The CPS firefighter test is an entry-level assessment for firefighters designed by Cooperative Personnel Services. Many fire departments use this test to determine whether a candidate is a good fit for a firefighting job.
Application and Hiring Process
Each fire department has its own process for hiring new firefighters, but there are common steps you can prepare for. Start by finding a job you’re interested in and submitting your application and resume.
The next step of the application process is to complete any required assessment(s). This is when you may need to take CPS’s firefighter test.
If you pass your assessment, the next step is to prove that you are physically and mentally able to perform firefighting duties. You will need to complete a physical fitness test. Some departments also request a psychological evaluation, while others use a written personality test. CPS’s test includes a personality and situational judgment section.
An interview is usually the final step of the hiring process. If your interview is successful and you receive an offer, you can begin training with your new fire department.
What Is CPS’s Firefighter Test?
CPS’s firefighter test is a written exam of 100 multiple-choice questions. The typical time limit is 2 hours. Some fire departments customize the test with extra questions.
There are five sections on the standard test featuring 20 questions each. The sections cover the areas of knowledge listed below.
Understanding Oral Information/Directions
In an emergency, firefighters need to follow their captain’s commands to the letter. This section of the test determines whether an applicant can listen and understand spoken information. Applicants listen to a recorded passage and then answer questions based on what they hear. Good memory skills are important, as applicants can only listen to the passage once before answering questions.
Reading and Understanding Written Information/Instructions
Firefighters must be able to read and understand written material, such as building signage and incident reports. Firefighting equipment and tools often feature written instructions or warnings. This test section measures a candidate’s reading comprehension skills.
Mathematical Ability/Numerical Skills
This section tests the candidate’s understanding of basic math functions. These functions include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as fractions and percentages. The questions usually relate to situations firefighters face, such as calculating the amount of water in a tank or the height of a ladder.
In this section, the candidate views an image and answers questions to show his or her understanding of the information given. The image may be a street map, a building layout, or another type of diagram.
Questions in this section test the applicant’s understanding of certain equipment and tools. Examples include levers, pulleys, and water pumps. Aside from understanding how these items work in a fire scenario, the applicant must have a basic understanding of physics principles including resistance, force, energy, and power. Learn more about mechanical aptitude tests.
Teamwork/Public Relations/Community Living
Similar to a personality test, this section judges how the applicant will fit into firehouse culture. Questions measure the applicant’s ability to work within a team and to present a professional image. Firefighters work closely with each other and with the public, so good communication is critical, especially during an emergency.
There are some situational judgment questions in this section of the test. These questions describe a scenario and require you to choose an answer based on how you would respond. Situational judgment questions can be difficult, as some of the scenarios are not black-and-white. Applicants should select the most appropriate option based on the information provided.
How to Prepare for CPS’s Firefighter Test?
Each fire department chooses what they consider a passing score, but 75% or higher is a good goal to aim for.
Online practice tests are a great way to prepare for the CPS test. They can help you know what to expect on test day, and pinpoint any specific test sections you might struggle with. Don’t hesitate to take a practice test several times until you’re happy with your score.
Since CPS’s test is made up of multiple-choice questions, focus on multiple-choice practice tests. A practice test specifically designed to help you prepare for CPS’s test will be the most effective. For this test, there is no need to prepare for essay writing or other exam formats. However, there may be more than one assessment for the job you wish to apply for. Make sure you’re aware of all requirements.
Previous test-takers say that the Oral Information/Directions section is the most difficult for many hopeful firefighters. Take extra care when preparing for this section. Practice tests geared toward understanding oral information will help.
Depending on a fire department’s requirements, it may add supplemental questions to the test. For example, if you need an EMT certification, the department can add questions relating to EMT duties. These requirements are usually listed in the job description so you can prepare.
If you plan to apply for a job as a firefighter, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter CPS’s firefighter test. A passing score on this test is crucial in making it to the next step of the hiring process and eventually landing a job as a firefighter. By following the tips listed here and properly preparing, you’ll have the best chance of success.