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National Fire Select Test (FPSI NFST Firefighter Test) Online Preparation – 2024

Aptitude Written Exams

The National Fire Select Test, or NFST, is Fire & Police Selection Inc.’s written test for firefighters. Many fire departments in the US and Canada use the NFST to assess job candidates.

The test was developed with the help of firefighters and fire department captains. Each section of the test measures skills that firefighters use on the job.


Application and Hiring Process

The process of applying to become a firefighter may differ slightly based on the city or municipality where the fire department is located. However, there are basic steps in the process that you can expect to encounter.

  • First, locate a job you are interested in and submit your application and resume. Online job boards can help you locate an opening to apply for.
  • The second step is usually assessments such as the NFST. There may be an additional personality test and/or psychological assessment depending on the department.
  • Next, you’ll need to take a physical fitness test such as the CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test).
  • Once you have passed the assessment(s) and fitness test, the hiring department will conduct an interview.
  • The final step, if your interview goes well and you receive an offer, is to begin training. Some fire departments perform training on-site, while others will ask you to attend training separately through a third party.


What Is the National Fire Select Test?

The NFST is a timed, written test consisting of multiple-choice questions. It is designed for entry-level firefighters.

Note: there is another test called the National Firefighter Selection Test which is designed by Stanard and Associates. This is a different assessment. Be sure to confirm which test you are taking so you can prepare and avoid surprises on test day.

The following six sections are included in the NFST, although each fire department can decide whether to include all of the sections or only some of them.

Reading Ability

Firefighters often have to read and understand complex information, such as equipment instructions or incident reports. This test section measures an applicant’s reading comprehension skills.

The candidate reads a passage and then answers questions about it. The passage may be several paragraphs long and is usually related to firefighting or other emergencies. Memorization is not required, as candidates can refer back to the passage when answering questions.

Writing Ability

Writing reports and other communications is part of a firefighter’s day-to-day job. This section of the NFST assesses a candidate’s writing skills, including word choice, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

There are four types of questions in the Writing Ability Section. One type asks you to identify the synonym of the word provided. The second type provides a sentence containing an error, and asks that you identify the error. The third question type requires you to select the most grammatically correct sentence from several options. The fourth question format is a sentence with a missing word; you must choose the best word to fill in the blank.

Math Reasoning

Firefighters need to be able to perform basic math functions, such as determining the length of a hose or height of a ladder, or the volume of water in a tank. This section of the test covers addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and percentages. Most of the questions relate to situations firefighters will encounter.

Reasoning Skills

The reasoning skills section covers several categories of knowledge. These include vocabulary, mechanical aptitude, spatial rotation, and sequencing.

Examples of questions in this section include the following:

  • Identifying the next number in a sequence
  • Identifying a geometric shape viewed from different angles
  • Basic math word problems, such as determining how fast a fire engine must be traveling to cover a certain distance in the given amount of time
  • Recognizing duplicates in a list of numbers and letters

Map Reading

Reading maps is an important skill for firefighters, who must know how to determine the fastest route to a fire. The questions in this section involve looking at a street map and finding the fastest route between two locations.

Human Relations/Interpersonal

This section measures the following traits:

  • Teamwork
  • Commitment
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Emotional stability

To complete this section, test-takers read short paragraphs that describe various realistic scenarios a firefighter might encounter. Each scenario is followed by four options describing possible responses to the scenario. For the first question, the test-taker must select the most appropriate response. For the second question, he or she must select the least appropriate response. All of the questions in this section follow the same format.


How to Prepare for the National Fire Select Test?

Online practice tests that cover the sections of the NFST will help you prepare. Study guides are available to help you work on any sections you might find particularly difficult. Give yourself enough time ahead of the test to practice several times and identify any weak areas.

There is no penalty on the NFST for wrong answers. If you’re uncertain, it’s better to guess than to leave a question blank. The same is true when taking a practice test, as you can compare your guess to the correct answer if you guess incorrectly.

Firefighters who have taken the NFST confirm that there are no “trick” questions to worry about. Each question has a correct answer that you can determine based on the information provided in the question. All the questions are related to skills firefighters use when performing their job duties.



There is strong competition for most open firefighter positions. A good score on the National Fire Select Test can improve your chances of landing the job. With preparation and practice, you’ll feel confident on test day and give your best performance.