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Firefighter Observation‌ ‌and‌ ‌Memory‌ ‌Skills‌ 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 an Observation and Memory Skills 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 observation and memory skills 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 an Observation and Memory Skills Test?

An observation and memory skills test assesses the firefighter candidate's observation and memory skills, which are essential skills for a firefighter. Before approaching a fire, firefighters must assess hazards, observe and remember details and characteristics of the structure, smoke, and fire. Firefighters need to identify entry and exit points, suspicious activity by bystanders, and indications there may be victims trapped in a building. When responding to medical emergencies, firefighters need the same observation and memory skills. When approaching a medical emergency, firefighters will assess the scene to ensure it is safe to enter, assess hazards, determine the number of patients, remember information given to them, and treat patients using memorization of first aid skills they were taught.

Why do Fire Departments use Observation and Memory Skills Tests?

Fire departments use observation and memory skills tests to analyze a candidate's ability to quickly look at visual or written material, see the details, and recall those details after the information is no longer in front of you. Having the ability to remember details of what is seen, read, and heard is an excellent characteristic of a firefighter. A firefighter must be able to remember streets and addresses in their jurisdiction, the proper arrangement of fire and medical equipment, departmental procedures, characteristics of fire behavior, and much more.

Where are Observation and Memory Skills 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.

Common Questions About Observation and Memory Skills Tests.

Remember, the observation and memory skills test may be included in the firefighter's written aptitude test. However, it is most likely since firefighters need to have excellent observation and memory skills as a firefighter. Here are some common questions you might have about the firefighter observation and memory skills 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 observation and memory skills section on the written test?

The first step is to take the Mock Questions Observation and Memory Skills 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 Observation and Memory Skills Test.

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

After completing the Observation and Memory Skills practice test, check out the Firefighter Personality Section here. This section is designed to measure the firefighter candidate's qualities needed to succeed at the job. These qualities include teamwork, flexibility, quick decision-making, positive attitude, resourcefulness, empathy, ability to accept and learn from feedback, and working under pressure. Firefighter personality tests help the fire department choose candidates who share the same values and eliminate unsuitable candidates. Personality tests are designed to extract candidates' strengths, weaknesses, habits, quirks, and tendencies.