CPS & OS Firefighter Test – Practice Tests and Study Guides

Asif, Firefighter Exam specialist at JobTestPrep.

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CPS Entry-Level Test Format

The entry-level CPS test is a firefighter aptitude test used by many a fire department in the US. It is generally divided into five sections, although there are seven possible areas the CPS assesses applicants with. JobTestPrep provides practice materials for all of them to ensure you are as prepared as possible for anything that may come your way.

Verbal Sections

  • Understanding Oral Information – Firefighters need a commanding understanding of oral information so that when they are at the scene of a fire oral commands are clearly understood, even if they are not explicitly written out or explained. This section tests your reasoning skills as well.

The CPS Firefighter Exam Preparation Pack includes preparation materials for this section, using audio files and accurate questions like those on the test.

Make sure you get a passing score and complete the CPS Firefighter Test!

  • Reading and Understanding Written Information – During an emergency, there is usually an LED sign with a scroll explaining the situation. It is important that your reading comprehension skills are up to par. It is also important to be able to study and learn the correct information about all the equipment used by firefighters.

CPS Sample Question- Reading and Understanding Written Information

Read the following text, and answer the question below.

New research is studying ways in which the blind can use echoes to recognize where they are and to identify objects. Bats are famous for the way they use echolocation, by making sounds, to fly successfully through treetops and caves as they hunt insects. Humans cannot match their precision, but this expertise can be honed with experience and feedback. Studies examining what types of sound help locate objects found that longer sounds, lasting around half a second, help locate distant objects, while shorter ones help locate objects more accurately as they grow closer. It was also found that as sounds get shorter, people's ability to determine whether an object is to the left or the right declines. However, if one wishes to know how close an object is, a short sound of just ten milliseconds is best. Bats, too, change their call as they get closer to their hunting target. The non-profit organization World Access for the Blind trains people to use tongue clicks to navigate. Its president, Daniel Kish, who is blind himself, is so skilled at this that he can ride a bicycle in traffic. Kish describes the process as having a conversation with his environment. "The clicking is like asking two questions: 'What are you?' and 'Where are you?' You want a sharp tongue click, and you want to be scanning with your head, much as seeing people scan using eye movement." One hears different answers from different objects, he explains. Claire Randall, who is blind from birth, also uses echolocation, although not exactly in the same way. "I used to ride a bicycle, and when I was five years old, I developed the ability to swerve past a lamp post and miss it by millimeters too regularly for it to be a coincidence." Her mother marveled at her talent to dodge obstacles. "One day my mother asked me how I always managed to avoid the lamp post, and the only way I could explain it was, 'It goes dark past my fears.'"

The main purpose of the passage is to

A. Discuss how human being can learn from echolocation
B. Profile two blind people whose lives improved after learning to navigate with sounds
C. Report studies comparing the different information obtained from short and long sounds
D. Present some information about how the blind can use echoes to learn about their environment
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
The correct answer is (D).

Answer (D) is the best answer because the passage opens with the sentence, "New research is studying ways in which the blind can use echoes to recognize where they are and to identify objects" (lines 1–2). The passage continues to provide information about this subject by detailing research findings and examples of blind people using this technique.
Answer (A) is incorrect because the passage mentions bats as an example of echolocation; it does not speak of people learning echolocation from them. In addition, the second half of the passage does not mention bats at all.
Answer (B) is incorrect because it is too narrow: it refers to two people who are indeed mentioned in the passage, but they are mentioned as examples and are not the main focus of the passage.
Answer (C) is incorrect because it is too narrow: it refers to information found only in the second paragraph.
  • Understanding Written Instructions – If a firefighter cannot understand the rules of how to fight a fire correctly, then they become a danger not only to themselves but also to the rest of the crew and to civilians.

CPS Sample Question- Understanding Written Instructions

Read the following instructions, and answer the question below.

Dealing with a personal fire
If your clothes catch fire don’t run around; you will fan the flames and make them burn faster. The correct thing to do is to lie down as this makes it harder for the fire to spread and reduces the effect of flames on your face and head (flames burn upwards), smother the flames, and cover the flames with heavy material, like a coat or blanket; this blocks the fire's source of oxygen. Roll around – rolling smothers the flames.
If your escape route is blocked:
If you’re on the ground floor, go out of a window – throw bedding or cushions onto the ground outside to break your fall. If you can’t open the window, use a heavy object to break it at the bottom corner and cover any jagged edges with clothing, a towel or a blanket. Lower children as far as possible before letting them drop. Get an adult to break their fall if you can. Lower yourself by your arms from the window ledge before dropping.
If you can’t get out, get everyone into one room: choose a room with a window and, if you can, put cushions, towels or bedding at the bottom of the door to block smoke; open the window and call for help. Think now about which room might be best for this – you need a window that can be opened and, if possible, a phone for calling 999.

Which of the following statements is correct?

A. Allow children to jump out of the window if there is a blanket below.
B. Even if the escape route is blocked, try to get it open for other people to use it.
C. Put cushions in a safe room so everyone will be comfortable.
D. Use soft materials to break your fall.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer
The correct answer is option D as the text states: throw bedding or cushions onto the ground outside to break your fall.

Math Sections

  • Mathematical Ability – Firefighters use a lot of math—they must be able to understand what hose length reaches the scene, which ladder is the correct height, and how much water is still in the tank. There are numerous other examples as well, but they are all based on your arithmetic reasoning.

CPS Sample Question- Mathematical Ability

What is the value of X?

x/2 = (x+1)/3

A. 1
B. 2
C. 3
D. 4
E. 5
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

x/2 = (x+1)/3 / Find a common denominator
3x/6 = 2(x+1)/6 / Multiply both sides by 6
3x = 2(x+1) / Multiply out the brackets
3x = 2x+2 / Subtract 2x from each side
x = 2

Another way to solve the equation is cross multiplying both sides of the equation by the respective denominator:

x/2 = (x+1)/3     //Cross multiply by the respective denominator

3*x = 2*(x+1)   //Open the brackets

3x = 2x + 2      //Move variables to one side of the equation and numbers to the other side

3x - 2x = 2

x = 2
  • Numerical Skills – This section is more or less like the previous one. However, it is more specific in that it refers to the calculation of water flow and is slightly more math intensive.

CPS Sample Question- Numerical Skills

A shop owner bought some shovels for $5,500. The shovels were sold for $7,300, with a profit of $50 per shovel. How many shovels were involved?

None of these
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is 36.

The total profit from the sale is the selling price minus the cost of purchase, which is $7300-$5500= $1800.
If the total profit is $1800 and each shovel accounts for $50 profit, the amount of shovels is 1800/50=36.

Other Sections

  • Maps & Diagrams – A firefighter must be able to get to the scene as quickly as possible, and this will only happen if you understand how to read a map. You must also understand how to read floor plans to be able to find the source of the fire in buildings and structures.

CPS Sample Question- Maps & Diagrams

If a firetruck is heading Northeast and then turns right, left, right, and right again, in which direction is she then headed?

A. Northeast
B. South
C. Southeast
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is D.

  • Mechanical Aptitude – The mechanical aptitude test revolves around the levers, pulleys, etc. that you will encounter during your job. It is important for you to have a basic understanding of how general mechanics work to ensure the most effective techniques are used.

CPS Sample Question- Mechanical Aptitude

Danny received a bunch of colourful helium balloons for his birthday. One of the balloons was not attached properly and flew away.

Assuming the temperature remains constant, what will be the volume of the balloon at a very high altitude?

A. Smaller
B. Bigger
C. Unchanged
D.Cannot Say
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is B.

In order to answer this question one should know the Ideal Gas Law:


where P =pressure, V = volume, n = number of moles of gas (amount of gas), R = Gas constant, T = temperature.

Since we know the temperature is constant, the right side of the equation will also be constant (providing the amount of gas in the balloon remains constant, meaning: PV = Const, at all times.

As the balloon raises atmospheric pressure decreases since the amount of air above it the balloon is reduced (similar to hydrostatic pressure).

If the pressure decreases (as the balloon raises) then the volume must increase in order for P*V to remain constant.

  • Teamwork/Public Relations/Community Living – This section is much like a personality test, with a few situational judgment questions as well. Firefighters work in teams, so it is imperative that you be able to work as part of a team and that you can live in a firehouse without causing problems. Firefighters also tend to speak a lot with civilians and victims, so it is important for you to possess good people skills.

CPS Sample Question- Situational Judgement Test

During the last fire, the hose got caught in the truck. It took an extra five minutes to loosen the hose and lay it out long enough to reach the fire. Following this incident, your captain calls in Tom, the firefighter who performed the last equipment check before you left. You know that your captain is upset after this dangerous error, and you know that Tom will get in trouble. You also remember that it was you who rolled the hose last and that you did it while talking on the phone, which may have distracted you.
What would be the worst response to this situation?

Wait to see what the captain will say to Tom before you take any rash actions.
Tell Tom that you think you should share the blame and suggest you talk to the captain together.
Talk to the captain, confess what you did, but emphasize that this is exactly why equipment checks are important.
Suggest to Tom that next time he should check the instruments more thoroughly. 
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is Talk to the captain, confess what you did, but emphasize that this is exactly why equipment checks are important.

Worst response: C
Competencies: Integrity (ethics), Interpersonal relations (teamwork)
Explanation: Following a dangerous incident, your teammate Tom is expected to be blamed for failing to spot a potential hazard in his inspection. Tom indeed should have found the error, but you are the one who caused it. You have a chance to either take responsibility for your part or to let Tom take all the blame. Notice that you are being asked about the worst response to the situation.

In response A, you wait. This seems like a passive response or a response that postpones your need to decide. However, deciding to wait is also a decision. Your first response is not to take responsibility. This is not a positive response, yet it is not the worst.

In response B, you take your share of the responsibility. You don't take the full blame, and indeed Tom has his part too. But you show solidarity and ethics. This is the best response.

Response C might be confusing. First, you confess to your part of the blame – you weren't focused enough while rolling the hose. You go on to emphasize why equipment inspections are important. While this is true, and they are indeed important, emphasizing it here seems to be an attempt to take the blame from you and turn it to Tom. You appear to be responsible, but in fact, you are trying to eat the cake and have it too – presenting yourself as ethical by confessing your part but also dodging the reprimand by pointing to someone else. This is the worst response.

In response D, you fail to confess your part in the incident and act insensitively to your teammate's situation. However, here you don't make things worse for him by trying to get your captain more upset with him. This is a negative response, but it is not the worst.

After completing the test, you may be invited to take a physical test and/or psychological evaluation/character test. After completing these, you will be on your way to becoming a firefighter!

Prepare for the Firefighter Test

Hundreds of candidates typically apply for each open firefighter position. Firehouses rank the test and pick the highest-scoring candidates. JobTestPrep offers a CPS-styled firefighter test preparation package, which includes both practice tests and a comprehensive study guide. These resources will prepare you for the exam and help ensure that your name is at top of the candidate list. Our package is especially geared for the CPS Chicago Fire Dept. exam. 

About CPS

CPS HR is one of the largest assessment test companies in the United States that works with public safety. It provides assessment tests for fire departments in some of the top cities nationwide, including Chicago, Orange County, Sacramento, Akron, and many, many more.

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