How To Prepare For The Firefighter Written Test

If you have decided to become a firefighter and have researched the process, you are aware that passing the written firefighter examination is the first step toward reaching your goal.

Firefighter Written Test: What To Expect And How To Prepare

Passing the written examination may influence if and where you receive firefighter employment soon.

The written test for a firefighter may include rudimentary arithmetic, reading, spatial orientation, written expression, spoken comprehension, reasoning, mechanical aptitude, and memory.

Typically, no prior firefighting experience is required.

Before scheduling the exam or beginning to study for it, you should dedicate your attention to familiarizing yourself with the exam's format and preparing for test day.

Knowing the exam's content will give you an advantage and not knowing what to expect on test day may impede your performance.


Because of the limited number of available test dates for entry-level firemen, it is vital to study and get the highest possible score to avoid putting your career back by at least one year. 

To better prepare for the test and assure a higher score, you may opt to purchase firefighter written exam preparation books that offer an overview of the test's format, cover some of the topics you'll be examined on, and allow you to take practice exams that replicate the real test.

A good book to get is Norman Hall's Postal Exam Preparation Book, which will provide you with all the studying material and test tips that you will need. 

Test Format

Although the particular content and questions on your written firefighter examination may differ from those on other exams, the tests have the same fundamental structure.

The exam is structured in a way that makes it easy to complete and score, leaving no room for confusion.

The typical number of multiple-choice questions for a written examination is between 100 and 150.

Multiple-choice questions ensure that your answer is either entirely accurate or entirely incorrect, as opposed to open-ended responses that may provoke controversy owing to probable bias, illegible handwriting, and objective grading.

The firefighter test typically takes 2-3 hours to finish, though this will depend on the number of questions on your exam and how quickly you typically complete examinations.

They will stop the exam at the end of the allowed time, regardless of whether or not you have finished it, so manage your time carefully.

What’s On The Test?

Typically, the written firefighter examination focuses less on fire science content and more on the candidate's ability to analyze situations and determine appropriate solutions.

Many of the questions include foundations of fire science, but their primary objective is to evaluate cognitive talents and critical thinking.

Here are some sections that may occur on your firefighter examination, along with the kind of questions you may encounter in each section.



Before answering questions during the memorization section of a written examination, a picture or diagram may be displayed.

Once you have mastered the facts, patterns, or information depicted in the diagram or image, you will move on to the related questions.

Once the question portion has begun, you will not be permitted to return to the image to exhibit your memorizing abilities. There will be a time limit on seeing the image.

When analyzing a diagram or picture, it is essential to analyze all possible facets. Among the factors you should focus on more are:

  • Geographical locations illustrated on a map
  • Numbers and names
  • The order of events
  • Orientation indicators

For instance, if you are presented with a map diagram, you may be questioned about street intersections, the location of a certain landmark, or the distance between two places.

Consider the types of questions you may be asked and the fact that every piece of information in the diagram has the potential to be significant to you when you examine the diagram.


This section of the examination requires you to visualize situations or patterns and choose the best option feasible.

Typically, questions are accompanied by a visual or image that you may refer to when responding (unlike the memorization section).

The items listed below are examples of what you may be requested to visualize.

  • How a thing appears from a different viewpoint or vantage point
  • What the inside of a building may look like based on its outside.
  • What would happen to a house or structure if XYZ occurred?

You may be handed a drawing of the front of a house, for instance.

Based on this drawing and the front view of the house, you may be asked to describe the home's sides, roof, and back. Your answer options include drawings as well.


Depending on your talents, the math portion of the firefighter examination is typically straightforward. It often excludes calculus and trigonometry.

When you’re a firefighter, you must be able to calculate pumping pressures and friction loss for water traveling from the fire truck to different types of hose lines.

These mathematical concepts will be examined:

  • Verbal Puzzles
  • Fractions
  • Elementary Geometry and Algebra
  • Percentages that are expressed as decimal fractions

Passing Score

After completing and submitting your exam, it will likely be several weeks before you get your score.

Waiting may be a significant cause of concern and anxiety, but if you have thoroughly prepared and conducted research, you should feel more confident during the wait.

The written firefighter test does not employ a "one-size-fits-all" strategy.

However, the requirement that you pass the test before advancing to the physical exam is the same across all states and territories.

In general, a passing grade is 80 percent, however, this might vary.

Your career as a firefighter depends heavily on your achievement in the written exam.

Although a score of 80 percent qualifies you for the physical exam, you should strive for the highest possible score.

Achieving a good score on this exam is a critical part of the hiring process, as it will position you for more job interviews and employment offers once you have met the other requirements to become a firefighter.


You should do everything that you can to prepare for the firefighter's written exam, as you cannot continue your training without passing it.

But with the right amount of studying it shouldn’t be too difficult. Good luck!