Those who have signed up to take the civil service exam to become a member of the New Bedford Police Department can take advantage of some upcoming free training to help better prepare for the test.

On Saturday, March 11, representatives from the department will be hosting a civil service test preparation event in the community room of Keith Junior High beginning at 10 a.m.

“This is something that hasn’t been done in the past,” Lt. Scott Carola said in a recent appearance on WBSM. “It was something we didn’t have to do before, because (police work) was a business that sold itself. Now we find ourselves in the position of trying to recruit people for the job. To that end, we’re pulling out all the stops.”

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In January, police were looking to help those who are interested in joining the department know how to apply for the civil service exam, and promised then that they would be offering this event to help prepare those who are taking the exam.

“Now that we have gotten people to sign up for the test and take the test, we want to help them prior to game day,” Carola said. “Test preparation can help you be more relaxed on test day, and I would rather know half the information and be completely relaxed than know everything and be a nervous wreck.”

Saturday’s event will see Carola, Sgt. Matthew Rodrigues, and North End Captain Derek Belong taking the sample test provided by civil service and go over it question by question with the attendees in a group setting.

“Not only will we discuss why an answer is correct, but it’s equally important to know why an answer is not correct,” Carola said. “A lot of times with these tests, the way it’s designed, the answers, one is just more correct than another, they’re not way off where B, C, and D are obviously wrong, and A is correct. Sometimes A is pretty close to B and the differences are subtle, so it helps to have some preparation.”

Sgt. Rodrigues said the test will be computerized and will be in three sections.

“The first section is the ability test, a series of questions to check your reading comprehension, problem-solving ability and your reasoning,” he said. “They’ll give you a short example, and it’s a multiple choice A, B, C or D, and they’re looking for the best possible answer. It’s not always clear and obvious.”

Rodrigues also said that if you’ve signed up for the civil service exam to become a police officer, now is the time to start working out in preparation for the physical part of the exam.

“Going through this process, the biggest hurdle we’ve found so far is that when it comes time to take the physical ability test, the running test, most are not ready to take that,” he said. “They wait until we call them and tell them we’re hiring to start working out.”

He said the key exercises to prepare for the exam are push-ups, sit-ups and running.

“If you’ve signed up for this exam, start running now,” he said.

Rodrigues said there is also a plan underway to offer a workout course to prepare for the exam the same way the department is putting one together for the written portion.

As for this Saturday’s event, Carola said the plan is to accommodate as many people as possible at the Keith community room.

“Conceivably, this is for people who have signed up for the exam to work in New Bedford specifically, but if you have people from out of town, or people that have never taken the civil service exam before but might want to next year, we’re open to that as well, as long as we have room,” he said.

The event is expected to last approximately three hours, and attendees are asked to register in advance by contacting Lt. Carola at

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