SHL Test Practice for Firefighters

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Firefighter Recruitment Tests – SHL Test Practice

The key to firefighter recruitment success? Preparation! Find out everything you need to know about SHL tests, including where to get the actual SHL practice test being used in firefighter recruitment.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: there is an easy way and a hard way when it comes to successfully applying to become a firefighter in Australia. However, this means you can’t give yourself the absolute best edge through preparation.

Knowing what to expect from your firefighter recruitment journey will set you up well to put your best foot forward and get a strong application in. The fact that you’re here reading this already tells me you’re serious about the journey ahead – give yourself a fist bump – it’s not always easy to acknowledge we could do with some help.

Free Practice Test – In this free test you will be exposed to some SHL style practice test questions. For access to all our firefighter SHL test practice you can join my membership program where I’ll show you how to not only pass the SHL test b ut how to do it quickly.

Without further ado, let’s dive into this article’s core topic: SHL Tests and SHL Test Practice.

First Things First: What are SHL Tests?

SHL stands for Saville and Holdsworth Limited (SHL). They’re an international company that designs personality, behavioural and ability tests for core industries, like the firefighting recruitment service.

They’re one of the largest providers globally of these tests, with products available in 30 different languages and accessible in over 150 countries. Basically – they know their stuff.

SHL tests were first developed by two psychologists in 1977: Peter Saville and Roger Holdsworth. They launched the Occupational Personality Questionnaire in 1984, which is considered one of the most accurate aptitude and psychometric tests used worldwide. 

The aptitude tests developed by SHL aim to assess your ability in core competencies that the firefighting industry has identified as vital for success in a career as a firefighter. SHL tests often form the first stage of your recruitment journey, and you’ll need to achieve a minimum standardised score to progress further with your application.

What are the Different Types of SHL Tests?

There are many kinds of SHL tests available, and the good news is there are also plenty of SHL practice tests out there to help you better understand what each of these involves, beware that not all SHL practice tests are created the same. (stay tuned because we’ve included some links later on in the article!)

Just to give you a good overview and introduction, these are the main SHL tests you’re likely to come across within your firefighter recruitment journey: 

  • SHL Test Numerical Reasoning : These tests assess your ability to interpret and use numbers and statistics. Within the test, you’ll be presented with a range of numerical data, usually in the form of a table or graph. You’ll then be asked a series of questions based on the data you’ll need to answer accurately. These may also include more general calculation or mathematical questions. Instead of graphs and tables, you’ll need to use mathematical equations to solve common math problems.

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Example SHL numerical question:

In Year 3, how much more than Italy did Germany spend on computer imports?

SHL Test: Numerical Reasoning

  • SHL Test – Verbal Reasoning : These tests evaluate your ability to understand and analyse passages of words and written information, and may also be referred to as reading comprehension tests. You’ll be presented with some short paragraphs of writing to read through first. Then you’ll be asked a series of statements based on what you’ve just read, for which you’ll need to determine whether they are true, false, or impossible to determine either way.

Example Verbal Reasoning Question:

“Many organisations find it beneficial to employ students over the summer. Permanent staff often wish to take their own holidays over this period. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for companies to experience peak workloads in the summer and so require extra staff. Summer employment also attracts students who may return as well-qualified recruits to an organisation when they have completed their education. Ensuring that the students learn as much as possible about the organisation encourages interest in working on a permanent basis. Organisations pay students on a fixed rate without the usual entitlement to paid holidays or bonus schemes.”

Statement 1: It is possible that permanent staff who are on holiday can have their work carried out by students.

Practice SHL Test Question

  • Inductive Reasoning Tests: These tests may also be referred to as logical or diagrammatical reasoning tests. They aim to assess your abstract problem-solving skills. You’ll be presented with a sequence of seemingly abstract shapes and patterns. You’ll then need to determine what the pattern is in order to determine the next shape or set of shapes in the sequence.

Example Inductive Reasoning Question:

Based on the top row of shapes, which of the bottom row comes next?

Practice SHL Test Question


  • Deductive Reasoning Tests: These tests focus on your ability to apply logical reasoning to solve a problem or challenge. You’ll be presented with different pictures, puzzles and questions that may be based on industry-specific scenarios. You’ll be provided with limited information and required to answer a problem based on the scenario or resolve a problem. Essentially, these tests want to see how quickly you land to appropriate decisions based on your ability to ‘fill in the gaps’.
  • Mechanical Comprehension Tests: These tests focus on assessing your general mechanical knowledge and understanding of basic mechanical principles, concepts and systems. You’ll typically be presented with a series of diagrams and asked questions based on what is going to happen next, or what parts may be preventing a system from working correctly.
  • Situational Judgement Tests: These tests aim to understand your typical response to a specific workplace or industry-focused situation. There are usually no hard wrong or right answers, but the test does want to see how well (or not) you would respond to some typical everyday scenarios you might come up against in the course of your role.
  • Workplace Behaviour Tests: These tests are somewhat similar to the situational judgement tests, but they focus more on assessing your response and personality in relation to core workplace behaviours. This might include communication style, teamwork, decision making, as well as how you prefer to work more generally. There are no wrong or right answers, but the test does want to determine whether you have the right type of workplace personality suited to the role you’re applying for. 

You can access further example questions via the SHL practice test site here.

What to Expect From SHL Tests 

SHL tests are completed electronically, usually during the initial stage of your recruitment process. Your recruitment associate will email you links to the test they want you to complete along with login and password details, so they can ensure that your responses are assigned correctly to you.  

You will be given a set amount of time from receiving the email to completing all the tests expected from you. Each test will also have a set time limit for which you need to respond to all the given questions, and be warned, these time limits can be tough!

You might be thinking ‘well, I could get someone to sit the tests on my behalf’ – but you may want to rethink this idea because. You may be asked to resit all or some of your tests a second time in person – for exactly that reason. 

Your recruiter will want to ensure your answers have come from you and will compare your responses from your first test with your second test. If they’re too different, you’ll be disqualified from continuing – and potentially from reapplying.
Your responses to the SHL tests will be compared against a standardised baseline of responses decided as the ‘pass’ for firefighter recruitment. This baseline is based on a broad selection of past responses of individuals who have gone on to become a successful firefighter.

5 Top Tips to Prepare for SHL Tests 

This might sound like a lot – but it doesn’t have to be. There are some core ways you can prepare for these firefighter aptitude tests and set yourself up for ultimate success.

Here’s our top five:

1.Do Your Research

Good news – You’ve already made a start on this step by reading this article! The best way to overcome a challenge like SHL tests is to get ahead of them and do your research. Educate yourself around what to expect and what’s involved so you can then move onto other success steps. The most common kind of tests that SHL provide are from a very specific series. Researching and sourcing the right practice materials from this series will help with successful preparation. We have created an entire section dedicated to the exact SHL firefighter aptitude test that you will face in membership.

2. Practice Performing Under Pressure

It’s often not the tests themselves that catch people out but the pressure that the tests come along with – including the tight timeframes and fast pace turnaround. Spend some time building your coping muscles in this scenario. It might be through mindfulness or deep breathing techniques, or simply getting more comfortable with thinking/operating under pressure, the latter is my preference.

3. Build Your Time Management Skills

Don’t let the tight time limits catch you out. Practice completing similar tasks or activities and record your time – keep repeating this and develop your ability to respond quickly as a reflex.

4. Get in Some Practice

Both handling pressure and time management can be developed through one core process: SHL practice tests. These practice tests will help you get a better understanding of the types of questions you’ll face, how they’re structured, and time limits. Aim to do as many as you can in the lead up to applying for the real thing. Don’t just keep doing the same test over and over thought – make sure you find a variety of different ones to try to stay fresh and challenge yourself. You don’t want to become complacent and be left surprised when you do the real thing. Keep reading to get access to some SHL firefighter practice tests you can start today.

5. Get in the Right Mindset

Preparing for SHL tests and the firefighter recruitment process, in general, can feel isolating. There’s limited information available to most people, and what is out there might be confusing or conflicting. The right mindset is essential for success, and it’s good to know you don’t have to go through it alone. We have heaps of resources, advice and guidance – developed by experts from the industry – to help you build the right mindset, get the right support, and achieve success. Keep reading to learn more about all the other ways we can help you ace SHL tests and more

Ready? Take an SHL Practice Test NOW!

SHL offers its own online environment where you can access a number of SHL practice tests to help you better understand what’s involved.

The tests don’t reveal which answers you get right or wrong, but they will give you an end score and let you know whether this is a pass or fail. 

Below are SHL’s own practice tests which can be good for getting general exposure to questions. Not what I recommend if you want quick solid results that will actually get you to the next stage of recruitment but if you’re keen to do them I have included the links below.

Use my actual SHL firefighter test questions here.

SHL firefighter practice tests  – Membership

Next Steps? Get the Right Support

You can find more SHL practice tests on their dedicated website, but if you’re still feeling unsure or want faster progress and better results – that’s where we come in.

You can also get more personalised support by working with me and my team of coaches to help you Get The Edge over the competition. I like to make certain of a pass when taking a very difficult but passable test like the SHL firefighter test.

SHL tests aren’t designed to catch you out, in saying that they will if you’re not prepared. Dedicate some time to understanding what these tests are about, calm those nerves, and ace that test!



Work with Me and my team, directly.
If you’d like to work directly with Brent and the team to give yourself the best chance for your upcoming recruitment campaign, let us know a little about your situation to see if we are a good fit for each other – 

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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