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UK’s Fire Service Situational Judgement Tests (SJT) Online Preparation – 2024

Aptitude Written Exams

Part of the process of becoming a firefighter is to complete psychometric assessments. While the process may vary slightly due to each fire department’s preferences, there are a few common tests. One is the Situational Judgement Test, also called the Situational Awareness and Problem Solving test.


What Is the UK’s Fire Service Situational Judgement Test?

Firefighters need to be able to make good decisions in stressful situations. The Situational Judgement Test (SJT) is designed to measure your decision-making abilities.

Part of the process of applying for any fire service job in the UK is determining your PQAs, or Personal Qualities and Attributes. There are several specific PQAs the fire service considers important for success as a firefighter. They include the following:

  • Commitment to diversity and integrity
  • Commitment to development
  • Commitment to excellence
  • Effective communication
  • Working with others
  • Confidence and resilience
  • Situational awareness

The questions on the SJT assess whether you can make decisions that align with the desired PQAs.

The format of the test varies as there are different companies that offer SJTs. Usually the questions are multiple choice and based on different scenarios. You may need to select the most effective response to the scenario, rate the answers from most to least effective, or identify the most and least effective choices. For each question there are typically four answer options.

Most SJTs you’ll encounter use scenarios that are based on real-life firefighting situations. They might describe fire emergencies, accidents, or interactions with colleagues or the public. However, some fire services use standardized SJTs that are not specific to firefighting jobs. These tests use more general scenarios that relate to working with coworkers, management, and clients. The goal is the same: to measure your decision-making abilities.


How to Prepare for UK’s Fire Service Situational Judgement Test?

Practice tests are one of the most helpful ways to prepare for the SJT. A good practice test will help you know what kinds of questions to expect and understand the test format. If your practice test asks that you identify the single most correct answer out of four, try mentally ranking all of the answers from most to least correct. This will be good practice in case your actual test asks you to rank all four answers. It may be helpful to try several practice tests with slightly different formats.

Spend some time ahead of the test making sure you understand what the questions are asking. Out of the four possible answers, there are often two that seem appropriate. Keep in mind that the goal is to identify the most effective response. Some tests ask you to rank all four options using the following scale: counter-productive; ineffective; fairly effective; and effective. You can usually tell fairly quickly which are the better two options and which are the worse two, but narrowing them down from there can be trickier. Note that the counter-productive option will actually make the situation worse. The effective option will resolve the situation, while the fairly effective option is not detrimental, but will only be of some help. The ineffective option won’t make the situation worse, but also won’t improve it.

Studying the PQAs is a good way to ensure you know what kind of response is appropriate in various situations. Keep them in mind while you consider the different scenarios on your practice test and when you take the actual test.

The ability to make the right decision in an emergency is crucial to your success as a firefighter. By properly preparing for the SJT, you’ll give yourself the best chance to demonstrate your decision-making skills and move to the next step of the hiring process.