CPS Testing – How To Ace The Oral Passage

CPS Testing – How To Ace The Oral Passage

Having trouble passing fire department CPS tests?
More specifically; is the Oral Passage section holding you back from scoring high?

Not to fret.

Below I’ve listed 5 key points that candidates can follow in order to pass the oral passage section.

CPS testing has been widely used by departments across Canada for years. It has however faded of recent in Ontario due to the OFAI testing departments now use.

With that being said, there are still lots of departments that use the CPS testing as their main testing format to sort through candidates in recruitments.

Unfortunately the internet doesn’t provide many resources to learn more about CPS Testing. However if you are planning to write in the near future and need guidance, than check out my firefighter mentoring page here where I’ll sit down with you and guide you on how to pass.

For those of you who are familiar with CPS Testing and have written before, or are going to be writing in the near future; this post if for you.



1. Practice With A Partner


This is where having a study partner helps out big time!
When studying, I would have my partner create an oral passage with 20 questions. I then had him read it out load and pass me the questions when he finished.

This helped me get used to the testing format and how to retain certain information form the passage. Doing it over and over will help you develop tricks overtime.

A great book that helped me get things started was Barron’s Firefighter Candidate Exams. It has practice oral passages with questions to go through. Keep in mind that the actual oral passages in the CPS tests are tougher than the one’s in the book, but it’s a good way to get your feet wet.

Here’s a link to purchase it off of amazon: Barron’s.



2. Improve Your Short-Term Memory.


When I had an upcoming test, I would always consciously work my short-term memory as much as I could.

You may be wondering how that’s even possible…

Let me explain.

Throughout the day I would make an effort to memorize certain things that I came across. Some examples may be reading license plates and testing myself minutes later to see if I remembered the plate number, memorizing street names on a map, anything that I can come across!

The idea is to get yourself in the zone and start working your mind weeks prior to your test date.



3. Paint A Picture In Your Head


On test day when the passage is being read out, sit at your desk with your head down, eyes closed, and insert yourself into the story being read. The oral passage will have a general story behind it. It’s not just a bunch of random numbers and names thrown at you.

The best thing you can do is imagine yourself in the passage as it will be easier for you to remember certain things when it comes time to answer the questions.

Having your head down and eyes closed will help you concentrate and block out everything else in the room. Who cares what you look like, nobody will be paying attention to you.



4. Take Note Of Certain Information In Passage.


When retaining all the information you can in the passage, it’s important to focus on certain points in the passage.

Focus on memorizing street names, classroom numbers, number of people, colour of clothing, locations, time, etc.

Most of the questions will be relating to the points above.



5. Incorporate Daily Health Practices.


I was always cognizant of maintaining a healthy mind and body, and still am to this day.

The truth is, if you treat your body like garbage, it won’t perform at it’s best. That’s why it’s important to implement daily health practicies to your life to ensure your mind and body are performing at it’s best.

I would always load up on fish oil weeks before my testing (and continue throughout the year) as fish oil has been shown to help improve brain function and memory.

There’s several habits I have implimented in my daily life that ensure I perform my best day in day out.

Here’s a link to an article that lists several things you can do today to start improving your memory. Of course, some of these may seem strange to you and you may not beleive some of theses strategies even work.

I hoever found that regardless if certain health tactics work for me or not, the power of placibo is strong enough to improve my performance.



So there you have it! I hope these 6 tips help you pass the dreaded oral passage and I wish all of you the best of luck.

As always, comment below or send me some feedback on whether or not this helped!

CPS Testing – How To Ace The Math Section

CPS Testing – How To Ace The Math Section

Are you planning on writing a CPS test? Has it been awhile since you’ve used your math skills?
CPS Tests can be overwhelming to write, especially if you’re not proficient in math.

The CPS test contains 5 sections: Oral Passage, Reading, Math, Mechanical Aptitude, and Human Relations.

Today were going to be focussing on the math component. If you’re anything like me when starting, you may be worried about the math component to the test. I’ve written this article to give you a clear plan on how to go about brushing up on your math skills. I promise you if you follow each step, over time you’ll become a math whiz and burn through the questions when you go to write the test.

So let’s get to it!



1. Brush up on your basic math skills (division, multiplication, fractions, algebra, etc.) 

When I first started writing tests I made the mistake of thinking I would ‘crush’ the math section.
Oh was I wrong.
The math isn’t overly difficult, but if you’ve been out of high school/haven’t had to use your math skills for some time than you’ll be surprised how much you forget!

The first thing you need to do is purchase “Barron’s E-Z Math” book. It’s not overly expensive and it’s a great investment for $20. I went through the whole book and felt way more confident with my math skills by the end of it and it helped me big time for the tests.

It’ll help you brush up on the basic high school math (division, algebra, multiplication, fractions, decimals, etc.).

By no means am I getting any compensation for referring you to this book, it’s simply a resource I used when testing.
Here’s the link: Barron’s E-Z Math


2. Memorize The Multiplication Table. 

One difficult element to the CPS test is the time restriction they impliment. Candidates only have a certain amount of time to write the test which makes answering math questions harder. There’s been many times where I’ve had to quickly fill in the last 10 or so questions quickly because I’ve run out of time.

Don’t let this happen to you.

You can shave off A LOT of time by memorizing the multiplication table.
Oh yeah, in case you didn’t know, calculators are prohibited! Not to fret though, as all the questions are do-able using a pencil and paper.

It’s imperative you memorize the table because about 2/3 of the questions will involve multiplication one way or no another.

Here’s a link to  a table I used: Multiplcation Table


3. Learn how to answer ‘Distance, Rate, Time’ questions.


I’ve come across lots of D=RT questions throughout the years so it’s important you know how to do them. Luckily, they’re pretty straight forward to answer once you become familiar with the formula.

I used to print off a bunch of word problem examples from google and asnwer 10 of them a night up until my test (or until I became sick of doing them).

Here’s a link to a site that explains how to answer these questions: Distance, Rate, Time


4. Practice, Practice, PRACTICE!

If you’ve read any of my earlier blogs you’ll know that I preach a lot on practicing skills until you’re sick of it.

Same thing goes for math.

It’s really easy to get rusty on asnwering math questions from test to test so it’s important to keep on top of your game in between writing CPS tests.

Also, writing tests is one of the best ways to get better. Even if it’s for a department you don’t care to work for, I would suggest going out and writing to get more experience. I personally got better each time I wrote.


5. Record every question you can remember after you write the test.


PLEASE if anything remember this point!

Testing can be exhausting. If you’re writing the CPS test there’s a good chance you’re writing the OS test on the same day. That makes for a loonnggg day. The last thing you want to do is stick around at the testing facility and prolong your trip back home.

However, it’s super important you record everything you can remember from the test while it’s still fresh in your head.

What I used to do was I would go back to my truck and just write down as much as possible on my phone, then when I got back home I would type it all out on my laptop so that I would have it for the future.

Trust me, you’ll thank yourself in the future when you go to study for the next test!




So there you have it!

I hope this serves you as a great starting point to get familiar with the mathmatical side to CPS testing and how to hone your skills.

Goodluck and start crunching those numbers!


Writing Aptitude Tests – 5 Tips

Writing Aptitude Tests – 5 Tips

Aptitude testing is one of the first stages you’ll go through in firefighter recruitments.

Although every testing service has its own written test, these 5 tips apply to any of the tests you will write.

  1. Practice, practice, practice!

This sounds like a no brainer but in order to get better at writing tests, you have to write them!

When I first started out, I was always picking and choosing which departments I wanted to write for because I didn’t want to spend money on a department that wasn’t necessarily at the top of my list of departments to work for. This was a huge mistake because I wasn’t getting the experience I needed. After about a year of writing, I wasn’t really getting anywhere, until one of my buddies who works for Toronto fire had told me I need to just write as many tests as I can.

I took his advice and low and behold I actually started improving each test I wrote, which eventually landed me my first interview.

Unfortunately it’s a pricey commitment to writing so many tests but it needs to be done.


2. Write down everything you can remember (after taking the test).

One thing I always neglected to do was to record every question I remembered from the test.

When traveling a long distance for some of these tests and committing yourself to a long drawn out day, the last thing you want to do is spend more time in your car and write down everything after the test.

The thing is, the more you write down the better you’ll serve yourself for the future when you go to write your next test. Eventually, after writing so many tests, you’ll start seeing questions you’ve come across before and you’ll remember the answers. It also helps with any questions you had trouble with so that you’re able to figure out the right answer before coming across that question again on another test.

For example, if there was a certain math question involving a “distance, rate, time” equation and you weren’t sure how to solve it, now you can go back to your car and write down that you had troubles with that type of equation so that you can study up on it for the next test.


3. Arrive early and look over your notes.


Not only will arriving early to the testing facility ease your mind and assure you’re there on time, it’ll allow you to go over your notes before heading in to write.

Studies have show that looking over your notes just before testing will improve your chances of scoring higher. The material will be fresh in your head before writing and you’ll feel more confident.


4. Sit at the front of the room.


This tip applies more towards the big departments that have hundreds of candidates write at the same time.

It’s crucial that you’re able to hear the proctor read out the oral passage at the start of the test. It’s happened a few times where the microphone wasn’t working and they had to read out the oral passage without the mic and it can be hard to hear.

So basically the people in the back were screwed and most likely didn’t hear all of what the proctor had to say.

So when you go to write. Do your best to sit at the front of the room.


5. Choose your attire wisely.


I remember when writing my first couple of tests I felt intimidated by the amount of people wearing their volunteer fire shirts or pre service shirts. But as time went on, I realized how stupid it really is to be wearing those shirts. I still can’t comprehend why candidates feel the need to show off what department they volunteer out of, or what school they went to, but I can guarantee you many of the testing departments firefighters look at that in a negative way. So PLEASE don’t be that guy/girl.

To the other extreme, don’t wear a full suit. You’ll always see one or two guys wearing full suits and I just personally think that’s too extreme. I suggest going dress casual, you can’t go wrong.

So there you have it!

These 5 tips are things I’ve picked up along the way after writing numerous tests. I implemented all 5 tips into the way I go about taking tests and I saw a drastic improvement with my overall scores so I hope this will help you too!

Cheers and best of luck.