CHP Physical Ability Test (PAT) – Tips to Succeed


As a California Highway Patrol (CHP) cadet applicant, you must perform and pass the CHP Physical Ability Test (PAT) which is a straightforward physical strength and agility test. Preparation for this test is best done by pursuing a regular physical fitness training program that improves your cardio-respiratory endurance, core muscle strength, and overall flexibility.

The PAT consists of five (5) physical performance tests that include sprinting and running, upper body and trunk strength measurements, and coordination and balance abilities.

Once notified that you are scheduled for the PAT, be advised that you will need to have a photo ID, plus your completed STD 678 and CHP 446F forms. If you are under a physician’s care, you need to request their approval to participate.

The day before, and the day of, your PAT should be ruled by common sense. This means:

  • Get a good nights rest – 6 hours sleep minimum
  • No alcoholic beverages within 8 hours of your test time
  • No food within 3 hours of your test time
  • Avoid heavy physical or emotionally stressful work within 2 hours of your test time

Dress appropriately for strenuous physical activity – loose-fitting clothes and well-fitting athletic led shoes. What you wear during your usual fitness training sessions is fine. Your PAT is not the time to try out new athletic led shoes or clothing. Bring water and a light snack – again, these should be your accustomed work-out refreshments.

The PAT is designed to measure if you can perform the minimum physical requirements demanded of a CHP officer. This is done through five separate tests:

  • 100 yard Sprint – 20 second time limit
  • 500 yard Run – 2 minute time limit
  • Side Step – 10 second agility – 13 point minimum
  • Upper Body Strength – 3 tests on shoulder, grip, & dynamic arm strength
  • Trunk Strength Flexion – 113 pounds of force minimum using abdominals

Each portion of the PAT is pass/fail and you must pass all five of the PAT tests. Your score is given after each test, so you know where you stand throughout the testing.

Keep in mind that the PAT measures the minimum physical requirements for a CHP officer. Common sense dictates that you will face this test with confidence if you engage in a regular fitness training program. You will know what your body can endure, how it can perform under pressure, and how much you can demand of it. None of the PAT performance exams are outside the physical capability range of an applicant who has pursued a regular fitness regimen.

Your main goal is to stay focused on the task at hand, the test you are immediately facing, and not the tasks and tests that are ahead of you. Approach each test as you would approach each element of your regular fitness routine – recognize when you need hydrating, stretch and warm up before each test – and smile! You’re well-prepared and ready to blow right through your PAT and move on to your Qualifications Appraisal Panel (QAP) interview!

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