FIREFIGHTER APPLICANT APTITUDE TEST OVERVIEW

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1 FIRE DEPARTMENT RECRUITMENT SECTION PAGE 1 FIREFIGHTER APPLICANT APTITUDE TEST OVERVIEW The following four categories have been provided to help you identify the types of questions that are asked on the Fire Service aptitude test. In addition to the categories noted below, your test may also contain questions relating to reading maps, looking at pictures or photos, and/or using a calendar. The questions may not be listed in the order in which they appear on these pages. It will likely be difficult to identify what skills and/or abilities are being measured by a particular question. CATEGORY #1 Reading, Writing, and Mathematics The questions in this category will be multiple-choice with one right answer and will cover basic skills in the areas of: Reading Comprehension Writing Skills Mathematical Skills To prepare to answer these types of questions, you can use standard study/reference materials found in your local library or bookstore. If you believe that your skill level is lacking in these areas, remedial classes may be available at a local community college. CATEGORY #2 Judgment, Reasoning, Communication, and Motivation Multiple-choice questions will be asked to measure your abilities under the following areas: Exercising good judgment and problem-solving. Motivation, interests and preparation for a firefighting career. Communication skills. Ability to work with a variety of people. Other related-skills and aptitudes. CATEGORY #3 Situational Questions The aptitude test will also include questions that describe situations related to an event or subject. The questions will ask you how you or the person in the scenario should respond or what you think about the situation. There may be many correct answers and/or perspectives to these questions. As an individual, you have unique abilities to solve problems and to deal with situations. To answer these types of questions, it is important for you to choose the response that comes closest to how you would actually respond, not what you think you would do. The situations contained in the questions are based on ordinary, everyday experiences that are typical across regional, age, gender, ethnic, religious or other backgrounds. Not all experiences will be common to all test takers. If you are unfamiliar with a situation, try to place yourself in the situation as much as possible by thinking of related scenarios that you have experienced.

2 FIRE DEPARTMENT RECRUITMENT SECTION PAGE 2 APTITUDE TEST OVERVIEW CONTINUED CATEGORY #3 Situational Questions (continued) The goal of situational questions is to represent a selection of actual life scenarios. Although you may believe the questions have emotional content or trigger an emotional reaction, the questions are not intended to make you feel uncomfortable or to offend you. A firefighter must deal with many different issues and types of people, often under difficult circumstances. The situational test questions will represent a complex world with many difficult issues to reflect the type of job for which you are applying. While you may not totally agree with the provided answer choices, you are to select the answer that is the closest to how you would want to respond. CATEGORY #4 Questions about Yourself This series of questions will ask how you feel or what you think about a specific topic or will ask you to describe yourself in various ways. Not all situations will be the same; some may even seem a little vague. Depending on the circumstances, you may act or respond differently to each scenario. You will need to select the response that is the closest to representing you the majority of the time. If you have not experienced the situation, it is helpful to imagine yourself in similar situations to choose what your most likely response would be. Answer the questions honestly and thoughtfully. APTITUDE TEST FORMAT The entire aptitude test contains multiple choice questions that are numbered sequentially. You will be provided with a numbered test booklet and an answer sheet that is in a machine readable format with numbered bubbles. You are to completely darken the numbered bubbles on the answer sheet that indicates your answer choices. If you wish to change your answer, you must thoroughly erase changes or stray marks. You will be responsible for a replacement cost if you mark/damage the test booklet. There may be as few as two or up to ten answer choices for a particular question. You are to provide the correct number of answer choices for each question. You may be asked to choose two or three answers to a particular question. If a specific question does not tell you how many answers to choose, you are to choose one answer. If you do not choose the appropriate number of answers for a question, you will lose points from your total test score. FOR EXAMPLE Most questions will require you to choose one answer. If a question does not specifically tell you how many answers to choose, select only one. Choose one answer.

3 FIRE DEPARTMENT RECRUITMENT SECTION PAGE 3 APTITUDE TEST FORMAT CONTINUED FOR EXAMPLE Some questions will require you to choose two answers. In this case, you are to darken two bubbles on the same line. Choose two answers. FOR EXAMPLE Some questions will require you to choose three answers. In this case, you are to darken three bubbles on the same line. Choose three answers. APTITUDE TEST LANGUAGE The aptitude test uses standard, conversational English which doesn't contain slang or unfamiliar words. Traditional grammar usage has dictated the use of masculine pronouns for the third-person form such as he, his and him. In the interest of avoiding the use of awkward alternatives such as he/she and he or she, the questions will alternate referring to he or she. For example, a question may refer to "your boss...he said" whereas another question may refer to "your boss...she said". To create a more accurate context or realistic situation, a question may refer to racial or ethnic groups; the terms used on this test are Asian, Black, White, Hispanic, and Native American. The test language and these terms were developed in consultation with people from many different groups, including current fire service experts. APTITUDE TEST PREPARATION TIPS TIP #1 Conduct a self assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Determine the skills and abilities that are required of a professional firefighter. Make a list identifying your strongest and weakest areas. Compare your two lists to determine how you well you match the position's requirements.

4 FIRE DEPARTMENT RECRUITMENT SECTION PAGE 4 TIP #2 Determine your goals and objectives APTITUDE TEST PREPARATION TIPS... CONTINUED The key to success in improving areas of weakness is commitment to personal goals. Identifying goals will help you understand why you are studying and what you hope to achieve. TIP #3 Plan and Prioritize Plan what it is that you want to study and determine how long you will spend on each area. Develop a schedule to ensure you cover off all material. Prioritize areas to study based on the assessment of your weakest abilities. TIP #4 Develop your reading skills Assessing and improving your reading skill level will prove highly beneficial. The aptitude test takes typically two three hours to complete. If you are not accustomed to reading for long periods of time, you will be at a disadvantage. A recommended amount of reading is a minimum of 30 minutes every day. You can read newspapers, magazines, books or other materials that are of interest to you. Practice active reading. Ask yourself questions as you read such as "What do I think about this?", "What is the point of this article/story?. Try to relate what you are reading to your own personal experiences by thinking of a similar situation that has happened to you or someone you know. It may help to visualize the event or story as you read to try to place yourself in the situation. When reading the material in an aptitude test, it is very important that you read each question thoroughly to understand it before you begin to answer it. The Fire Service uses written tests to predict a candidate's likelihood of success during recruit training. A strong reading ability is beneficial when training for the position, as you will be able to comprehend and retain large amounts of theoretical and practical information. Additional resources to developing reading skills are to seek help from special reading programs, adult education courses or your local college and/or library programs. TIP #5 Brush up on basic writing and mathematical skills The aptitude test will measure your basic competence in these areas. Remedial or adult education classes may help you build or refresh your abilities. Community colleges may have tests to assess your level of these skills and/or may be able to design a class specifically to address your needs. TIP #6 Determine your best study methods Developing a regular study routine now will help you create effective study habits for future learning opportunities (i.e., recruit training). Set aside a specific time and length of time every day, away from distractions for studying.

5 FIRE DEPARTMENT RECRUITMENT SECTION PAGE 5 APTITUDE TEST PREPARATION TIPS... CONTINUED TIP #6 Determine your best study methods (continued) Identify your learning ability to utilize your strengths and make the best use of your time. You might consider forming a study group or asking a friend or loved one to help you study. If you are a visual learner, write out exercises on paper or flash cards. If you are an auditory learner, read out loud as you go through the exercises or use a tape recorder. Determine what methods work best for you and practice them regularly. TIP #7 Practice taking tests Some people do not perform well on written tests, as the procedure can be unnatural, unfamiliar or intimidating. You may have negative expectations or poor past experiences that prevent you from doing well now. Other people find it difficult to pace themselves during the test-taking process and don't make the best use of the time available. Local college learning centres or advisors often offer different types of sample tests. Libraries and bookstores offer books which contain sample reading, writing and math drills/tests. Replicate a "test-like" environment by reading and studying in a library or other such quiet institution to prepare for writing the test. Limit distractions and exterior noises. Use an extended, uninterrupted period of time to practice your test drills and establish a comfortable pace. TIP #8 Maintain your motivation Determine why you are applying for the job and if this is a good career choice for you. What is it about this profession that most appeals to you? Keep focused on and actively pursue your goal by mentally preparing to challenge the aptitude test. TIP #9 Develop and maintain a positive attitude You can be successful by believing in yourself, having confidence, setting realistic goals and doing the necessary leg-work to achieve your objectives. Maintaining a positive attitude will serve you well if you are successful in gaining your chosen career. TIP #1 Be prepared, rested and calm. SUGGESTIONS FOR THE DAY OF YOUR APTITUDE TEST Make sure you have had plenty of rest, are well-nourished and well-hydrated on the day of your test. An early morning work-out or a quick walk before arriving at the test site may help burn off excess energy and allow better focus. To avoid needlessly increasing your anxiety, arrive 15 minutes early. While waiting to write the test, some people find breathing or relaxation exercises helpful. Others find meeting and chatting with other applicants helps them relax.

6 FIRE DEPARTMENT RECRUITMENT SECTION PAGE 6 SUGGESTIONS FOR THE DAY OF YOUR APTITUDE TEST...CONTINUED TIP #2 Listen, read and follow all instructions. Listening to and following instructions is a vital component of the firefighter profession. These skills are also vital to success on the aptitude test. Failing to follow directions is often the main cause for lower scores. When you are to write your aptitude test, there will be verbal information and instructions provided to you by test administrators as well as written instructions in your test booklet. Active listening and strong reading comprehension are key elements to success. Read through the written instructions thoroughly to ensure you understand what is being asked. You may be asked to choose more than one answer for a particular section. TIP #3 Read each question thoroughly. Often, we scan a question quickly and think we know the answer. To be successful on this test, read every question fully before formulating your answer. Many of the test questions will describe situations or scenarios. Visualize the situation and try to place yourself in the scenario. Think about a similar situation you have had and remember how you responded. Next, read all of the possible answer choices. If you find an answer you think is correct, mark it with your finger, however continue to read all of the choices before making your final decision. TIP #4 Match the question number on the test with the answer sheet. You will be provided with a multiple-choice Test Answer Sheet where you are to record your chosen answers. In order to receive credit for the test question, you must find and record your answer(s) on the correct line (i.e., question #1, answer line #1). Check frequently as you are writing your test to ensure that you have not skipped a line or placed your answer in the wrong spot. TIP #5 Choose the correct number of responses. Each question may have varying number of answer choices; there may be as few as two or up to ten answers to choose from. Although most of the questions will ask you to choose one answer, there may be questions that ask for two or three answer choices. If you provide fewer answers than the question asks for, you will lose points. Ensure you record all answers on the appropriate line on the Answer Sheet. TIP #6 Keep an even pace. The test administrator will announce the time at regular intervals throughout the test. Providing you do not become stuck on any one question or section of the test, you should have plenty of time to answer all of the questions. If you find yourself reading the same question over and over, unable to understand it or to find an appropriate answer, skip it and return to it later. Remember to bypass that line on the Answer Sheet as well!

7 FIRE DEPARTMENT RECRUITMENT SECTION PAGE 7 SUGGESTIONS FOR THE DAY OF YOUR APTITUDE TEST...CONTINUED If you find that others are finishing the test more quickly than you, avoid feeling pressured to finish faster. You will cause undue anxiety to yourself which can have an effect on how you choose your answers. Although this is a timed event, there are not any additional points given for finishing the test more quickly than others. TIP #7 Stay calm and don't give up. Some questions will be more difficult than others, as we all have individual strengths and weaknesses. It's important to keep going even if you believe that you are not answering the questions correctly nor are not sure how to answer certain ones. Remember to keep calm and to refocus if you find yourself becoming anxious about a question or a series of questions. If you find yourself struggling to complete the question(s), skip them for the time being and return to them after completing the rest of the test. Ensure that you bypass those lines on the Answer Sheet as well. TIP #8 If none of the answers seem right, pick the one answer that is more right than the others. Some of the questions will ask "What would you do?" or "What do you think? In these scenarios, there are many acceptable ways to think and to respond. If you try to guess what the question is measuring, you will likely be wrong. You will need to choose the answer that seems the best even if you do not agree with any of the options or think you would not perform those actions. Choose the answer that seems the best of the alternatives, even if it isn't exactly how you think you would react. It simply isn't feasible to list every possible action. TIP #9 If you are unsure of an answer, guess according to your first impulse. In order to gain a correct score, you must answer the question. If you cannot determine the correct answer for the Reading, Writing or Mathematical questions, select the answer that is your first impulse. You will likely be able to eliminate one or more choices that you know are definitely wrong. This will give you fewer responses to guess between. If you are not sure how you would respond in a situational or self description question, determine what you would likely do and select your first impulse. TIP #10 Be yourself and be honest. We are utilizing this test as a tool to get to know you as an individual. The test is designed to measure many different skills and abilities that have been identified as important for a firefighting career. It's important for you to present an accurate representation of yourself in response to this test. Choose your answers based on what you would do, not what you think or believe is expected of you. Misleading or misrepresented answers will have a negative effect on your test score.

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