Preparing For Your Security Guard Test (License Exam)

Before you take your security guard license exam, here’s how to prepare yourself to ace the test and earn your badge.

The purpose of the test is to ensure security guards are knowledgeable about regulations, best practices, and essential duties outlined by the ministry in the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 (PSISA), and the Training Syllabus for Security Guards. It’s only available to recent graduates of security guard license training programs and existing security guards who need to renew their license. Let’s get to it! Here’s what to expect and how to prepare.

Security Guard License Exam Format

What kind of test is the security guard license exam in Ontario? It’s a 60-question multiple-choice test that you’ll sit for in person. You are given 75 minutes to complete the exam. You’ll learn your results within five business days. You must earn 62% or higher to pass the exam and earn your license.

Study Guide: Topics Covered in the Ontario Security Guard License Exam

What are you going to be tested on? While your security guard training will prepare you for the exam and the job ahead, you still need to practice and study to retain the new information. It’s also essential to organize your thoughts in a way that will be familiar when you start the test. Study up on the following topics:

  1. The Ontario security industry and requirements, including the Private Security and Investigative Services Act, 2005 (PSISA) and the Training and Testing Regulation (2010)

  2. Details of the PSISA including:

    1. Licensing requirements

    2. General rules that outline how a security guard can and must legally present themselves

    3. Code of conduct

    4. Uniform and visibility requirements

    5. Criminal record

    6. Penalties

  3. Security guard best practices are widely accepted to put the best interests of the public first while adequately serving the employer's duties. Categories include:

    1. General duties

    2. Safely controlling access to and from facilities

    3. Handling suspicious packages

    4. Controlling crowds and risky groups

    5. Managing traffic

    6. Patrolling via foot, vehicle, and surveillance equipment

    7. How to recognize the effects of drugs and alcohol on individuals and safely manage them

  4. Documentation — writing reports that keep track of the day’s happenings, capture important evidence, and collect details from individuals and businesses impacted by any security issues

  5. Maintaining a safe workplace and handling toxic or dangerous materials

  6. Preventing, detecting, and responding to emergencies such as fires, alarms, medical issues, physical altercations, or other scenarios that could be considered a crime scene

  7. The Canadian legal and court system, including how to handle evidence

  8. A security guard’s legal authority, such as to determine if an individual is trespassing and when they have the power to make an arrest

  9. Communication, including verbal and non-verbal cues that can be used to detect dangerous behavior and share messages with coworkers without alerting bystanders

  10. How to be respectful and sensitive to people based on their ethnicity, religion, gender, and other factors to maintain integrity, fairness, and legality

  11. Use of force theory, including when a security guard would be authorized to potentially harm an individual to subdue a security threat

  12. First aid skills and knowledge that enable a security guard to act as a first responder in some medical situations and reduce harm in others

What else can you do to get ready besides studying these topics?

Strategies to Prepare for the Security Guard License Test

Here are the most effective ways to study for the security guard license exam.

Take Practice Quizzes

Put yourself in the hot seat with practice exams that test your knowledge and ability to think under pressure. When you choose a training program like Ontario Security License, your educational package includes practice tests and other resources that emulate what it’s like to take the real exam.

Not only is it a great way to gauge how close you are to acing the test, but it also helps you get familiar with how questions are phrased so you can move through them more quickly when the big day comes. After taking practice quizzes, seek feedback on any questions you got wrong. This can come from your instructors, peers, or even through the detailed answers provided by the practice exam resources themselves.

Review Your Notes

Chances are, you wrote things down in a way you understand — that’s extra helpful when trying to remember all the topics above. Compare your perspective to the specifics of your instructional materials and practice tests to identify gaps in your understanding. Fill those gaps by studying, and you’re bound to thrive when exam day comes.

Rest, Relax, and Manage Any Stress or Anxiety

Being well-rested and up to the day's challenges is critical to succeeding in the exam and a security guard career, too. Plan ahead so you’ll have adequate time to get a good night’s rest and avoid any other stressful situations.

The exam is bound to make you a little anxious. It’s a big move for your career, after all. The trick is putting that anxiety to work for you and not letting it work against you. Channel your nerves into studying, exercising, and other helpful activities that focus, soothe, and fortify the mind.

Join Study Groups or Online Forums

Collaboration can enhance your understanding and retention of the security guard training material. Joining a study group or an online forum for the industry in general and Ontario can provide you with different perspectives and explanations of the concepts you're studying.

Make Flashcards

Flashcards are a tried-and-true method for memorizing important information. Create flashcards for everything in the study guide above — plus whatever else you’re struggling to remember. This method is particularly useful for the legal and procedural aspects covered by the PSISA and the Training and Testing Regulation.

Scope Out the Venue

In true security guard fashion, go stake out the testing center. In all seriousness, knowing where you're going and what the testing environment looks like can ease nerves and reduce the risk of being late or getting lost on the day of the exam.

Start Your Career: Get Your Security Guard License

Now that you’re more familiar with what’s covered on the Ontario security guard license exam and how to prepare, are you even more eager to start your career?

To qualify for the test, you must complete security guard training through a certified local provider. The online learning opportunities make it easy and convenient to take your next step.

Quinn Smith ·

Get trained and land a job as a security guard!