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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." 

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!

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    1. Test-taking Tactics – Evaluating Answer Choices II

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

    3. Fire Prep Topics of Interest – Psychological Testing

    4. Firefighter Selection Inc. (FSI)  

    5. Los Angeles Examination

    6. Akron, Ohio, Examination

    7. Free Firefighter Examination Announcements

    8. NEW!  EMT/Paramedic Questions

    9. Testimonials

    10. Entry-Level Products

    11. Fire Promotional Prep Products

    12. NEW!  Special of the Month!

    13. Capt. Bob's Oral Interview Strategies

    14. Valuable Web Site for Candidates

1. Test-taking Tactics – Evaluating Answer Choices II

Negative Questions:  Using "T" and "F" to evaluate answer choices is better than using something like a check mark to denote a correct answer when it comes to answering negative questions.  Negative questions are questions which ask you to pick out an answer choice which is "not true."  If you are evaluating each answer choice one by one and marking each one "T" or "F", negative questions will be easy for you to handle.

Half-true Answers:  Sometimes an answer choice really contains two different statements.  For instance, an answer choice might say, "there is a bedroom on the right and the kitchen is on the left."  Maybe it is True that "there is a bedroom on the right," but False that "the kitchen is on the left."  With this kind of answer choice, put a slash mark between the two different statements, and write "T" or "F" over each separate part of the answer choice.  But out in the margin write "F" since an answer choice must be completely True to be valid.

When it is difficult to choose between two answer choices, look back at the question stem.  Sometimes there are two answer choices which both look good.  Or maybe all of the answer choices look bad.  When you find yourself having trouble making the final choice of an answer, stop staring at the answer choices.  Go back and look at the question stem and the information the question is based on.  A skillful test maker tries to make two or three of the answer choices look very good.  All the answer choices may contain some truth, which make them tempting.  Or all may look wrong.  But the test maker has to have put some detail into the "fact pattern" of the question to justify the claim that one of these answers is better than the others.  If reviewing the answer choices themselves has not helped, the clue to which answer is correct is likely to be in the question stem or "fact pattern" rather than in the answer choices.  So go back to the question stem and the fact pattern the look for the deciding factor.

Choose the best answer.  A very common problem for test takers is the problem of recognizing that the best possible answer to a question has not been included among the answer choices.  None of the answer choices seems to be fully adequate to the situation.  In part, this is often a result of the way multiple choice questions are constructed.  The exam maker does not have to include all the correct procedures in answer choices; that might make for terribly long answer choices.  Hence, some correct answers are only partial answers.  Sometimes you will be given more than one partial answer and asked to choose which is the best among these.  In this sort of situation, work at eliminating the answer choices which are definitely wrong or most seriously incomplete.  For your answer choose the best one remaining after this kind of elimination process.

For additional examination test-taking strategies, click below:

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

Pinpoint Resource Materials

It is extremely important that you have your own copies of the materials for the examination.  We strongly suggest that you do not split the cost of the reference materials with another individual.  This would mean that you will only have half of the reference materials at any given time. There will be a point at which you want to go on to study another reference material, and you will not have it close at hand.  If you are serious about attaining your goal, you should have your own resource materials, used by you only. 

Look over the resource materials for the examination to get a general idea of the content and organization of the materials before putting together your studying strategies.  Begin by scanning the resource materials from beginning to end.  By scanning over the chapters in the book, this will give you a general idea of what you will be studying. In most reference material, scanning is made much easier through the use of chapter headings.  Look over the major headings and also the smaller headings that describe important paragraphs in each chapter.  Also take a look and see if the chapters contain summaries.  By looking over these chapter summaries, you can get a quick overview of the important parts and reference points contained in the chapter.  After you are done scanning the resource materials, you will come away with an idea of how long it will take to go through the book from start to finish.  You should set a goal to study between 60 and 100 pages per day.  When looking over the reference material, identify chapters that are job related.  Examiners in this day in age are required to do a job analysis for the position.  This job analysis will give the tester an idea of the most important elements required for the job.  When you look over the reference materials and you see areas that are covered in your day-to-day job duties, these areas should be emphasized in 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

Twenty years ago, firefighter examinations were strictly skill tests to measure ability such as reading comprehension, mathematics, map reading, mechanical, etc.  These abilities will only predict what an employee is capable of doing on a job.  It is the "can do" component of the test; equally important, however, is the "will do" component.  Personality tests, interest inventories and attitude assessments are examples of written instruments that are used to determine what a person would do on the job.  By combining measures of skill and ability with measures of personality and motivation, the best fire candidate can be selected.  if you have the characteristics of a successful firefighter.  We are continually seeing candidates who are not sure why they are scoring poorly on these examinations – the reason is that they don't understand the psychological and personality characteristics these tests are looking for.

The psychological program we have developed is dramatically improving candidates' scores on these examinations across the country.

The following is a testimonial we recently received by email:

"I ordered your CD for the psychological testing for my son, Chris Daly, as a Christmas gift.  After the written, physical and oral testing, he ranked #36 out of 250 applicants for the Springfield, Illinois, Fire Department.  The top 44 were called for psychological testing and a background check.

The city hired 21 to start training May 5.  I am delighted to tell you my son is one of them.  He will go through 14 weeks of training and looks forward to graduation in August.

He started this process in October of 2001 and is glad he stuck with the entire testing.  Even though the city only lets the applicants know if they passed or failed the psychological test, I am sure your CD helped.

I recommend your books to everyone serious about becoming a firefighter."

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. The standard length for the most common type of discharge hose is 100 feet.

(Hose and Ladders, pg 22)

      A) True

      B) False

    2. If the oxygen content of a flammable liquid falls below 16%, which of the following will occur:

(Fire Chemistry, pg 7)

    A) fire will go into a smoldering stage

    B) fire will go out

      C) will have no direct relation on the fire

    3. Which of the following is the most common method of extinguishment used by firefighters:

(Fire Chemistry, pg 14)

    A) starvation

    B) smothering

    C) cooling

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

With the Los Angeles Firefighter Examination consisting of multiple-choice questions measuring reading comprehension and mathematics and will include multiple-choice questions regarding life experiences and preferences, Don McNea Fire School has put together a preparatory package includes our Reading Comprehension and Mathematics Book (contains over 200 multiple-choice reading comprehension and over 200 multiple-choice mathematic questions with step-by-step instruction for each question) and our Psychological Exam Preparation Audiotape or CD and Workbook (addresses the key component of this testing process that between 40-60% of applicants are failing – will give you the insight into what the psychologists are looking for in successful candidates).

Although the Los Angeles Firefighter Examination appears to be delayed, remember that it is never too early to start preparing and luck goes to the prepared!

Click here to purchase the Los Angeles Preparatory Package:

6. Akron, Ohio, Examination

Don McNea Fire School will be conducting preparatory classes for the Akron Firefighter Examination on Sunday, June 22nd, at the John S. Knight Convention Center, Akron, Ohio.

Click here for more details and to register for the seminar:

7. Free Firefighter Examination Announcements

Every 7-10 days, 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. NEW!!  EMT/Paramedic Questions

Don McNea Fire School has begun posting sample questions to help you pass your paramedic examination.  In the near future, Emergency Medical Technician questions will also be added.  Each month, we will add questions to this database to help increase your chances of success on these examinations.

Click below to review our EMT/Paramedic Question page:

9. Testimonials:

  • "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
  • "I am very pleased to inform you that I ranked in the top 90 band – which means I should be one of the first people hired.  My total score was 97 – this was without receiving my veteran's preference points.  This exam process started with around 3,300 applicants.  I am so very thankful for your services that helped me to place in the 1% of this examination.  Keep up your fine work."
  • Ryan Blake

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. NEW!  Special of the Month!

For the month of June, Don McNea Fire School is offering a discounted rate on the following preparatory package:

  • Encyclopedia of Firefighter Examinations – regular price $29.95 + s/h
  • Capt. Bob's Conquer the Job Interview CD and Video $49.95 + s/h
  • The Firefighter's Workout Book by Michael Stefano $16.95 + s/h

Total of $96.85 worth of entry-level preparation products for a discounted price of only $69.95 + $8.95 (priority mail shipping).  To order, click here:

13. Capt. Bob's Oral Interview Strategies

Fire "Captain Bob" Smith has coached countless entry-level and promotional candidates to get their badge. Over 2,000 candidates have received their badges from this program. He is a retired, 28-year veteran firefighter from Hayward, Calif. Captain Bob recognized expert on job interviews, speaker author of the audio/video program "Conquer the Job Interview" and the books "Eat Stress For Breakfast" and "Fire Up Your Communication Skills" which have been translated in 21 countries including South Korea, Latin America and China.    He is a member of the prestigious National Speakers Association.

Click here to review important oral interview strategies from Capt. Bob Smith:

14. 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) B, 2) B, 3) C

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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