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The Police Oral Board Secret Weapon

Sergeant George Godoy

It is a good idea to practice your oral board answers, but what tools can you use to do that – and what tools give you an edge?

A video camera is a great tool. You need to see how you look to other people. What better way is there to get a good look at yourself? How about standing in front of a mirror? Both of these tools help you check out how you appear to others, but both miss the most important aspect of your oral board answers – what you say and how you sound when you say it.

Only one tool can give you what you need when you practice: a hand-held tape recorder.

Think about it. The Oral Board, you talking, and the officers on the board listening. That spotless police badge you want to wear hinges on you picking up a tape recorder and hearing what is going to come out of your mouth in that unbelievably important situation.

I was contacted by a coaching candidate recently. He had made it to some oral boards and one Chief’s Oral, but had not been successful. Now, an invitation to the LAPD oral board had been offered, so he wanted to set up a private coaching session.

After a few moments of talking with him, I was aware of something critical that was probably missing in his previous preparations. I asked him if he used a tape recorder to practice. He hemmed and hawed and finally, like 99% of the candidates I interview, said, “Well, no. But, I am thinking about it.”

I told him to use a tape recorder to hear how he sounded. After trying this, he got the message – his answers were garbage.

Applicants want a badge so bad they will do nearly anything ethically and morally to get it, except to use the most effective preparation tool around.

For some reason, they do not get how valuable using a tape recorder is for practicing your answers. You can get your timing, inflection, and volume down pat, see where to cut material and how many uhs and duhs fill the pauses – and last, but not least, to see if you sound like Donald Duck.

To be successful at the police oral boards, you need to get married to your hand-held tape recorder. You need to hear what the oral board members are going to hear. That little tape recorder will narrow the distance between you and the badge you want so badly.

The first thing a candidate says when he hears his voice on a tape recorder is always, That’s not me! Well, yessir, it is you. And if you want it to sound different, glue that hand held tape recorder to your palm and practice, practice, practice.

Guys prepare for the Police Oral Boards by thinking about their answers and then writing them down. For some reason, they think that because they wrote them down, their answers will magically come rolling out of their mouths in the oral board. But, trust me, they will not! Your brain and mouth just don’t work that way.

If you want to prepare by writing something down, try this:

Write down your oral board questions on some 3×5 cards. You can use the Top 20 Asked Police Oral Board Questions found at

Practice your answers with the tape recorder.

Play back your recorded answers. If you hear something you don’t like, write it down on the back of the 3×5 card with that question.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago


    with tight budgets, this could make the difference!!!

  • Img_0027_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Thanks for the tips.

  • Img_0475_max50


    over 6 years ago


    good advice, ill def use this a few years down the line...

  • Images_max50


    over 6 years ago


    The Toast Masters group helps people become capable speakers, you might find one in your area. It's a great way to meet like minded people who'd like to speak as intelligently as they are. Check it out!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago


    thanks for the tips.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 6 years ago


    Good tutorial, thanks I'll keep it in mind.

  • Moto_0023_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Wish I would have read this a couple of weeks ago....just had my oral board this morning.....Started yesterday with the POPAT and 26 candidates, only 23 made it to the written test, then this morning the field was narrowed to 13 of us that had passed the written exam....I did alright, but I know I could have done allot better on the oral...

  • Me_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Good information to put to use. Hopefully I will get to put it to use through my application process.

  • Me__2__max50


    over 6 years ago


    That's a great suggestion. I can finally use my digital recorder for something productive. I hate the way I sound recorded, though. I'll give that a try.

  • 223353_211118205583213_100000551066025_802945_8209447_n_max50


    over 6 years ago



  • Ronnie_max50


    over 6 years ago


    Great advice. I will definitely put it to use when it is my turn at the oral boards.

  • Evil_shinanigans_max600_max50


    over 6 years ago


    As an LE supervisor, I interviewed several candidates. Also, I have interviewed with over 15 LE agencies. This is some of the best advise out there. Just recently I interviewed for another agency. I tested 100+% and I was by far the most qualified person they interviewed. I was not hired because I went into the interview mentally unprepared. I winged it. I haven't practiced interview questions in years and it showed. I wasn't speaking loud enough, confident enough, and I was stumbling with my answers. Practice and mental preparedness are the keys to a good interview.
    Here are the most common questions that I have encountered and used.
    1) Tell me about yourself.
    2) What was the most difficult situation you ever faced in getting along with a supervisor (or co-worker)? How did you work through the situation, and what was the outcome.
    3) Describe a negative work experience where you learned from the experience? (follow-up) How did you apply that knowledge to another situation?
    4) What is your experience in dealing with people of different cultures? (diversity)
    5) What are the three most import personality traits for a police officers, and why?
    6) What is your best personality trait?
    7) What is your worst personality trait?
    8) Why do you want to work for THIS department?

  • Kanji-symbol-for-love_max50


    almost 7 years ago



  • Cross_max165_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    very good advice!!!

  • Big_bad_pig_max50


    almost 7 years ago


    When you get his answer hcgale, please post it for me too! DAMN!

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