first answer that seems correct. Read through all the answer options before deciding which is the best choice. If you’re having trouble deciding which is the correct answer, first eliminate all the answers that you know to be incorrect. This will leave you only the best answers to choose from and give you a better chance of choosing the right one.
  • Record your answers in the right place.
    Even if you know the right answer, you won’t get credit for it if you mark the wrong spot. Be sure to get all the credit you deserve by carefully recording your answers in the correct spaces on the answer sheet. You can always ask the test administrator to clarify if you have any questions. As you take the test, occasionally double check to make sure you’re marking your answers in the right place. Double check your answers if you have time left at the end.
  • Answer every question.
    This point cannot be stressed enough. The APCAT does not take away marks for answering questions incorrectly. So, if you have several questions remaining at the end of the test and not enough time to read and answers them thoughtfully, just pick an answer even if it’s a guess. If you leave the questions unmarked you’ll get zero points for those questions. But, if you at least guess you’ll probably get some correct. And because you won’t be penalized for wrong answers, it’s better for you to answer every question, even if you have to guess.
  • It’s normal to be nervous.
    It’s very normal to feel jittery and nervous before taking a test such as the APCAT. This is a big test and many people get nervous before taking it. It may help to arrive at the testing center early. This way you can familiarize yourself with the testing area and you’ll have a few moments to take a deep breath and relax before the test begins.