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    Default Worst Part of CPAT

    Probies & Veterns,

    What was the toughest part of the CPAT and what advice would you give to people in a department process?

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    Quote Originally Posted by joraco8486 View Post
    Probies & Veterns,

    What was the toughest part of the CPAT and what advice would you give to people in a department process?
    CPAT isn't hard. It's a front loaded test so getting past the stairstepper is the hardest part for most people. I trained by putting 75 lbs on a squat bar and stepping up and down on a Step Aerobics stair. Basically, strengthen your legs because you'll be working them the entire course. Also, work on your cardio.

    When you schedule your CPAT, TAKE THE TIME TO DO THE ORIENTATION! If you've never done it before, that time will really help you when it comes time to test for real. There's no point failing on something silly and mundane because you weren't well prepared and didn't know the rules of the course. Also, in the orientation, you'll have an opportunity to run the course to get a feel for it.

    Lastly, remember, it's PASS/FAIL...yes it's timed but you're time means absolutely jack as long as you finish within the allotted timeframe.

    Best of luck to you...be happy you don't have to test by running the Combat Challenge. In my own opinion having run both the CPAT and FFCC....the FFCC is far more challenging!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kidCLEVER38 View Post
    CPAT isn't hard.
    Best of luck to you...be happy you don't have to test by running the Combat Challenge. In my own opinion having run both the CPAT and FFCC....the FFCC is far more challenging!
    Be happy? You should be upset that you're not doing a physical agility that isn't challenging!
    You either have to be a sorry sack of s**t or trying to fail the CPAT to do so!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffbam24 View Post
    You either have to be a sorry sack of s**t or trying to fail the CPAT to do so!
    Must be a lot of people not trying, since we average a 50% to 60% failure rate on CPAT.
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    And that's the sad state of physical fitness that is pushed these days. Do the bare minimum to get by.
    No one should be failing this.

    (I actually took it and passed it once while sick with the flu.)

    OP: The most challenging part is making it through the stairstepper and then banging out the rest.
    It all comes down to pacing yourself and technique. Control your breathing and you're good.
    Last edited by ffbam24; 07-09-2011 at 01:52 AM.

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    Yeah definitely don't underestimate the stair stepper. Doesn't sound like much but it definitely gets your legs going and then you go right into the hose drag so your legs are really going the whole time, as pointed out. But it's really not that bad, just pace yourself and as ffbam24 said..control your breathing. Makes a huge difference. And by pace yourself I don't mean crawl through it, but you do have sufficient time to complete it without having to be going a thousand miles an hour the whole time. As suggested, the orientation is definitely, definitely worth your while if it's your first time doing it. If you do that and get a feel for everything you won't have a problem passing, it's really not that bad of a test just maybe a little intimidating if you're doing it for the first time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joraco8486 View Post
    Probies & Veterns,

    What was the toughest part of the CPAT and what advice would you give to people in a department process?
    There isn't one...if you can't pass this politically correct joke of a physical exam...go find another line of work.

    Not everyone was made to be a fireman.

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    I agree with ffbam, BoxAlarm, and FFFRED.

    Bottom line, prepare for the CPAT by conditioning yourself like you're training to do the job. You'll be wearing 60+ lbs of gear and also carrying tools, possibly up many flights of stairs in a rapid fashion. You need to be able to hang when it's humid and 90+ degrees and you're fully dressed. You need to be able to throw heavy ladders by yourself. You may need to carry victims or other FF's out of the building. You need to be able to hump hose up the stairs, around corners, etc. You need the metabolic conditioning of a wrestler or MMA competitor. If you get gassed, you should be able to recover in a few breaths and keep moving. It's harder when you're on air. Get one of those high altitude training masks, use it's blackout feature, and do vigorous cardio with weights, because that's what it's like:

    http://www.trainingmask.com/

    If you're claustrophobic, the mask will expose that.

    Train for those conditions, and then do the CPAT. If you find the test difficult in the least, then either you're not cut out for the job, or you don't take the conditioning aspect of the job at all seriously. Either way, you probably don't belong, since the actual job is much more difficult than the CPAT. Being a female is no excuse; this female is under 150# and is stronger than me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmDAW...eature=related

    That's 260#, 15 more than I can do, and I outweigh her by probably 90#. Train properly for the job.
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those willing to work and give to those who are not." Thomas Jefferson

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffbam24 View Post
    And that's the sad state of physical fitness that is pushed these days. Do the bare minimum to get by.
    No one should be failing this.

    (I actually took it and passed it once while sick with the flu.)

    OP: The most challenging part is making it through the stairstepper and then banging out the rest.
    It all comes down to pacing yourself and technique. Control your breathing and you're good.
    Bam says it all.
    If ya struggle with CPAT, you will not be successful in any Academy.
    The CPAT is not an accurate assessment of what is required physically to perform on the drill ground.

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    I've seen applicants freak out when they see the CPAT or the Physical Agility test site and the lay out for such.

    The sled, ladder raise, hose drag and dummy drag, either one scares the heck out of them and intimidates them as well.

    Before the "CPAT" we had our own test and one was the hoisting of a coiled 50 ft section of 2-1/2" hose line from the ground to the 5th floor (window) landing of the drill tower, in the quickest time you could manage. Some never got the hose to the 2nd or 3rd floor much less to the target of the 5th floor. This part scared the heck out of them and of course was an eliminator part of the test as well as any other part was.


    If you can't pass this simple goal then you aren't going to pass the actual basic firefighter course, which has more of the physical activities than the entrance part.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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    Worst part is the small steps on the stair climber. Very easy test if you are in kind of shape. It was sad to watch person after person fail. They also give you several chances to pass.
    FF/Paramedic

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    Quote Originally Posted by edpmedic View Post
    I agree with ffbam, BoxAlarm, and FFFRED.

    Bottom line, prepare for the CPAT by conditioning yourself like you're training to do the job. You'll be wearing 60+ lbs of gear and also carrying tools, possibly up many flights of stairs in a rapid fashion. You need to be able to hang when it's humid and 90+ degrees and you're fully dressed. You need to be able to throw heavy ladders by yourself. You may need to carry victims or other FF's out of the building. You need to be able to hump hose up the stairs, around corners, etc. You need the metabolic conditioning of a wrestler or MMA competitor. If you get gassed, you should be able to recover in a few breaths and keep moving. It's harder when you're on air. Get one of those high altitude training masks, use it's blackout feature, and do vigorous cardio with weights, because that's what it's like:

    http://www.trainingmask.com/

    If you're claustrophobic, the mask will expose that.

    Train for those conditions, and then do the CPAT. If you find the test difficult in the least, then either you're not cut out for the job, or you don't take the conditioning aspect of the job at all seriously. Either way, you probably don't belong, since the actual job is much more difficult than the CPAT. Being a female is no excuse; this female is under 150# and is stronger than me:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmDAW...eature=related

    That's 260#, 15 more than I can do, and I outweigh her by probably 90#. Train properly for the job.
    Do you own a training mask? Looks like a useful tool; I wonder if wearing an SCBA mask during workouts would perform the same function.

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    I'm curious about this elevation training mask... seems like a great idea. Wonder how it compares to a regular SCBA mask. I would think if you have an SCBA mask you could fashion something similar...

    In regards to the CPAT. If you're worried, you're under trained. Get a back pack and put weights in it. You can simulate the entire course if you have some basic weights, a backpack, and access to stairs.

    If you can get off the stair climber with the ability to run more than 20 ft, you'll be just fine. Remember, it is pass/fail... but the person who dominates the course will always be remembered.


    In regards to the CPAT being weak, it's much harder than a few other PT tests I've taken. Not many can pass the CPAT, so some departments create their own PT...it's sad....very, very sad. I wouldn't want to depend on someone to drag me out of a building who can't pass a simple CPAT. Period

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    Quote Originally Posted by BennyT373 View Post
    Remember, it is pass/fail... but the person who dominates the course will always be remembered.
    Out of curiosity, do they record your times or are you just saying in general someone who does exceptionally well on the course is likely to be recognized by those giving the test?

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    Quote Originally Posted by iamjesse View Post
    Out of curiosity, do they record your times or are you just saying in general someone who does exceptionally well on the course is likely to be recognized by those giving the test?
    I have always seen my times recorded... When you see a brute running a course, you can see all by standers in awe... Any good impression you can make is a plus.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BennyT373 View Post
    I have always seen my times recorded... When you see a brute running a course, you can see all by standers in awe... Any good impression you can make is a plus.
    You're probably right for some places. We do three to four 8-hour consecutive days of CPAT, so everyone kinds of runs together for us after a while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    You're probably right for some places. We do three to four 8-hour consecutive days of CPAT, so everyone kinds of runs together for us after a while.
    About the way in this department and others around them, for you to stick out, would be you have a set of red/orange horns protruding from you head and they are flashing a bright color. Otherwise as Box said, everyone looks about the same after one or two days.
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    Ok, well I realize that in major departments it's hard for one to stick out after testing hundreds, if not thousands. I was just trying to give him some motivation... always try to be a stand out (in a positive way, not a kiss-@$$ way). Meaning give all you got, and then some more.

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    The CPATs here are timed, yes it is pass/fail, but each time is recorded individually. Also, the hardest part seems to be the stair stepper as has been mentioned before - not only the small steps, but the RATE of climb is a killer.....try it yourself some time.....go up 3-4 flights quickly, vs. slowing your steps and concentrating on the steps themselves - this works your thighs a lot more!

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    Quote Originally Posted by edpmedic View Post
    It's harder when you're on air. Get one of those high altitude training masks, use it's blackout feature, and do vigorous cardio with weights, because that's what it's like.
    Haha, I read this and laughed but it's good advice. Out here on air you get more air than just through the mask. I think if I trained with that mask at our elevation the blackout feature would take on a whole new meaning.

    I would second the training on the stair stepper (with weight if possible) at the 60 steps per min rate. If you haven't done this it's reeeeeaaaaalllllllyyyyyy ssssslllllllooooowwww like pasobuff was saying, and it will burn out your thighs quickly if you are not prepared for it.

    I didn't have access to a stair stepper when I trained for the ones that I have taken, so I did walking lunges with weights. I also had probs finding stairs that I could train on that had 180 steps in a row. Lunges are easy to do in an open field, they simulate the muscle movement of the stair stepper, they are slow paced like the pace of the test and are a lot harder than walking up stairs IMO.

    Just a thought. Good luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BennyT373 View Post
    Ok, well I realize that in major departments it's hard for one to stick out after testing hundreds, if not thousands. I was just trying to give him some motivation... always try to be a stand out (in a positive way, not a kiss-@$$ way). Meaning give all you got, and then some more.
    Haha, thanks.

    I have been training to really destroy the exam, not just pass it... I think life is a lot more exciting when you're doing everything as well as you can as opposed to just getting by.

    I guess I was just curious if they recorded times because if when reviewing your exam results they are able to see your time, it's a hard thing to overlook even IF it's supposed to be pass/fail!

    Anyway, I'll be testing in NY (if the test ever gets under way, heh heh) and so I guess I'll be in one of those cities where the applicant pool becomes a big blur, but I hope to at least impress myself. I guess that's a goal too

    I appreciate the motivation!

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    jesse - what part of NY? I'll make sure my husband gives you 'extra special' attention!

    Just remember the stairs are where most people have the problem - unless you are a female in which case many have a problem with the mannequin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iamjesse View Post
    Haha, thanks.

    I have been training to really destroy the exam, not just pass it... I think life is a lot more exciting when you're doing everything as well as you can as opposed to just getting by.

    I guess I was just curious if they recorded times because if when reviewing your exam results they are able to see your time, it's a hard thing to overlook even IF it's supposed to be pass/fail!

    Anyway, I'll be testing in NY (if the test ever gets under way, heh heh) and so I guess I'll be in one of those cities where the applicant pool becomes a big blur, but I hope to at least impress myself. I guess that's a goal too

    I appreciate the motivation!
    I assume you mean FDNY. They're still unsure of which physical test they will be using. The folks who faught the validity of the written test are pushing for a tougher physical test so be prepared both aerobically and anaerobically.

    Still researching the mask training. My skepticism points mainly to the body's unbelievable ability to adapt to its surroundings. This might seem to work for a unathletic person but a highly-trained athlete will have no use for such training. If someone has been training hard and is in their peak physical condition, limiting air supply will actually have the reverse affects. Know your fitness level. I forget in which fitness article I read this but the average person cannot increase their VO max more than 10%. Dont risk blacking out and injury yourself. The physical fitness tests are more than easy enough to pass for the non-olympic level athlete

    I dont doubt it does have advantages in preparing your mind for the limited supply of air it will ultimately get in a O2 mask.
    Last edited by FDNYPD; 07-18-2011 at 02:12 PM.

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    so how would you suggest training for the possibly new FDNY physical. How many miles should I be running and how many times a week. I would like to leave some time in there for squats and some other weight training? thanks

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    Your guess is as good as mine. I'd say at the least be comfortable with CPAT exercises and maybe 3 miles of running at a 10 minute/mile pace.

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