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Firefighter Mechanical Aptitude Test Preparation – 2024


Firefighters use a variety of mechanical equipment and tools on the job. Understanding how these items work is crucial to using them correctly, especially in an emergency. This is why many fire departments require candidates to take a mechanical aptitude test during the application process. The mechanical aptitude test measures a candidate’s understanding of how various devices work and the principles that determine why they work the way they do.

The hiring department for a firefighter position will usually assign the mechanical aptitude test along with other written tests that may include mathematics and verbal comprehension.


What Is the Firefighter Mechanical Aptitude Test?

The mechanical aptitude test is a written assessment consisting of multiple choice and true or false questions. Many of the questions include a labeled diagram that the test-taker refers to when answering. For example, a picture of a lever is shown with the length and height labeled, and the applicant must calculate the amount of force needed to lift an object. Other questions feature an unlabeled image of a tool or piece of equipment, which the applicant must identify.

Some of the tools and devices covered on the test include:

  • Gears
  • Screws
  • Springs
  • Levers
  • Pulleys
  • Water hoses
  • Hammers

There are some basic formulas that will help in answering some of the test questions. For example, you may encounter questions that involve calculating the following:

  • Volume (volume = base x height)
  • Leverage (weight x distance 1 = force x distance 2)
  • Mechanical Advantage
    • Inclined planes (mechanical advantage = length / height)
    • Screws (mechanical advantage = π x diameter / lead)
    • Wedges (mechanical advantage = width / length)

Calculators are usually not allowed during the test, but you can use a pencil and paper to perform calculations as needed.


How to Prepare for the Firefighter Mechanical Aptitude Test?

Online practice tests are one of the best ways to prepare for your firefighter mechanical aptitude test. When viewing a practice test, note that the same type of test may be referred to as either mechanical aptitude or mechanical reasoning.

The formulas shown in the previous section are just some examples. Practice mechanical aptitude tests will give you an idea of all the formulas it will be helpful to know. If you’re not familiar with a particular formula, there are plenty of online resources to help you increase your knowledge.

Give yourself enough time to take a practice test several times; waiting until the last minute will only cause stress and a lack of confidence on test day. Each practice test you take is an opportunity to identify your existing skills and any areas you need to work on. By giving yourself time and patience while you prepare, you can greatly improve your chances of success on the test.