The Firefighter Aptitude Test – FACT (OFAI), CPS, NFST, OS (Gledhill Shaw)

The firefighter aptitude test can sometimes seem overwhelming, but once you break it down and practice each individual section, you will soon see that the fire exam can usually be passed with little effort.  From the OFAI FACT test to the CPS test used by Firefighter Services of Ontario Ltd (FireOntario), it's all covered here.

On this page, we will break down:

  • The most common firefighter aptitude test questions
  • Explain the different types of firefighter aptitude tests
  • Teach you what to expect on test day
  • Provide you with suggestions on how to pass the firefighter aptitude test
  • Give you a Free Sample Firefighter Practice Exam (PDF format) to download and practice

What Are the Types of Firefighter Aptitude Tests?

There are three types of commonly used firefighter aptitude tests in Canada. They are as follows:

  1. FACT - Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test (Used by OFAI - Ontario Fire Administration Inc.)
  2. OS - Occupational Skills Assessment
  3. CPS - Cooperative Personnel Service Test (Used by FireOntario - Firefighter Services of Ontario Ltd)
  4. NFST - National Fire Select Test
  5.  NTN - National Testing Network (FireTEAM Test)
Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test (FACT)

Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test (FACT)

The Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test (used by OFAI - Ontario Fire Administration Inc.) is a pass/fail type test designed for an entry-level firefighter. It consists of two sections:


  1. General Aptitude Test (45% of overall marks)
  2. Personality Inventory (55% of overall marks)

The General Aptitude Test includes the following categories, similar to the CPS firefighter aptitude test. It is weighted at 45% of your overall mark. It contains the following:


  • Reading Ability - 15 Questions
  • Mathematical Reasoning - 15 Questions
  • Map Reading - 10 Questions
  • Writing Ability - 10 Questions

The Personality Inventory portion of this firefighter aptitude test measures your work attitude, ethics and morality and looks to catch various anti-social behaviours (theft attitudes, anti-social admissions, drug attitudes, etc). It contains 60 questions and is weighted at 55%.


Here are some details on taking the Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test specifically with Ontario Fire Administration Inc (OFAI):

  • The Firefighter Aptitude and Character Test is completed in a computer lab environment.
  • You are given three hours to complete the test.
  • If passed, the results are valid for 24 months.
  • If failed, you can re-take the test after fifteen days (if it's your first attempt).
  • If failed and it's your second attempt, you can re-take the test after thirty days on all of your following attempts.
  • No feedback is provided after you take the test. (Pass or Fail)

Municipal Fire Departments Using the OFAI FACT Test

  • City of Toronto - Toronto Fire Services
  • City of Kitchener - Kitchener Fire Department
  • City of North Bay - North Bay Fire & Emergency Services
  • GTAA Fire & Emergency Services
  • City of Peterborough - Peterborough Fire Services
  • City of Brampton-Brampton Fire & Emergency Services
  • City of Barrie-Barrie Fire & Emergency Services
  • City of Guelph - Guelph Fire Department
  • City of Cambridge - Cambridge Fire Department
  • City of Woodstock - Woodstock Fire & Rescue
  • City of Stratford - Stratford Fire Department
  • Town of Oakville - Oakville Fire Department
  • Town of East Gwillimbury - East Gwillimbury Emergency Services
  • Town of Midland - Midland Fire Department
  • Town of Greater Napanee - Greater Napanee Fire Services
  • City of Mississauga - Mississauga Fire & Emergency Services
  • City of Owen Sound - Owen Sound Fire & Emergency Services
  • City of Quinte West - Quinte West Fire & Rescue
  • Town of Caledon-Caledon Fire & Emergency Services
  • Central York Fire Services
  • City of Waterloo - Waterloo Fire & Rescue
  • City of Pickering - Pickering Fire Services
  • Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Fire Department
  • City of Markham - Markham Fire and Emergency Services
  • Township of Scugog - Scugog Fire Service
  • City of Sarnia - Sarnia Fire Rescue
  • City of Oshawa - Oshawa Fire Services
  • City of St. Thomas Fire Department
  • Township of Springwater - Fire and Emergency Services
  • Loyalist Township - Loyalist Township Emergency Services
  • Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury - Bradford West Gwillimbury Fire & Emergency Services
  • City of Brockville - Brockville Fire Department
Cooperative Personnel Service Test

Cooperative Personnel Services Test (CPS)

The Cooperative Personnel Service Test (CPS) (Used by FireOntario - Firefighter Services of Ontario Ltd) is a multiple-choice firefighter aptitude test. You will find a total of 100 questions on this test, and you are given a time limit of 2-hours to complete the examination.


This test assesses your knowledge, skills, and aptitudes necessary to succeed as a firefighter in today's environment. 


The test is a series of questions divided into sections to gauge your understanding of written and oral information, arithmetic reasoning, maps, diagrams, and mechanical drawings.


A passing score of 70 or higher is usually required.


The CPS test contains the following components:


  • Listen to passage (Oral Information passage) - 20 Questions
  • Mathematics - 20 Questions
  • Mechanical Aptitude - 20 Questions
  • Reading Comprehension - 25 Questions
  • Work Relations (Dealing with People) - 15 Questions

Municipal Fire Departments Using the CPS Test

  • City of Welland - Welland Fire Services
  • Township of Uxbridge - Uxbridge Fire Department
  • City of St. Johns -St. Johns Fire Services
  • City of Thorold - Thorold Fire Services
  • City of St. Catharines - St. Catharines Fire & Emergency Services
  • City of Port Colborne - Port Colborne Fire & Emergency Services
  • City of Pembroke - Pembroke Fire Department
  • City of Orillia - Orillia Fire Department
  • Niagara on the Lake -Niagara on the Lake Fire Department
  • City of Niagara Falls - Niagara Falls Fire Department
  • City of Milton - Milton Fire Department
  • Middlesex County - Middlesex County Fire Department
  • Town of Lincoln - Lincoln Fire Department
  • Town of Innisfil - Innisfil Fire Services
  • Town of Ingersoll - Ingersoll Fire & Emergency Services
  • Hamilton International Airport
  • Town of Halton Hills - Halton Hills Fire & Rescue
  • Haldimand County -Haldimand County Fire Services
  • Town of Grimsby -Grimsby Fire and Emergency Services
  • Township of Georgina - Georgina Fire Service
  • Fort Erie - Fort Erie Fire Rescue
  • Town of Deep River - Deep River Fire Services
  • Town of Collingwood - Collingwood Fire Department
  • Chippewas of Rama First Nation - Chippewas of Rama First Nation Fire and Emergency Services
  • Canadian Armed Forces
  • City of Burlington - Burlington Fire Department
Occupational Skills Assessment (OS)

Occupational Skills Assessment (OS)

The written assessment test (Occupational Skills Assessment) is also commonly referred to as the Gledhill Shaw OS Firefighter Test or the Occupational Specific Firefighter (OSFF) Test.


Gledhill/Shaw Enterprise Ltd. is the provider for firefighter tests of different Canadian Fire Departments.


The three tests Gledhill Shaw provides are:


  1. The Written Aptitude Test
  2. The Written Assessment Test
  3. The Physical Test

A majority of these tests consist of emergency response scenarios and workplace-related questions, making it slightly different from the CPS testing process.


The Written Assessment Test is a computer-based test. It serves as a functional characteristics readiness assessment on functional characteristics that are essential for firefighter performance.


A series of questions are asked relating to specific emergency scenarios and workplace environments, as well as basic mathematical and logical reasoning.


The OS Firefighter Aptitude Test has a time limit of 2 hours and 15 minutes, where you will have to answer 250 questions.

NFST The Firefighter Aptitude Test – FACT (OFAI), CPS, NFST, OS (Gledhill Shaw)

National Fire Select Test (NFST)

The National Fire Select Test is a pass/fail type test designed for an entry-level firefighter. It consists of two sections:


  1. General Aptitude Test
  2. Personality Inventory

The General Aptitude Test includes the following categories, similar to the CPS firefighter aptitude test:


  • Reading Ability
  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Map Reading
  • Writing Ability
  • Human Relations (includes interpersonal skills, teamwork, commitment, honesty, integrity, and emotional stability)
  • Reasoning Skills (includes reasoning, vocabulary, mechanical aptitude, and spatial rotation)

The Personality Inventory portion of this firefighter aptitude test measures your work attitude, ethics and morality and looks to catch various anti-social behaviours (theft attitudes, anti-social admissions, drug attitudes, etc).

NTN The Firefighter Aptitude Test – FACT (OFAI), CPS, NFST, OS (Gledhill Shaw)

National Testing Network (NTN)

The National Testing Network administers the FireTEAM Test as the entry-level exam for firefighting. The four basic sections of the FireTEAM (National Testing Network) test is as follow:


  1.  Teamwork and Human Relations - This is measured in a multiple-choice format in video format. Based on the information presented on the video, you need to select the best alternative that is either the "best" or "worst" action to take, depending on the specifics of the questions.
  2.  Mechanical Aptitude - This is a multiple choice test , again, in video format. It involves everyday tools, equipment and fundamental mechanical principles. You need to base your answers on your understanding of simple objects.
  3.  Mathematics - Multiple choice questions in a video format. You'll need to know the basics such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, rates and proportions etc. All calculations are to be performed without a calculator.
  4.  Reading Comprehension - This is assessed through a fill-in-the-blank format. You need to select the word that best completes the sentence.

This test is different due to it's interactive nature. The test includes video-answer components where you watch videos and then answer questions based on what you saw. To find some sample material, click the link below.

What Can I Expect The Day Of The Firefighter Aptitude Test?

On the day of your test, it's highly recommended that you arrive one hour prior to ensure adequate parking and to complete any extra paperwork required at sign in. 

You should plan to be there to complete the assessment for the next 2-4 hours (depending on the type of test), including sign in and sign out. 

Always bring some water, snacks, and dress appropriately - business casual is always recommended as there may be chiefs in the area.

All cell phones must be turned off and jackets and hats placed underneath your chair prior to the testing start.

As mentioned above, the NFST is a test that takes place on a computer, while the CPS is usually on scantron cards. 

What Types of Questions Are On The Firefighter Aptitude Test?

Listed below are the types of questions you might encounter on your firefighter aptitude test.

1

Listen to passage (Oral Information Problems)

The listen to passage section assess your ability to comprehend and remember the information being provided to you. It's a necessary skill as you must have the ability to understand one another and the public.

2

Mathematics Problems


Mathematics allows the fire department to see your ability to manipulate data represented by symbols to produce information in a form that is more useful than the original data. This is important because we are constantly called upon to make decisions based on mathematics.

3

Mechanical Aptitude Problems


Mechanical Aptitude tests your ability to understand the principles of mechanics. There are two basic types of machines. These are simple and compound machines. Both very important to understand.

4

Reading Comprehension Problems 

Reading comprehension assess your ability to read a passage and identify relevant information from that passage. For example, they may ask you to put items in the passage into some order or to express the original idea in a clear format.

5

Work Relations Problems (Human Relations)


Work relations are very important to understand when taking the firefighter aptitude test. In your career, you will interact with many people. This section checks to see how you would react in certain situations.

6

Writing Ability Problems


Writing Ability tests how effectively you can communicate your ideas and formulate an appropriate response in a given time.

7

Map Reading Problems


Map reading problems test your ability to make judgments about how to traverse areas in the most direct route without breaking the laws or rules.

How to Pass The Firefighter Aptitude Test?

In order to pass the firefighter aptitude test, you must first develop good study habits.

While everyone has different study habits, here are some helpful tips:

  1. Study without interruption for at least 30-60 minutes.
  2. Simulate examination conditions when studying.
  3. Read, study, and take practice examinations.
  4. Make sure you understand every answer to your firefighter sample questions.
  5. Establish a schedule for studying, and stick to it.
  6. Hire a professional coach. (You can find one here.)
  7. Follow the recommended techniques for answering multiple-choice questions.
Scantron

Career coaches can assist you on your journey to become a firefighter by helping you navigate the various practice tests, firefighter aptitude study manuals, and guide you through the specifics of each style of firefighter recruitment testing.

You might find the best way to get better at the firefighter aptitude test is through experience in writing them, applying to various fire departments and participating in different recruitment processes to help to increase your odds of getting hired.

This allows you to better understand the types of questions asked and become aware of the time constraints for each style of test.

On the other hand, due to the cost of applying to various departments, it should be noted that this can prove to be expensive. It's recommended you take the time to practice before using this method.

Free Firefighter Practice Exam PDF Download

  • Steve
  • Updated June 7, 2021