Fire Service Assessment Battery

The Massachusetts Firefighter Exam makes use of the three-part EB Jacobs Fire Service Assessment Battery (FSAB). The main purpose of this standardized exam is to highlight the individual who is most able and willing to perform the job of a Firefighter in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Therefore, the test questions concern the competencies, work attitudes and traits that are necessary for the effective performance of firefighter tasks.

The Boston Firefighters Exam is also a Fire Service Assessment Battery. However, the focus of the exam is on hiring the best individual for the job, within the context of establishing a firefighting force that reflects the actual diversity of residents in the City of Boston.

FSAB Exam Sections

Multiple-choice is the format throughout the Firefighter test. This is a timed exam, limited to 3 hours and 15 minutes; so wear a watch to track your time as you proceed through each of the three sections. Schedule a total of 5 hours for the exam, including 1 – 2 hours for instructions and test administration.

Written Ability Test

The recommended timeframe for this 48-question test is two hours. Six competencies comprise the Written Ability Test:

All of the information that is necessary to pass the Written Ability Test can be found within the test itself. No prior fire education or job experience is needed.

Listen carefully to the instructions and directions. Read the complete questions as well as the passages. Answer every question; guess if necessary.

Written Comprehension– Assessed through the questions concerning written comprehension is the ability to understand written words, phrases and sentences. This skill is used by Firefighters for reading reports and following written instructions. You will find passages, between half a page and a whole page in length, each followed by at least two questions.

Written Expression– There are two types of written expression questions:

  • Identify the most appropriate way to communicate information.
  • Place thoughts or actions in the correct sequence.

Information Ordering– Sequencing is the object of this portion of the Firefighters exam. The two types of information-ordering questions include:

  • Properly sequence out-of-order items of information.
  • Following a passage containing correctly-ordered procedures, an item will contain a set of events. In accordance with the procedures presented in the passage, identify the next event.

Problem Sensitivity– This skill encompasses the ability to identify problematic evidence. Two types of questions found in this portion of the exam, consist of:

  • Rules presented are not followed in the handling of a situation. Your task will be to identify the most serious mistake.
  • Contained in a scenario are various descriptions by witnesses. The question requires the determination as to which witness provided a problematic description.

Deductive Reasoning– This competency involves the logic of applying a rule to specific cases. You will find three types of questions assessing the skill of deductive reasoning:

  • Apply a rule or principle to particular events.
  • Apply a rule, presented through a table of information, to a particular scenario.
  • Determine which one of several different categories applies to a set of facts in a specific case.

Inductive Reasoning– Determine a rule from a set of circumstances. Two types of questions are connected to the assessment of this skill:

  • Derive a principle from a set of scenarios.
  • Study a group of events to find the factor that is present in each instance.


Work Styles Questionnaire

This section of the MA Firefighters exam focuses on personal characteristics such as motivation, values and attitudes. It is comprised of short statements, each followed by a 5-point agreement scale. The suggested time-frame for this portion of the test is 25 minutes.

Life Experience Survey

The questions in this section relate to your past history and experience. The recommended time-frame for the 80-item Life Experience Survey is 35 minutes.

Prepare for Your Massachusetts Firefighter Exam

JobTestPrep has developed an MA Firefighter test preparation program with over 50 different practice tests. Question/answer analysis and working on sample tests are the keys to test-question and exam-format familiarity, as well as to help achieve a more comfortable testing experience and maximizing your potential for exam success.

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