OPRA Test Practice Firefighter Guide

OPRA Test Practice Firefighter Guide

If you want to become a firefighter and need help practising for OPRA psychometric tests, this article’s for you. We’ll give you all the information you need to practice for the test, so you have the best chance of passing.

Note: This guide focuses on OPRA test practice for firefighting candidates specifically.

Becoming a firefighter isn’t easy. Whether it’s the physical test or a written exam, each stage of the application process is carefully designed to make sure only the best candidates get through.

At Fire Recruitment Australia, we have a wealth of knowledge in the fire service recruitment process. We designed this guide so that firefighting candidates stand the best possible chance of passing the OPRA test.

What is the OPRA Test?

The test is a psychometric examination designed by the OPRA Psychology Group to help employers (ranging from the police to catering services) make informed hiring decisions. This test is designed to assess a candidate’s critical thinking, personality traits, adaptability and professional potential.

There are several areas in which the OPRA testing measures a candidate’s competencies and these are:

  • Verbal ability
  • Numerical ability
  • Abstract ability
  • Personality assessment

Testing can be completed on a desktop, laptop, or tablet device. If you’re sitting the test at home, make sure you have a quiet space and a reliable internet connection.

Although the test doesn’t have a time limit for each question, some sections will time how long it takes for a candidate to complete each part. This helps the assessors measure how efficiently and accurately candidates can work under pressure. Let’s take a look at the different areas assessed by OPRA.

The Verbal Ability Assessment

The OPRA verbal ability test will test the applicant’s ability to understand and process writing material. This section of the test will present candidates with a series of verbal patterns and expect them to fill in the blanks by selecting the correct answer in multiple-choice format.

Many verbal assessments require candidates to read a passage of text and convey their understanding of it, but this test is different. Although it measures your verbal ability, it will also test your lateral thinking skills. You will need to identify patterns and relationships between other words to find the correct answer.

Why is the OPRA Verbal Ability Relevant to Firefighting?

While working for the fire department, you’ll need to be able to comprehend verbal and written information on the job. Your ability to process information efficiently under pressure could save lives. This section of the test measures the candidate’s ability to do this, filtering out those applicants who can’t.

OPRA psychometric test - verbal ability practice question

Source: OPRA practice psychometric tests. Check this out for free OPRA practice tests.

The image above shows a verbal ability question from the OPRA practice tests. You will notice the timer at the top of the question and the arrows at the bottom of the screen for navigating between questions.

Practice Tip:

Realising the relationship between “Temperature” and “Rise” will make you see that the third word in the sequence, “Colder” forms the opposite of the expected result. Picking up on these sorts of relationships will help you make an informed decision when choosing the correct answer.

The Numerical Ability Assessment

The numerical ability test measures a candidate’s proficiency in dealing with numbers. Applicants will be presented with a series of numbers that share a common relationship. The candidate will then be required to recognise the numerical patterns and choose one number that offers the correct fit to the pattern.

Why is the OPRA Numerical Ability Relevant to Firefighting?

Part of being a firefighter is responding with composure in life-or-death situations. Firefighters often have to make high-pressure decisions based on numbers. This part of the test will assess the candidate’s ability to make decisions using numerical data under pressure and during time-sensitive situations.

Source: OPRA practice psychometric tests. Check this out for free OPRA practice tests.

The image above shows an example of a numerical ability practice question. This takes the same form as the verbal assessment; you’re presented with other sequences that give you the insight needed to find the correct answer.

Practice Tip:

In this instance, we can see that the relationship between “1/2” and “2/4” is that the numbers on the right have doubled compared to the number on the left. Take notice of any number pattern you can. While you may see the numbers on the right are doubling, you will also notice the numbers on the left are increasing by increments of 1. This is the type of wider thinking that will help you answer the more difficult questions later on.

The Abstract Ability Assessment

The abstract ability test will examine the candidate’s ability to recognise patterns in shapes. Similar to the verbal and numerical tests, candidates will rely on previous patterns to help them identify the correct answer. This section of the test will examine the candidate’s logical and sequential thinking abilities.

Candidates will be presented with a group of different shapes (in different colours) which form a pattern. They will need to identify the relationship between the shapes, to understand which layout of shapes comes next in the sequence.

Why is the OPRA Abstract Ability Test Relevant to Firefighting?

Part of being a firefighter will require wider thinking and subconscious problem-solving. This test will examine the candidate’s ability to recognise patterns and form logical conclusions while under pressure.

OPRA psychometric test - abstract ability question

Source: OPRA practice psychometric tests. Check this out for free OPRA practice tests.

The example above gives you a taste of what the abstract ability test questions will look like. Similar to previous questions, you will be expected to select a single answer that forms the final part of a sequence.

You will notice that these answers are more complex than previous areas, as they’re made up of multiple different shapes and colours rather than a single shape.

Practice Tip:

When you look at the first set of sequences, you should notice that each colour occupies the same spot throughout each step. If you look at the shape sequence, you will notice that each shape is moving clockwise by one space each time. Always look for patterns in colours as well as shapes.

The Personality Assessment

This test is designed to determine a candidate’s personal traits and help the recruiter understand how well they would fit the role. There are no right or wrong answers in this section; all that candidates can do is answer as honestly as possible.

Why is the OPRA Personality Test Relevant to Firefighting?

Firefighting requires excellency in terms of competency but also character. You need to be a certain type of person to succeed in the fire department. The personality test is a way to measure whether you have what they’re looking for when hiring new firefighters.

Source: OPRA practice psychometric tests. Check this out for free PRA practice tests.

You will notice that the example section above shows the format of the personality test. It consists of forms containing multiple statements. You will select an answer for each statement, which signals how much you agree with that statement. There is no timer for this section.

Practice Tip:

Make sure you thoroughly read each section of the page. You will be presented with multiple statements at once, so it will be tempting to work through them quickly. Read each question with your full attention and select the answer that best matches your personality.

Tips for passing the OPRA tests

Keep Calm

Keeping calm on the day of the test is key to getting through it. If you are struggling with a question, don’t panic and freeze, give the best answer you can (without guessing) and move on to the next question.

Unlike a physical examination, your entire result depends on how you perform mentally. If you waste time dwelling over a mistake, the rest of your test is going to suffer.

The key to being able to stay calm is doing enough preparation beforehand to make sure you feel confident. This includes preparation but extends to things like having a reliable device if you’re doing the exam at home and a stable high-speed internet connection. The last thing you want is to be unable to complete the exam due to a technical issue.

You will also need to make sure you have a quiet space where you know there won’t be any interruptions. Worrying about being distracted will stop you from fully focusing on the test.

Do Practice Exams

Knowing what you’re up against is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for the test. By taking practise exams, you will be much more relaxed and know what to expect when the day comes to sit for the real thing.

Practising under pressure will allow you to get a feel for what test conditions will be like on the day, making you ready for whatever the exam throws at you.

Read the Questions Carefully

This point sounds obvious, but if you don’t read the questions properly, you’re going to throw away marks. Many people see the timer and think skimming the question is a quick way to save some time. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s more likely you’ll end up having to rethink the entire question because you’ve misinterpreted it.

Be Yourself

As much as you feel pressured to find the right answers, don’t let the personality test make you overthink or change how you answer the questions. If you’re cut out to be a firefighter, this section of the test will be the easiest one. Don’t look for the answer that you think they want, answer truthfully and trust that you have the personality traits needed.

Obtain Feedback

If you have failed the test before, OPRA states that whatever your results are, you will be entitled to feedback. Even if you aren’t successful with the test, make sure you ask for feedback. This is a great way to respond positively and learn from your mistakes, making sure that you’re a stronger applicant next time around.

Hire a coach

Not many people know that you can get a coach to help you every step of the way with a firefighter application. Whether you need guidance with the physical ability test, interview process, or help with a test like OPRA, a coach can improve your chances of submitting a successful application.

Our coaching service offers an arm around the shoulder and someone to be held accountable to. Our passionate firefighting recruitment team is on hand to help you take your application to the next level.

with us today to get all the help you need to make your application a great one.

Brent C

After becoming a Firefighter, I developed a massive interest in the Fire Services Recruitment and Selection Processes. I've been in the fire service 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 300 of my former students are living their Firefighter dream.

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