What to Expect on a Firefighter Aptitude Test

What to expect on a firefighter aptitude test

Firefighter candidates should expect to write a specific Firefighter Aptitude Test based on the hiring city’s requirements.

It is the firefighter candidate’s responsibility to know the name of the test and what it entails. Most of this information is provided by the city and/or firefighter candidate testing service.

Expected Firefighter Aptitude Tests in Canada

Expected Firefighter Aptitude Test Questions

Although Canadian Firefighter Aptitude Tests are different, they have similar types of test questions:

  • Firefighter Reading Comprehension
  • Firefighter Mathematical Ability
  • Firefighter Map Reading
  • Firefighter Spatial Reasoning
  • Firefighter Human Relations

Firefighter Reading Comprehension Questions

Firefighter Reading Comprehension questions are designed to measure a firefighter candidate’s ability to read and understand written communication.

This includes

  • text,
  • tables,
  • diagrams,
  • charts, and
  • captions.

In a firefighter aptitude test, candidates should expect to read one to four page-length passages containing fire-related material. Firefighter candidates will be asked test questions related to the passages they read.

How do Firefighter Reading Comprehension Questions Apply to Firefighting?

Professional firefighters are expected to read and understand written information throughout their careers. New firefighter recruits are often required to read technical material and apply what they learn on the job. Veteran firefighters read to stay current in firefighter training, public education, and firehall operations. It’s also worth noting professional firefighters have to study for and pass tests to move up in rank.

Firefighter Mathematical Ability Questions

Firefighter Math questions are designed to measure a firefighter candidate’s skills in reading to understand word problems and completing basic calculations.

Firefighter math questions typically include

  • whole number operations,
  • decimals, and
  • fractions.

Learn these first, and then continue to learn other types of math.

In firefighter aptitude testing situations, the use of a calculator is not permitted. Most tests allow the firefighter candidate to use jot paper and a pencil if asked to perform complex calculations.

How do Mathematical Ability Questions Apply to Firefighting?

It is important for professional firefighters to have an understanding of basic mathematical concepts and formulas in order to use them on the job. Firefighters calculate tank volumes and flow rates, determine pump pressure and friction loss, and estimate slope using mathematical skills.

Mental math skills (the ability to do math in your head instead of writing it down or using a calculator) makes doing this work more efficient for a career firefighter.

Firefighter Map Reading  

Firefighter Map Reading questions are designed to measure a candidate’s abilities to identify directional location and to get from one point to another.

Firefighter candidates can expect to answer map reading test questions based on a

  • city map,
  • floor plan, or
  • water distribution map.

How do Map Reading Questions Apply to Firefighting?

Map reading skills enable firefighters to quickly travel within a city despite potential GPS errors, road construction detours, and road closures. Map reading is also an important skill that builds on a firefighter’s spatial reasoning.

Firefighter Spatial Reasoning Questions

Firefighter Spatial Reasoning questions are designed to test a firefighter candidate’s intuitive sense, decision-making skills, and logic skills.

How do Spatial Reasoning Questions Apply to Firefighting?

Spatial awareness is when someone can understand a space’s dimensions by looking at it and then visualizing it in a different way. This skill can be helpful to firefighters who are trying to move through a burning building with structural and/or property damage.

Firefighter Human Relations Questions

There are different types of Human Relations questions on a firefighter aptitude test:

  • Situational Judgment,
  • Emergency Situation, and
  • Interpersonal.

Firefighter Situational Judgement questions assess a fire candidate’s ability to prioritize tasks and manage conflicting requirements while on duty.

Firefighter Emergency Situation questions assess a firefighter candidate’s ability to make critical decisions while responding to emergency calls.

Firefighter Interpersonal or Work Relations questions assess a candidate’s ability to work and communicate with others while respecting the fire and rescue services chain of command.

How do Human Relations Questions Apply to Firefighting?

On the job, firefighters have to follow instruction and be able to make critical decisions on their own. Firefighters have to communicate with each other and to the public as they represent the cities that employ them.

Most firefighters work 24-hour shifts at the fire station. This means the shift crew members share duties, chores, and common living spaces like a tv room, kitchen, washroom and shower facilities, and a sleeping quarters.

To avoid potential issues, cities prefer to hire firefighter candidates who demonstrate their ability to get along with others, communicate calmly, and act professionally within an outlined framework.

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