The Firefighter Selection Tool (FST)

The FST firefighter test has been designed IOS to measure abilities that are important in a successful career as a firefighter. The test is divided into two sections, the first section assess non-cognitive traits and includes a measure of personality and a biographical data, and the second section is an assessment of cognitive abilities.

While the FST include job-related questions you will not require any firefighting experience or knowledge to pass the test.

Other than pen and paper, no aids are allowed during the test. No dictionaries, spelling aids and web-enabled devices are allowed, and most importantly no calculators.

Non-cognitive Traits

The FST measure non-cognitive traits in two sub-sections: Behavioral Characteristics and biographical data.

Behavioral characteristics are assessed through a type of personality test. Attitude, motivation, work preferences and interpersonal relations are assessed. The biographical data section assess the experiences in your life and your background.

The behavioral characteristics section consists of a five-point scale format, from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree.” This section contains 120 items, with a time limit of 30 minutes.

You cannot prepare for the non-cognitive traits section because this section requires the most simple answers from you: the honest ones. Make sure that you answer truthfully to these questions, do not answer what you believe they want you to answer. If you try to cheat in the test by answering untruthfully it may damage your chances of passing the test. Personality tests are build in such a way that untruthful answers will result in inconsistencies in your personality report.

Cognitive Abilities

The second section of the FST measures eight different abilities. The test is laid out in a multi-choice format, consisting of four answer options. The test consists of 80 questions with a time limit of 2 hours.
The eight abilities measured can be divided into the categories below:

  • Deductive Reasoning: You are presented with a set of rules or procedures. You have to apply these rules/procedures to a given situation to answer the question. I.E. selecting the most suitable firefighter equipment to use in a given situation.
  • Inductive Reasoning: From a list or paragraph of information you are to find and combine specific details that will help you arrive at a conclusion in order to answer the question. I.E. drawing a conclusion from a list of witness statements.
  • Information Ordering: Rearrange a list of instructions, procedures or statements in order to sequence the list correctly. I.E. the list of steps on how to operate a fire hose has been shuffled, you have to rearrange the list again.
  • Mathematical Reasoning: Your ability to perform basic arithmetic calculations and ability to choose the correct mathematical formula to use in a given situation. You will see charts, tables, simple text questions, and complex test questions.
  • Spatial Orientation: Your ability to use city maps and building diagrams to navigate is measured. I.E. finding the shortest route from A to B on a city map.
  • Visualization: Identify objects or people after they have been rearranged or altered.
  • Written Comprehension: You are to read a passage of text and answer questions based on this text. The questions may require you to simply recall or extract specific facts from the passage or to draw conclusions based on the text.
  • Written Expression: Your grammar, spelling, vocabulary and general English usage is assed. I.E. finding the correctly spelling of a word from a list of options.


Preparing for the Cognitive Abilities section of the test will lead to a dramatically improved chance of passing the FST. One way of preparing is simply by completing as many aptitude tests as you can and try to find your weak areas in order to improve them. However, focused preparation is far more effective and far less time consuming. Our preparation software not only include test questions specifically designed for the FST, but also preparation tools that will make your training more efficient and focused.

FST Scoring

In the non-cognitive traits section a score is given in the two sub-sections and a combined score for the full non-cognitive section is calculated based on the score from the two sub-sections. In the cognitive abilities section a score is given in each of the eight categories and a combined score for the full cognitive section is calculated based on these scores.
Finally each of the two sections will be combined into one overall score given on a 100-point scale. Each individual section and sub-section of the FST will be considered in the assessment of your final score

Scores are based on the number of correct answers, there is no penalty to incorrect answers. Therefore, it is very important that you answer all test questions, even at a random guess will have a 25% chance of hitting th correct answer.


FST Test Preparation

Preparation is important in order to obtain a good score on the Cognitive Abilities section of the FST test. In reading our information about the test, you have already covered the first point on our list of tips for preparation in advance of the test day.


Well in advance of the test day

  • Know what to expect on test day.
  • Familiarize yourself with the type of test questions in the FST.
  • Practice sample FST questions. Use the sample questions to find your weak areas and make sure you brush up your skills within these areas.
  • A healthy body is important for a healthy mind. Eat well, get enough sleep and make sure you get regular exercise; this will make a positive difference not only in your everyday life, but also in your test results


The day before the test

  • The day before your test, make especially sure that you eat well and avoid alcohol.
  • Arriving late for the test or even just in time can cause nervousness and bad results. Make sure you have everything ready the day before and that you know exactly where to go and how to get there.
  • Get plenty of rest the night before the test.



Tips for taking the FST test:

  • On the day of your test, eat a good breakfast, even if you normally skip it. You need to keep your mental focus on your test and not on your hunger. If you really cannot stomach food, then try having a protein shake or smoothie. Eat brain-boosting food, this includes protein-rich foods which can lead to greater mental alertness. Good food choices include eggs, nuts, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
  • Read the directions for each test carefully before you begin the test.
  • Read each question carefully before selecting your answer.
  • Pay attention to the time. Avoid spending too much time on one question, if that means you won’t have time to answer later questions. Remember you can always skip a question and return to it later.
  • When you don’t know the answer to a question, try using the method of elimination: rule out as many incorrect choices as you can, and then make an educated guess from the remaining answers.
  • If your time is running out it is better to guess the remaining questions instead of leaving them blank, there is no penalty for a wrong answer.
  • If you have spare time, make sure to revisit all test questions, in an exam situation it is easy to make small mistakes such as misreading a question or choosing a wrong option by mistake.


Preparation can make a huge difference on your test results. We strongly believe that our software offers the best FST preparation on the market.  Click below to read more about our preparation software.