How to Approach Fire Service Tests

Know the keys in posting an excellent score for fire service tests.


1:40 Invest time each day

2:00 Practice specific questions

3:20 Be in a similar environment

4:00 Don’t just wing it

4:50 Turn your weakness into strength

5:20 Develop a test taking strategy


Hi there. It’s Brent Clayton from, and today I’m going to walk you through the things you need to know in order to post an excellent score on your upcoming aptitude or cognitive test. The reason I’ve decided to do this post today is that the QFES in Queensland is currently conducting their cognitive testing, so the pre-testing component. DFES over in WA will also shortly be doing cognitive testing. CFA’s currently recruiting in Victoria, and it’s rumored that the SAMFS is soon to be recruiting over in Adelaide.

I thought it would be timely that I ran you through the keys that you need to know to improve your score on cognitive and show you where you can go to get through that and smash the test when it comes around, and also run through some correspondence from the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, and what they’ve said and then what I think that you need on top of that in order to make sure that you stand out above the competition. The Queensland Fire Services said that the assessments can include but are not limited to verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning, quantitative reasoning, abstract reasoning, spatial and mechanical reasoning. They’re all the reasoning types that you’re likely to come across during fire service recruitment within Australia, but they’re very different for each service across the country.

What they’ve got here is that you need to invest time each day between now and the assessment in practicing cognitive assessments, sample tests and free tests that can be found on the Internet. I definitely agree that you need to invest time each day between now and whenever your assessment is in practicing the tests. I believe that you need to be practicing specific questions to the service that you’re applying to, so there’s no point practicing just any old questions if you then go to the service that you’re applying to, open up the test on the day and find out that they’re completely different. They’re harder, easier, not what you expected.

My tip is – find the specific questions to the service that you’re applying to and practice those specific questions. That way, effort versus reward is as high as it possibly can be, and you can invest as little amount of time as possible for the best outcome possible, and actually be competitive within the very competitive cognitive tests. The next thing that says, that research indicates practicing answers and building up your test experience will significantly improve your chances of obtaining a good score. Absolutely. Practicing answers and building up your test experience, that will definitely increase your ability to get a good score, but you need to practice, once again, specific tests, so that you can get used to the specific types of questions you are going to come up against.

When practicing those tests, we need to be in a similar environment that we’re going to face when we do the actual test, so whether that would be in a room with hundreds of other people or online as a pre-test as most services are doing now. If they’re online, we want to practice online so that we get used to that environment and we want to practice specific questions. Basically, I’ll run you through a couple of things that you need to avoid and a few things that I believe are the keys to improve your score and be competitive and make it through to the next round of testing and then ultimately post a good enough score to land a position on a recruit course.

The first thing I’ll say is — don’t just wing it unless you’re some sort of cognitive genius that’s renowned for smashing these tests. Make sure you research at a minimum the types of questions you’re going to face and the level of difficulty so that you’ve got some idea, and get some exposure to the test-taking environment. The other thing that I briefly covered in the initial part of this conversation was, don’t just practice any old questions. There are these books and websites offering free tests and this and that, but to be honest, it’s going to be, you’ll get some benefit, but if we took it out of a hundred, I reckon you’re going to get ten percent of benefit compared to a hundred percent that you could if you’ve got the correct questions so that you’re building on that.

The second thing is having a mechanism to increase your scores in those questions that you’re currently weak at, so having a mechanism to figure out your weakness, then putting things in place to improve on that weakness and turning it into a strength. You’ve got strengths now and weaknesses, so if we can make those weaknesses into strengths, then you’ll become really competitive at the cognitive or aptitude tests when it comes around. The third thing you need is a test-taking strategy, okay. If we’re good at, if we know what sort of questions we’re going to face, we’ve identified our weaknesses and made them strengths, then we need to look at how we’re going to approach the test so that we can get as many questions correct in the time that’s allotted because you will be put under time pressure and this is where your preparation in test-taking strategy will really pay off.

Like I touched on before, make sure that you’re aware of the environment that the test will be administered in, so that you can then practice in that environment. If it’s at home and you’re using an online test platform, make sure that you have your phone on silent or away and that people in your house are aware of what you’re doing so that you’re not interrupted. What we want to do here is make sure that we’re training under test conditions. If you take it seriously, you’ll get serious improvement. Once you’ve increased your ability to answer these questions and have a strategy, you’ll gain a lot more confidence and that will compound to allow you to get the best score possible on the day and definitely move through into the next round of testing.

Just to recap, don’t wing it. Don’t just practice any old questions and do know the questions that you’ll be faced with specifically, have a test-taking strategy, know the environment so that you can be efficient and you’re used to it, and identify your weaknesses and make them strengths. If you need help with this, I’ve actually developed a website and coaching package where you can go on and practice specific questions, whether you’re applying for QFES this year, CFA, SAMFS, DFES, New South Wales Fire and Rescue, Tasmania Fire Service, MFB, it doesn’t matter.

I’ve put together, over the last three years, specific questions for each of these services so that you don’t have to go around searching. You can just go there. They’re in an online format. Then, I’ve created a mechanism for you to improve and make your weaknesses into strengths, using video tutorials and coaching. If that’s something that interests you, you can find it at

If not, just make sure that you can find out those key things that I said and concentrate on them, and you will be better off for it. I hope you found this helpful today. Thanks for tuning in. My name’s Brent Clayton. This is I’ll see you on the next session. Bye for now.



Brent Clayton

After becoming a Firefighter, I developed a massive interest in the Fire Services Recruitment and Selection Processes. I've been working since 2007 to learn everything about how Fire Services Recruitment works. I've tested and refined proven methods to help people get the edge over the competition. Today, over 100 of my former students are living their Firefighter dream.

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