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How to Ace Your Job Application

Fortunately, there is something you can do about this. While practice does make perfect, taking (and failing) every available entry-level test isn’t the best way to practice. What you can do includes:

Take the math and reading placement tests for your local community college. If the results of the test indicate that you need remedial math or reading – enroll in the classes.

Purchase, and take, practice college placement examinations (SAT for example). While many portions of a CPE aren’t content applicable to the prospective firefighter, every question – regardless of topic – will provide you with an opportunity to exercise your critical thinking skills.

If your community college offers a course specific to “Critical Thinking” consider enrolling in the course; and while we’re on the topic of college – enroll in a speech (public speaking) course as well. While there isn’t much cause to speak during a written examination, you may find the skill useful during your oral interview. Additionally, speech classes will provide you additional opportunities to hone your listening skills.

Finally, take the test properly:

• Read the entire question and all of the possible answers before selecting your answer.

• If the test uses a Scantron™, fill in the proper “bubble” completely.

• Make sure that you are answering the correct question number.

• Unless the test itself offers irrefutable proof that a previous answer was wrong, stick with your original answer.


The physical test is usually the least challenging portion of the examination; at least for recent academy graduates. Even so, if you are provided with documentation regarding the test – review it. If you haven’t been working out, start. Don’t wait until you get the invitation to participate in the physical exam, to start exercising. If you smoke, stop. Finally, realize that the physical test isn’t anywhere as demanding as the actual job. Continue to work out, even after the physical test is well behind you.



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