Master the 2024 Firefighter Written Exam and Screening Process With the Firefighter Masterclass

Every year, thousands of people apply to various fire departments in the hopes of starting a career as a firefighter. Of those who apply, the number who get the job can be as low as 2.5%.

That means just 1 in 40 applicants actually succeed and become a firefighter.

One major roadblock in this process is the Firefighter Written Exam. For the past five years, only 10% of applicants have passed this exam.

So if you’re applying to a fire department, you need to consider two important hurdles:

  1. Only 1 in 10 applicants pass the Firefighter Written Exam
  2. Out of those who did pass the exam, only 1 in 4 go on to pass the rest of the screening process

Not only do you need to pass the exam – but you also need to understand the rest of the process to ensure a smooth journey from passing the exam to receiving a job offer.

With this in mind, what can you do to ensure your success throughout this challenging process and secure your position among the 2.5% who go on to become firefighters?

Congratulations! By being on this page, you’ve already taken the first step towards exponentially improving your odds of success.

Now, you might be asking, “What could possibly get me ahead of the other 97.5% who want the same job I’m applying for?”

Great question. The answer is really quite simple: very few job applicants take the time to prepare thoroughly for their exam, due to the misconception that there’s no way to improve their score or because they underestimate the difficulty of the upcoming exam. A majority of applicants to fire departments make this mistake and end up failing badly.

Simply put, your diligence in researching your exam puts you in a prime position to reach the top of the pile. To seal the deal, you just need two things:

  • The device you’re using to read this
  • 3 hours of your time

Seriously – that’s all you need. Everything you need to prepare to ace your exam and enjoy a smooth screening process is readily available to you.

Now you just need to put those two components to use with the Firefighter Screening Masterclass, the all-in-one resource for 100% Firefighter Written Exam preparedness. Featuring in-depth guides and true-to-life practice tests, this quick course will have you fully prepared to secure your career as a firefighter in a matter of hours.

We’ve worked in collaboration with veteran firefighter trainers and recruitment experts from a variety of departments across the United States to cover every step of the screening process so you thrive in both the test itself as well as the rest of the process.

Ready to take a big step towards starting your career as a firefighter? Sign up now and achieve Firefighter Written Exam mastery in just a few hours!

Let’s take a look at what you can expect on your test and try a short mock test that covers some of the topics you’ll find on the real exam.

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What is on the Firefighter Written exam?

Depending on the department with which you are applying, the Firefighter Written exam may be administered either in a pen-and-paper format or digitally.

  • Length: 2-2.5 hours
  • Number of questions: 100-150 questions

Every component of the test is presented in a manner that is relevant to the required skills to perform effectively on the job.

You can find the information you require about your specific firefighter exam by contacting the department you’re applying to.

Firefighter Written Test Sections

The firefighter entrance exam includes a range of skills that are needed when working as a firefighter. For example, speed, accuracy, and cognitive skills. Many fire departments use firefighter aptitude test that features the following sections:


This section of the firefighter test assesses your ability to do basic to slightly complex calculations using addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. It also tests your ability to understand charts, tables, and graphs.

Mechanical Aptitude

This assesses your ability to identify tools and devices for solving mechanical problems and your understanding of mechanical concepts. You might be asked questions about water pressure and valves, as you will need to operate these regularly as part of your job role. You will need a basic understanding of gears, levers, pulleys, and circuits.

Written Aptitude

This part of the firefighter test measures your reading comprehension and written English abilities, including spelling and grammar. You will be provided with short samples of text and then asked to answer questions about them.

Spatial Orientation

As a firefighter, you will need to be able to understand maps and blueprints and memorize routes when you enter a building. This section focuses on your ability to read a map and infer directions from the information given.

Observation and Memory

This section of the test contains images where you are given a specific timeframe to memorize the image. It is followed by questions related to the image that you saw previously.

Personality and Situational Judgment

This part asks you multiple-choice questions about what you would do in certain situations. It relates to how well you work in a team and on your initiative. This section of the firefighter test aims to gauge the candidate’s trustworthiness and conscientiousness.

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The Firefighter Application Process

The application process may differ by department; however, it generally includes the following steps:

1. Filling out the Application

The application form asks for your personal information such as your name, address, education, prior work experience, driving history, family, and more. Sometimes a non-refundable fee can accompany your application. Some fire departments may request that you fill out and submit the application online and others ask that you fill out the application and mail it back or return it in person.

2. Submitting Resumes, Cover Letters and References

In addition to the application for examination, some fire departments may require you to submit a resume, a cover letter, and references. A resume summarizes your education, experience, work history, and community involvement. A cover letter states why you are the right person for the job and emphasizes your strengths and accomplishments. References are people who will provide unbiased information about you, such as your work history or your character.

3. Background Check

Most departments conduct background checks to verify your education records, employment history, police records, and so on. This step would require you to fill out a background data collection form and in some cases, a polygraph test may be conducted. Failure to provide accurate information or conceal the truth about one’s past can result in disqualification.

4. The Written Exam

Most departments begin the screening process with the written exam. The written exam tests a variety of skills and aptitude required for the job. This test has two sections: Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Section. It has about 150-200 questions and it is 2 – 2.5 hours long.

5. Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT)

The CPAT is a high-level physical endurance test. It is designed to measure your physical abilities. The test may include hose dragging, stair climbing, carrying equipment, ladder raising and extending, forcible entry, searching, rescuing, ceiling breaching, pushing, and other firefighting-related work.

6. The Oral Interview

Candidates who pass the written exam and the physical ability test usually undergo an oral interview. For many departments, the oral interview is the last stage before candidates receive a conditional offer of employment. Interviewers may ask about background information, personal history, general character, attitude, and values.

7. The Medical Exam

Before the fire department can hire you, you have to undergo a complete medical and psychological evaluation to make sure you are fit in every aspect. You must undergo a complete physical by a certified physician.

8. The Psychological Evaluation

This is usually the last step in the firefighting screening process. Considering firefighting is a stressful job, the department needs to make sure that the candidate is psychologically fit to carry the responsibilities of the profession. It evaluates attitude and emotional stability, impulse control, adaptability, decisiveness, resourcefulness, making critical decisions under life-threatening conditions, and more.

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Michael Lerner

Created by: Michael Lerner

BSc, Psychometric Tutor, Prepterminal Test Expert

6876 students,
, 4011 Reviews

Hey, welcome to our Firefighter Written Exam Preparation Guide. I’m Michael, I am here to assist you with any queries you may have about the Firefighter Written Exam Preparation. Don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected].

Firefighter Screening Masterclass
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