PST Information Center

Written Exam Requirements - Firefighter

Written Examination

Firefighter

The Firefighter Selection Tool (FST™) was designed to measure numerous areas that are related to successful performance as a firefighter. Specifically, the FST™ contains questions covering two broad areas: cognitive abilities and non-cognitive traits. It is important to note that the FST™ does not measure job-specific knowledge or any specific skills that require specialized training. You will not need any specific firefighting knowledge or skills to succeed on the FST™.

In order to better familiarize you with the diversity of questions you will experience in the cognitive section of the FST™, the following table will describe each cognitive ability area and the manner in which it might be demonstrated on the job.

  • Deductive Reasoning: Deductive reasoning is the ability to apply rules and principles to make decisions about what to expect from a specific situation. During training, firefighters learn about basic principles of physics and chemistry. They often apply these principles on the job.
  • Mathematical Reasoning: Mathematical reasoning is a combination of the ability to perform basic arithmetic and the ability to choose the proper arithmetic formulas based on a specific situation. Firefighters use mathematical reasoning to estimate how many hose sections are required to span a distance and estimate proper ladder lengths, among other things.
  • Inductive Reasoning: Inductive reasoning is the ability to combine specific pieces of information to arrive at a conclusion about what the causal relationship is between those pieces of information and the resulting outcome. Firefighters frequently exercise this ability when they take in multiple pieces of information and then make decisions about how to react to a scenario based on that information.
  • Information Ordering: Information ordering is the ability to identify the best or proper order of given actions or steps. This ability is fundamental to understanding the proper order of steps in performing a specific task safely. Firefighters are trained to perform complex tasks that require properly ordering steps. Raising ladders, deploying hoseline, ventilating roofs and responding to hazardous materials are examples of some of the tasks that require the firefighter to properly follow a set sequence of steps.
  • Spatial Orientation: Spatial orientation is the ability to understand how to navigate within spaces or how to get from one point to another. Firefighters require this ability to travel from the fire station to the emergency scene, but also to navigate in and out of a building that is obscured by smoke and fire.
  • Visualization: Visualization is the ability to imagine how one object will impact another or how something will look after it is manipulated or rearranged. In order to understand how a fire engine’s pump operates, how to use tools effectively or how complex firefighting equipment is used to achieve its objective, visualization skills are required. Visualization is not to be confused with mechanical reasoning. While related, mechanical reasoning requires a knowledge of how machines and tools operate; including an understanding of principles such as leverage, inertia, weight, torsion, etc.
  • Written Comprehension: Written comprehension is simply the ability to read the English language and understand what is being communicated. This involves an understanding of vocabulary, grammatical structure, punctuation and literary style. Firefighters are required to read and understand a vast amount of training materials and are confronted with on-going professional training throughout their career that is presented in a written format. Firefighters also have to read and understand policies, directives and tactical plans.
  • Written Expression: Written expression is the ability to communicate intended thoughts using the English language. This ability requires an understanding of vocabulary, grammatical structure, punctuation and syntax. Firefighters are responsible for writing incident reports and communicating information through logs and records; therefore, firefighters must be able to communicate intelligently and professionally via the written word. It is necessary to understand how to spell common words, properly use and pair parts of language (e.g., nouns, verbs, articles, etc.), punctuate sentences properly, and compose meaningful sentences.
  • Non-Cognitive Traits: These fall into two main categories: work styles (personality) and biographical data. Your predisposition to respond to people and situations in a given way is your style or personality. These traits have been developed in you over a long period of time and are considered to be very stable. Your biographical experiences are those experiences in your life that result from your abilities, interests and personality.

Once your payment is received for your testing fees, you will be emailed an Introductory Test Guide for the written examination.

You must score at least 70% on the written examination to be considered "Passing" on this portion of the exam process.

Time Allowed - 3 1/4 Hours

 

King County Medic One EMT Examination

If you are testing for King County Medic One you are required to take both the FST and the EMT exams. The EMT exam is based off of the AAOS: Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured (10th Edition). You can purchase the textbook and/or student workbook from the publisher's website: http://www.jblearning.com/catalog/9781284032840/ to help you prepare for the written exam.

There are 100 questions on this exam. You must score at least 70% on the EMT exam to be considered "Passing" on this portion of the exam process for King County Medic One.

Time Allowed - 2 Hours


Study Guides

Once you complete your test registration process, you will be provided a free basic test study guide to review prior to your test date. 

A Combo Preparation Guide, that includes an advanced study guide, and a practice test with answer key is available for purchase.