Written Exam for Prospective Firefighters

After you have submitted your application form, the next step in getting hired for a firefighter’s job is to pass a written exam. The exam results are used to weed out a certain percentage of candidates, so you need to score above a certain level (usually 70 percent) to pass the exam.

Written exams are not generally given by the fire department itself. Most of the time, a private company performs this function. The exam length may vary from one-three hours.

The policy on written exams varies from department to department. In some situations, the score you get on the exam counts for up to half of your overall score in the hiring process. The other portion of the score is determined by how well you do on the oral exam. Other departments only allow candidates who score in a certain range to continue in the hiring process.

The written test portion of the application process may include questions designed to measure your abilities in these areas:

  1. Ability to understand oral instructions
  2. Reading skills and comprehension
  3. Numerical ability
  4. Mechanical aptitude
  5. Ability to retain information and processing speed
  6. Ability to function as a member as a team

All of these skills are an important part of a firefighter’s job, and you need to show the hiring department that you can perform them well. The most important portion of the test may be the reading component. You need to demonstrate that you can read something and pay attention to detail as you do so. If you are successful in getting hired, you will need to read, understand, and retain a lot of information in a relatively-short time.

Study guides and practice exams are available to help you get ready to write the exam. If you want to do well, you need to invest the time to go over the material that may appear on the exam in detail and to familiarize yourself with the wording of the questions.


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