The Written Exam

About the Written Examination

The pass/fail written exam is a multiple-choice exam consisting of the following sections:
• Principles and Practices of Effective Writing
• Reading and Interpreting Job-Related Material
• Using Basic Mathematics
• Applying Policy and Procedures to Practical Situations
• Principles and Techniques of Interpretation, Resource Management
  and the following additional sections for lifeguard applicants:
• Surf, Ocean, Lake and River Swimming, Bathing, and Boating Hazards
• Signs and Symptoms of Swimmers Needing Assistance
• First Aid and Rescue Equipment and Their Proper Use and Maintenance
• First-Aid Practices and Resuscitation Methods

The written exam is given at various locations throughout the state.  Every effort is made to schedule applicants at the closest location.  Ranger applicants are allowed 3 hours to complete the test.  Lifeguard applicants have additional questions and are allowed 3.5 hours.

Preparing for the Written Exam

Although State Parks uses its own written exam, it’s similar in content to the written exam prepared by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST): POST Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (PELLETB).  PELLETB is used by many California law enforcement agencies.  POST provides an applicant guide to the PELLETB at:

As POST notes, however, “The best method for preparing for the test is to participate in activities that involve reading and writing. Assessment centers at community colleges can generally provide information about specific reading and writing deficiencies and guidance on how to improve those deficiencies. Online writing labs (OWLs) are another tool that can be used to identify weaknesses and improve reading and writing skills. A simple internet search will render results for the many OWLs that are currently available for free on the internet.”