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Are you interested in obtaining the competitive edge required to be successful in your goal of becoming a firefighter or being promoted to an officer's position within your department?  Since 1950, Don McNea Fire School's seminars, entry-level and promotional products have prepared over 40,000 applicants in their pursuit of becoming a firefighter or an officer.'s entry-level newsletter is about YOU BEING THE BEST THE BEST PREPARED AND BEST INFORMED!  This periodic newsletter will concentrate on the complete firefighter and officer examination testing process.  We suggest that you start a notebook or 3-ring binder of our newsletters so that you can periodically review them in your examination preparation.

If you would like to review our past newsletters, go to and click on "Past Newsletters." 

Entry-Level Applicants:  By receiving this newsletter, you will also have access AT NO CHARGE - to our notices of firefighter examinations being held across the country.  We will also enroll you in our weekly drawing for a free copy of our Encyclopedia of Firefighter Examinations and Psychological Exam Preparation Audiotape or CD and Workbook.

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Please forward or recommend this Fire Prep newsletter to anyone you know who wants to obtain that competitive edge!



    1. Test-taking Tactics Evaluating Answer Choices I

    2. Promotional Guide to Higher Scores and Test-Taking Strategies I

    3. Fire Prep Topics of Interest Psychological Testing

    4. Firefighter Selection Inc. (FSI)  

    5. Los Angeles Examination

    6. Akron, Ohio, Examination

    7. NEW!!  Free Firefighter Examination Announcements

    8. COMING SOON!!  EMT and Paramedic Exam Questions

    9. Testimonials

    10. Entry-Level Products including NEW Ultimate Firefighter Examination Package!

    11. Fire Promotional Prep Products

    12. Valuable Web Site for Candidates


1. Test-taking Tactics Evaluating Answer Choices I

Answer on the basis of the information given in the question.  When answering test questions, you must base your answer solely on the information contained in the test question.  The test for a Firefighter requires no previous knowledge of the job.  The test questions do not have to reflect the way the job is really done or the actual procedures of the Fire Department.

Problems arise when a person who is familiar with procedures of the fire department encounters a test question based on something which contradicts actual practices.  It is in this kind of situation which you must ignore actual practices and answer on the basis of what the test question says.  For example, you might know that kitchen stove fires are usually extinguished with a portable fire extinguisher; but a test question might describe a stove fire being put out with a fire hose attached to a hydrant.  In this kind of test situation, never mind the actual practice; go by the information in the question.

Tell yourself the answer to a question before you look at the answer choices.  Sometimes the question is too vague for you to anticipate the answer ahead of time.  But often the question stem is a question precise enough for you to answer it before you look at the answer choices.  For instance, suppose you had studied the diagram of an apartment and then the question asked, "The most direct route from the dining room to the fire escape is...."  You should be able to answer this kind of question in your head before you look at the four answer choices.  If you answer the question in your head before you look at any of the four answer choices, you are more likely to get the right answer.

Remember that part of the test maker's job is to provide three false answers for every correct one.  It is a multiple choice test, not a true/false test.  A skillful test maker will offer you some false choices which seem pretty good in order to distract you from the correct answer.  Among test makers these false choices are called "distractors."  But if you have already decided what answer you should be looking for, you will not be distracted so easily by bad answers which might look pretty good and which come before the correct answer.  A seductive (A) and a half-true (B) will not prevent you from reaching a correct answer (C) if you know what you are looking for.

Sort answers into three categories.  As soon as you read a particular answer choice, decide if it is True, False, or Uncertain.  If you are quite sure that an answer choice is True, use your pencil to write a "T" in front of that answer choice.  But continue to read the other answer choices because you might find another True one and then have to make a final choice.

If you are quite sure that an answer choice is False, use your pencil to write an "F" in front of that answer choice.  You may find that an answer is False even before you have finished reading the whole answer.  Stop reading it as soon as you are sure it is false and mark with an "F".

If you are Uncertain about whether a particular answer choice is correct, use your pencil to put a question mark (?) in front of that answer choice.

When you have finished reading all four answer choices, each one should be preceded by a "T" or an "F" or a question mark (?).  If there is only one with a "T", that is probably your answer.  If you have more than one with a "T", or a "T" and a question mark, you may need to think a bit before choosing your final answer.  But you should not have to bother any more with answers you have already given an "F".

For additional examination test-taking strategies, click below:

2. Promotional Guide to Higher Scores and Test-Taking Strategies I

Focus Your Attention on Attaining Your Promotion

Everybody in his or her life, whether it is personal or athletic, has always wanted something extremely bad.  You know the desire, the want, and the focus that you had when you wanted to attain this goal.  You must have that same attitude when preparing for the promotional examination.  You have to devote your time and your effort and it will require much personal sacrifice to attain this goal.  During this time, many personal sacrifices will have to be made.  These sacrifices include your social and family life.  Remember that not only will you receive an immediate raise in salary, which will last the rest of your career, but it will also determine the pension that you retire with.

Study Worksheet

Many of you at some time in your life have put together a workout schedule for athletic activities.  Included in this schedule were times when you were going to work out, what you would be doing and what your goals were.   You should put together a similar study worksheet to help you in attaining your goal.  Listed below are study strategies that can be used for the examination.

    1. Time Management

    You should set aside a specific time and place to study each day.  If your goal is to study 8 to 10 hours a day, you should begin by studying 2 to 3 hours a day for a few days.  It is just like an athletic workout, if your goal is to run 15 miles, you do not run 15 miles the first day.  You gradually build up to it.  It takes a lot of mental preparation and discipline to be able to sit in one place over an 8 to 10 hour period.  Gradually, as you build up your study time, your retention of the material will also increase. 

    2. Eliminate Distractions

    You should try to eliminate, as completely as possible, distractions from your study environment. These distractions compete for your attention and effect your attitude and memory of the material that you are trying to emphasize. You should also select an area with the least amount of distractions.  Your study area could be a bedroom with a desk, the basement of your home, the attic, or anywhere else where you can devote your absolute attention to the task at hand.  Proper lighting is important along with a comfortable chair and desk.  Be sure that when you are studying, everyone else in your family knows that you are not to be interrupted.

    Everybody has a different time of the day when he or she has extremely good retention capabilities.  This time could be from 6:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon, or from 1:00 P.M. until 6:00 P.M., or from 9:00 P.M. until 3:00 A.M.  Only you know that.  As you begin to study, find out which time of the day is best for you, where you have absolute retention of the material that you are studying.  It is highly recommended that you take a break every hour, whether it be for 5 to 10 minutes just to get up, walk around, get a breath of fresh air, get something to drink, and then go back to studying.  For some people, these breaks might only be needed after 2 to 3 hours of studying.  Again, this is a situation where you are the best judge of when a break is needed.  Many times, an individual becomes fatigued while studying.  At this point, the material is not absorbed as easy as it is when you are well rested.  Sometimes the best thing to do is to step away from the material, get a good night's sleep, and start over the next day.  Trying to force your mind to study will only hamper the progress you are trying to make. 

    Also, remember that a sound body equals a sound mind.  You should try to maintain a regular exercise program in which you feel good about yourself.  This will put you in a better frame of mind, which in turn will enhance your studying.

In future newsletters, we will be concentrating on the promotional test-taking process, including pinpointing resource materials, reading and studying reference material, highlighting and marking, study sheets, note taking, study groups, study guides, cross-reference study books.

3. Fire Prep Topics of Interest Psychological Testing

Listed below are additional personality characteristics of a successful firefighter.  These are very important inasmuch as these characteristics are what psychological exams are looking for in a good fire candidate.

  • has a positive attitude and believes that a successful outcome will occur in emergency situations
  • has strong values and ethics
  • good organizational skills
  • dependable being on time and being there when needed
  • able to speak clearly and audibly
  • ability to follow oral directions
  • ability to follow written directions
  • is able to handle stress and stay calm in emergency situations
  • works with little or no supervision
  • is able to take charge when the situation demands it
  • under emergency conditions, can handle critical decision-making
  • under emergency conditions is able to perform both repetitive and complex tasks with little or no supervision
  • is able to treat the severely injured and sick
  • is able to accomplish duties in tight time frames
  • does high quality work and makes suggestions to improve how things are done
  • realizes that safety is a top priority
  • has the sincere desire to serve the community and help people
  • willing to accept people as they are without regard to race, creed, or sex
  • can render emergency care to anyone regardless of who they are, where they are and what their beliefs are
  • understands that there are cultural differences and does not stereotype individuals
  • able to treat all people with dignity and respect

Additional personality characteristics can be found in Fire Prep Newsletter No. 3.

In future newsletters, we will concentrate on psychological questions which are now becoming commonplace in firefighter examinations across the country.

For additional information concerning psychological exam prep, click below:

4. Firefighter Selection Inc. (FSI)  

Firefighter Selection, Inc. (FSI) is a testing company used throughout the country.  Below we have listed some practice examination questions that we have developed from the study guide that you received in preparation for this type of examination.  Don McNea Fire School also has a 500-question practice examination workbook available on our web site.

    1. Static electricity can be generated by:

(General Fireground Operations, pg 115)

      A) contact and separation of two unlike substances regardless of friction

      B) liquids flowing through pipes

      C) liquids that are broken up from a solid stream into water droplets

      D) all of the above

      E) A and B only

    2. Which of the following prevents damage to a pump by not allowing the engine RPM to vary:

(Hose and Ladders, pg 33)

    A) engine speed monitor

    B) engine speed governor

    C) engine clamp

    D) engine speed valve

    3. At a single-family dwelling fire, firefighters have placed a hole in the roof for ventilation purposes.  Which of the following is the correct procedure when firefighters have discovered an attic fire in progress:

(Ventilation/Overhaul/Salvage, pg 64)

    A) cut a second hole in the roof on the windward side near the eaves

    B) cut a second hole in the roof on the leeward side near the eaves

    C) make the original hole in the roof larger to increase ventilation

D) cut a second hole in the roof on the windward side near the peak of the roof

Please see end of newsletter for answers.

5. Los Angeles Fire Department Examination

  • The next entry-level examination for the Los Angeles Fire Department will be given August 23-24, 2003, at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  To participate in this written exam, you must have official notification card already on file with the city's personnel department since the last written exam or submit a new card no later than June 27, 2003.  For additional information, go to
  • In the next 30 days, Don McNea Fire School will inform you of our preparatory package for this examination.

6. Akron, Ohio, Examination

The City of Akron, Ohio, will be conducting a firefighter examination.  Applications may be obtained from 1/14/03 to 4/11/03.  For minimal qualifications, examination requirements, and registration information, go to  Don McNea Fire School will be conducting preparatory classes for the Akron Firefighter Examination. 

7. NEW!!  Free Firefighter Examination Announcements

Each week, Don McNea Fire School will be posting on our website firefighter examination announcements being held across the country.  These exam announcements come to you AT NO CHARGE!  Remember, the more examinations you take and the more experience you have in the testing process will dramatically increase your chances of getting that coveted badge.  Luck goes to the prepared!

Click here to see the latest postings:

8. COMING SOON!!  EMT and Paramedic Exam Questions

In the near future, Don McNea Fire School will be posting questions to help you pass your Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) examination and your paramedic examination.  Each month, we will be adding questions to our database to help increase your chances of becoming an EMT and Paramedic.

9. Testimonials:

  • "Hey there, my name is Mike C. and I bought your 500 question guide to the FSI written exam, and I wanted to thank you so much. It helped me out so much and it was well worth my $25. I took this recent test at DuPont and scored a 96.8%, compared to my previous test score of 88% with the city of Tacoma here in Washington. Just wanted to thank you guys very much."
  • I recently purchased your Encyclopedia of Firefighter Examinations for an upcoming exam I was taking. My roommate was also taking the exam but didn't purchase your book or do any preparation before the exam. I scored in the top 5% with a score of 96% - my roommate scored only an 82%. I am now into the next phase of the examination process and wouldn't have made it this far without your book."  Jack from New York.

10. Entry-Level Preparation Products

11. Fire Promotional Preparation Products

Lieutenant and Captain In-basket Preparation Each of these examinations include two, 50-question practice examinations, each over 80 pages in length, with in-depth explanations for each question and corresponding behavior dimensions.  Also included in this package are:  Elements of an In-basket, Behavior Dimensions, and our Top-Scoring Performance Strategies that have been proven extremely successful.  Log on to order these products!

12. Valuable Web Sites for Candidates

Learn how entry level and promotional candidates are improving their interview scores up to 15 points and nailing that badge!

Click here:

Fire "Captain Bob"

For free firefighter exam information and up-to-date information on entry-level testing and hiring, go to

FSI ANSWER KEY:  1) D, 2) B, 3) A

Have you recently been hired by a department?  Do you have any questions?  Email us at 

We hope this newsletter and upcoming editions will assist you in obtaining the best job in the world a firefighter.  We wish you the best of luck!

Don McNea Fire School



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