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Firefighter Map Reading Test I

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Before you can get hired by a fire department, you must first pass a written aptitude test and a physical abilities test. The firefighter written test can include reading comprehension and writing ability, spatial orientation, mathematical reasoning, observation and memory, mechanical reasoning, map reading, observational and situational judgment, and interpersonal and practical skills.

How to Prepare for a Map Reading Aptitude Test for Firefighters

Before you can get hired by a fire department, you must first pass a written aptitude test and a physical abilities test. The firefighter written test can include reading comprehension and writing ability, spatial orientation, mathematical reasoning, observation and memory, mechanical reasoning, map reading, observational and situational judgment, and interpersonal and practical skills. Not all firefighter's written exams contain questions from all categories, but studying all the different areas is recommended to prepare for the exam. This test prep guide will prepare you for the map reading section that may be found on the firefighter written exam.

Firefighter aptitude tests do not require previous firefighting knowledge or particular college degrees. The test will be at a skill level based on the requirements in the job announcement. For example, if the job requires a high school diploma or equivalent, the test will have questions that a high school student could answer.

Most firefighter aptitude tests are timed, ranging from 1 minute to 3 minutes per question, with 100 questions or more. So, you can count on spending several hours on each written test you take.

What is a Map Reading Test?

A map reading test is designed to test the firefighter candidate's ability to follow directions and read maps. This section measures your ability to answer questions regarding city maps, highway maps, topographical maps, or building maps. You will be given a map and asked questions regarding how to get from one location to another by taking the shortest route, where the closest hydrant is to a fire, and questions using a compass and a legend.

Why do Fire Departments use Map Reading Tests?

Fire departments use map reading tests because knowing how to read a map and get to a call the quickest and safest way is essential in the fire service. Every day, firefighters will need to read a map to find the best route to respond to a call, find fire hydrants when responding to a fire call, determine which streets are one way to avoid an accident, or find sprinkler systems on a building map.

Where are Map Reading Tests Taken?

Each department will have a dedicated location where the tests are administered. Some departments may have onsite testing at their training facility, while others might hire a firefighter testing center to administer the aptitude tests.

What is a Map Reading Test?

Each department will have a dedicated location where the tests are administered. Some departments may have onsite testing at their training facility, while others might hire a firefighter testing center to administer the aptitude tests.

Common Questions About Map Reading Tests.

Remember, the map reading test may be included in the firefighter's written aptitude test. However, it is most likely since map reading is used every day in the fire service. Here are some common questions you might have about the firefighter map reading test that may be included in the aptitude test:

How quickly do I receive the results of my test?

You can expect to receive your results within one to two weeks, depending on the fire department.

At what stage in the testing process is the firefighter's written aptitude test given?

The firefighter's written aptitude test is the first test you will be invited to when applying for a firefighter position after your application has been submitted. Upon successful completion of the test, you will be asked to participate in the physical abilities test. After passing the physical abilities test, you will be invited to an oral interview.

What is a passing score on the firefighter's written aptitude test?

With most departments, a passing score is 70%. However, the higher score you receive will place you higher on the firefighter candidate list, so you want to achieve as high a score as possible.

How do I prepare for the map reading section on the written test?

The first step is to take the Mock Questions Map Reading practice test. In addition to taking that test, there are many firefighter test prep books that are good resources to use to prepare for the firefighter's written aptitude test. Test prep books cover all the different sections that might be on a firefighter's written aptitude test. Some departments will offer a testing packet to firefighter candidates that have sample questions. If a department offers a testing packet, study the packet before taking the written test. It is also recommended timing yourself while taking the practice exams to get an idea of how long it will take you to answer each question.

What do I do if I do not know the answer to a question?

If you do not know the answer to a question, skip over it and move onto the next question. Since the test is timed, you want to answer as many questions as possible. It is not recommended to leave any questions blank, so after you complete the test, go back to the unanswered questions and choose the answer you believe to be most accurate.

If the questions on the test are based on basic knowledge, do I really need to study?

The questions are based on basic knowledge, but it is recommended that you study for the exam if you want to achieve a high score. Those who spend time familiarizing themselves with the content on the test and the imposed time limits tend to feel more confident on the day of the test and have a better chance of achieving the highest possible score.

Helpful Advice for Candidates Preparing for the Map Reading Test.

In addition to studying the materials and taking firefighter practice tests, here is some more advice to candidates preparing for the map reading section of the firefighter's written exam:

After completing the Map Reading practice test, check out the Situational Judgment Section here. This section assesses the firefighter candidate's decision-making capabilities, aptitude, and suitability for the firefighter role. Situational judgment questions will give a brief description of a situation you might be faced with at work, including firefighting operations, fire prevention inspections, firehouse duties, and interactions with the public. Then you will be given a list of possible actions or responses that might be taken to respond to the situation. The questions are designed to assess your reasoning, judgment, moral character, common sense, and problem-solving capabilities. Some Situational Judgment tests are a type of personality test where there may not be a "correct" answer. Still, the employer will gain an insight into how you analyze and respond to a given situation.