Fire fighters are extensively trained service men and women who have to pass several tests while at the same time being required to develop certain competencies before they can qualify as fire fighters. This is because fire fighting can be and usually is very hazardous plus the requirement to save life and property during fire fighting missions necessitates the need for quality training and preparedness. The training encompasses many areas that include among other things; life saving, first aid, self preservation, rescue, fire control and containment, preservation of property, equipment handling and disaster management. In order to qualify as a fire fighter, one has to pass several tests among them physical Pre- Entry Test, Medical test and a Firefighter Cognitive Test.
The firefighter cognitive test comprises of three tests that asses a candidate’s basic literacy, mathematical skills and their ability to solve problems in different settings. All tests have a minimum score and are administered according to strict control procedures. Before the administering of any test, candidates are allowed the time to go through the questions so that they can be sure what is required of them. In most cases, the three cognitive tests take are expected to be done after 2 hours.
The first test and which can be considered as an IQ test in its own right measures a candidate’s ability to make connections between things, make similarities, contrasts, comparisons and solve problems. Also tested in this first test are competencies in language use, verbal analogies, verbal reasoning and vocabulary. The second test tests the mathematical knowledge of a candidate and their ability to solve problems that involve number series, matrices and in arithmetic. On the other hand, the third test measures the ability of fire fighting candidates to reason abstractly, think symbolically while at the same time gauging their ability to solve non routine problems and demonstrate ability to finding novel solutions.
The Firefighter Cognitive Test is administered to all fire fighters and in all countries worldwide. Those that pass this test are given the green light to go ahead and do the Physical Pre-Entry Testing plus other tests. All candidates are expected to attain a minimum pass score for each test and a minimum pass score in all three tests in order to be considered qualified.
The pass rate for the cognitive test is usually high because candidates have a lot of preparation time before the test. In most cases the pass rate is about 90%.