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Top Tips for Success in the Critical Incidents Test (CIT)

  • Datalaw Admin
  • Apr 5, 2017
  • 0 comment(s)

Many Police Station Representative candidates feel that the Critical Incidents Test is the most difficult aspect of the accreditation; in fact there's always someone in your firm who'll tell you it's impossible to pass. But the CIT is simply assessing what you do everyday when attending the police station, much of which is usually done without a second thought. The purpose of the CIT isn't to trick or confuse you, it's your chance to show the Assessor your knowledge and skills as a representative. When you sit the CIT you'll be well under way as a probationary rep. and attending the police station regularly, coming across various offences, clients and issues. Along with the experience you already have, here are some helpful tips on passing the Critical Incidents Test first time:



All of our CIT assessments are held in the afternoon, allowing you ample time to catch the right train or avoid rush hour traffic on your way to the test centre. It's never nice to arrive late, flustered, dishevelled and needing the loo - but even more so when you're about to undertake an assessment. Ensure you give yourself ample time to arrive at the venue, catch your breath, use the bathroom and go over your notes. The invigilator will make sure you're comfortable before proceeding with the test, but you'll only provide more stress for yourself if you're not on time. 



You can bring any materials you think will be useful into the assessment - this includes text books, handwritten notes, pro-forma sheets, cue cards etc. The time you have to refer to these will be limited, so it's not advised to bring a suitcase full of stuff (which has happened) but rather compile organised and methodical materials. All of the questions that are asked in the CIT, you can answer; you're a probationary rep. and are used to dealing with these matters. The notes you bring should simply build upon knowledge you already have.



At the end of each question you have 30 seconds to gather your thoughts and consult your notes before starting your answer. 30 seconds may not seem like a long time, but it is. The invigilator is timing this and will give you an indication when 20 seconds are up, so it's not going to creep up on you unexpectedly. Use this allocated time to your advantage - you may know how to answer the question straight away, which is great, but just give yourself a head start by opening the correct page of PACE or turning to the relevant section of your notes so you don't have to do this in the middle of your answer. Even if you don't need to consult any notes, just take the time to think through what you're about to say.



A candidate can be doing really well, answering all questions calmly and professionally, but if they come out of role play at any point the assessment is a failure. Coming out of role play includes such things as asking the invigilator to explain something (they are not permitted to do so), saying 'I would speak to the client and tell them...' or 'I am now going to tell the police...'. You have to imagine, as much as possible, that you are speaking directly to the person on the tape. Each question will make it clear who you are addressing e.g. your client, custody officer etc. so you simply have to pretend that you are speaking to them as though they are sitting in front of you.



Nerves can get the better of all of us, but with adequate preparation and forethought there is no reason this should happen during the CIT. The invigilator will explain everything that is going to happen, in as much detail as you require. They will answer any questions you have and are very good at making you feel at ease during the process. We would always recommend practicing some CIT scenario questions beforehand with a colleague or a friend - Datalaw offer an online comprehensive support course which includes two recorded lectures, numerous CIT scenarios and an audio recording of a CIT which you can use as a mock exercise. The more knowledge you have about what you are likely to come across, the calmer you will be during the test.


Good luck, don't fret, and get in touch if you have any questions about the CIT.

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