Test Prep

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Candidates hoping to begin a career in the fire service must undergo a rigorous physical and written testing process that is used by departments to determine their potential for success as a firefighter.

While the tests are meant to be difficult, adequate preparation in the weeks and months leading up to your CPAT or Written Test can increase your odds of success.

Preparing for the Written Test

In order to better prepare candidates for the Written Test, FCTC has created a free study guide that covers all four sections of the exam, providing study tips and sample questions for prospective test takers. 

Materials provided directly by the Firefighter Candidate Testing Center (FCTC) are the only FCTC Written Test materials authorized and endorsed by FCTC and/or the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC). There are outside vendors selling study materials and/or programs claiming to provide FCTC Written Test assistance, but any such vendors have no affiliation with FCTC. Cal-JAC and FCTC are the only trusted source of study materials and classes related to the FCTC Written Test.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE WRITTEN TEST STUDY GUIDE.

Preparatory Course

FCTC also offers a two-hour, in-person class in which an FCTC instructor will overview the test, solve sample test questions step-by-step, provide useful test taking techniques and answer candidate questions. Candidates that attend this class consistently pass at higher rates. There is a $25 fee for this course.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW A SCHEDULE OF UPCOMING WRITTEN TEST PREPARATION COURSES

Materials provided directly by the Firefighter Candidate Testing Center (FCTC) are the only FCTC Written Test materials authorized and endorsed by FCTC and/or the California Firefighter Joint Apprenticeship Committee (Cal-JAC). There are outside vendors selling study materials and/or programs claiming to provide FCTC Written Test assistance, but any such vendors have no affiliation with FCTC. Cal-JAC and FCTC are the only trusted source of study materials and classes related to the FCTC Written Test.

 

Preparing to Take the CPAT

 

Orientation

The IAFF/IAFC standards for the Candidate Physical Ability Test states that each candidate must have the opportunity to attend at least two orientation sessions within eight (8) weeks prior to taking the test.

During orientation, candidates will receive instruction on the test and the test events, and will have the opportunity to try out the CPAT testing equipment to better understand what will be required.

Participation in one or more orientation sessions is strongly encouraged. Candidates who take advantage of orientation consistently have a higher passage rate than those who do not. The two orientation sessions are included in the $150.00 testing fee.

FCTC also provides a complete online Orientation Guide, with detailed information about the test events.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE IAFF/IAFC CPAT ORIENTATION GUIDE

WATCH THE FCTC SACRAMENTO - CPAT ORIENTATION VIDEO

WATCH THE FCTC LIVERMORE - CPAT ORIENTATION VIDEO

WATCH THE FCTC SOUTH EL MONTE - CPAT ORIENTATION VIDEO


Practice

In addition to orientation, candidates have the option to sign up for at least two (2) timed practice runs prior to the test itself. Unlike orientation, practice tests are a full-scale simulation of the test. There is an additional fee of $25 per practice test. Like orientation, candidates that take at least one practice test consistently pass at a higher rate.

If you choose not to participate in this pre-test program, you will be required to sign a waiver acknowledging that you are aware of the pre-test program and have declined to include it in your preparations to complete the CPAT. 

Getting in Shape to Take CPAT

Like firefighting, the key to success in the CPAT is preparation. FCTC's CPAT Preparation Guide will help you prepare, with detailed information on:

  • Physical demands of the test
  • Training principles
  • Warm-up strategies
  • Techniques for building flexibility, strength and cardiovascular endurance
  • Hydration and training strategies

CLICK HERE TO VIEW AND DOWNLOAD THE CPAT PREPARATION GUIDE