1. #76
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    Has the Charlotte written exam recently featured mechanical aptitude and/or memorization? I called CFD recruiting and the person I spoke to said only that the exam will test 'general knowledge' - whatever that means. She was either unable or unwilling to provide any further specifics.

    Any input from CFD members or recent test takers would be great.

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    I heard from a Chapel Hill FF, that NC accepts Proboard fire certs as long as you have firefighter 2, and NREMT, and was wondering if thats true, because I have both and the situation in Florida is becoming very "iffy" with no job security at all, and I've been at my dept since 2006. I was also told by the same person that there are no hiring freezes going on now, and almost every dept is hiring as they normally do. I'm just wanting to know if thats true or not, because I have family in NC, and would like to be able to make that transfer if need be. And the more time goes by, the more it looks like i will need to. I'd prefer anyone responding to this, email me at jaydenloose08@Yahoo.com, but if not here is fine. thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by zarack808 View Post
    Has the Charlotte written exam recently featured mechanical aptitude and/or memorization? I called CFD recruiting and the person I spoke to said only that the exam will test 'general knowledge' - whatever that means. She was either unable or unwilling to provide any further specifics.

    Any input from CFD members or recent test takers would be great.
    The test consists of, at least when i took it 2 years ago, of memorization, mechanical aptitude, math, reading comprehension and a section where you listen to directions from an audio player and have to follow specific commands. That part is tricky, have to listen very carefully and follow the exact commands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jaydenloose08 View Post
    I heard from a Chapel Hill FF, that NC accepts Proboard fire certs as long as you have firefighter 2, and NREMT, and was wondering if thats true, because I have both and the situation in Florida is becoming very "iffy" with no job security at all, and I've been at my dept since 2006. I was also told by the same person that there are no hiring freezes going on now, and almost every dept is hiring as they normally do. I'm just wanting to know if thats true or not, because I have family in NC, and would like to be able to make that transfer if need be. And the more time goes by, the more it looks like i will need to. I'd prefer anyone responding to this, email me at jaydenloose08@Yahoo.com, but if not here is fine. thanks
    I cant speak for all of NC, but here in Charlotte certifications do not matter. You will take all 6 months of academy classes and receive the same certifications as someone with none

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    Just to make sure I have an accurate understanding for Charlotte's hiring process...

    Those of us who pass the written exam will be invited to take CPAT. Those of us who pass the CPAT will be eligible to move forward to the background investigation and panel interview. So, this begs the question: what is the criteria for being selected for processing? Are there any checks in place to guard against nepotism, cronyism, prejudice, politics, and plain arbitrary selection?

    Most other cities rank candidates based on combined scores from the written exam and CPAT. However, Charlotte simply has a pass/fail criteria without any such ranking. The folks in recruiting can simply choose whoever they want, regardless of how the candidates performed on the exams. In theory, the guy with a 71% on the written exam and a time of 10 mins on the CPAT could be selected for interview over another candidate who scored a 99% and had a time of 7 mins on the CPAT.
    Last edited by maverick80; 12-28-2011 at 11:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maverick80 View Post
    Just to make sure I have an accurate understanding for Charlotte's hiring process...

    Those of us who pass the written exam will be invited to take CPAT. Those of us who pass the CPAT will be eligible to move forward to the background investigation and panel interview. So, this begs the question: what is the criteria for being selected for processing? Are there any checks in place to guard against nepotism, cronyism, prejudice, politics, and plain arbitrary selection?

    Most other cities rank candidates based on combined scores from the written exam and CPAT. However, Charlotte simply has a pass/fail criteria without any such ranking. The folks in recruiting can simply choose whoever they want, regardless of how the candidates performed on the exams. In theory, the guy with a 71% on the written exam and a time of 10 mins on the CPAT could be selected for interview over another candidate who scored a 99% and had a time of 7 mins on the CPAT.
    It is my understanding that they look at the whole package while selecting candidates, hence why the application is so long. They want to take into account work history, life experience, fire department experience (although it is not necessary, but i think it helps)...The process goes through several checks and balances in order to ensure the top candidates are hired. Each interview and portion of the hiring process is managed by several people, who i assume both have to give their acceptance to a candidate. Do poor candidates get through the process and hired? Yes, it happens. Mistakes do occur. But overall i think the department does a good job in hiring the right people for the job.

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    From all accounts, it appears that the audio/listening and command section of the test is the trickiest. For those who've tested before, are we permitted to jot down notes during the audio portion? And if so, would you recommend taking notes or just listening without taking notes?
    Last edited by emck216; 12-29-2011 at 10:41 PM.

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    No notes. The listening portion is designed to gauge a candidate's ability to comprehend and remember verbal orders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by emck216 View Post
    From all accounts, it appears that the audio/listening and command section of the test is the trickiest. For those who've tested before, are we permitted to jot down notes during the audio portion? And if so, would you recommend taking notes or just listening without taking notes?
    Like battle said, no notes. Plus the audio moves so quickly that you wont have time to jot down notes and then answer the question. Just listen carefully and follow the orders exactly

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    Do we know if there will still be a listening section? Someone mentioned earlier in this thread that they talked with recruitment and was told they changed the test company and format.

    Quote Originally Posted by zarack808 View Post
    I'm thinking about purchasing this exam prep. Has anyone used Don McNea and willing to vouch for its effectiveness? Also, I spoke with CFD recruiting this week and the officer I spoke with said Charlotte recently switched to a different testing company from the one they've been using. Different test format altogether. I wonder if Don McNea is keyed to this updated exam format?

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    I dont know if the listening section of the test has been removed or not. I would prepare as if it were still part of the test.

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    How does everone feel that did on there test? I feel pretty good about mine! Does anyone know how long it will be before we get our results?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcorey04 View Post
    How does everone feel that did on there test? I feel pretty good about mine! Does anyone know how long it will be before we get our results?

    HR lady told me between 3-4 weeks. Think I did pretty good, oral questions which I was dreading actually seemed easy to me.

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    Yeah, I thought the oral/listening section was fairly easy too. There were a couple of tricky items, but nothing too complicated if you paid attention. Honestly, I thought the reading comprehension was the most challenging part of the exam. Overall the test wasn't that bad compared to others I've taken. Hopefully my results will reflect that!

    Was the 10am test the only group, or were there other sections?

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    No there was also one at 2

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    Took the test this past weekend. It was challenging, but not that bad. The memorization page was the hardest part. I have a great memory, but it was challenging to study that page, and then answer 30 questions about it. We'll see how I did in a few weeks.

    One thing that was interesting, I was sitting around at least 4 or 5 people who had taken this test 3, 4, or even 5 times. Is it that hard, or do they not hire that many off these tests?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshot View Post
    One thing that was interesting, I was sitting around at least 4 or 5 people who had taken this test 3, 4, or even 5 times. Is it that hard, or do they not hire that many off these tests?
    From what I understand, Charlotte does hire a decent amount but they do not typically hire first-time applicants. I've heard and read that it takes several attempts through the process to grab their attention. Also, it helps to have some affiliation with CFD through family and/or close friends. Now that's not to say that first-time applicants can't get in (as I know of several that did); but it seems that CFD has a system of "paying your dues" before getting hired.

    Anyone who can confirm or challenge this feel free to chime in.

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    was it just the two tests? If so I'd say it's probably around 600 or so that took the test..not nearly as many as I thought it would be...Also I thought outside of the picture memorization the test was incredibly easy....They even had a few grammar/spelling errors within the test....not to mention the fact they made the equation for circle circumfrence pie R X2 instead of Pie R squared...........

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire34fighter View Post
    was it just the two tests? If so I'd say it's probably around 600 or so that took the test..not nearly as many as I thought it would be
    I don't know if there is any truth to this or not, but one of the guys who was sitting around me said he is friends with a Capt in the dept. He said he was told around 1502 applied for around 20 to 30 positions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Longshot View Post
    I don't know if there is any truth to this or not, but one of the guys who was sitting around me said he is friends with a Capt in the dept. He said he was told around 1502 applied for around 20 to 30 positions.
    That's what I had expected but if it was just those 2 tests there's no way...i'd say there was 300, 400 max in my test(took the 2 pm one)..
    Last edited by fire34fighter; 01-23-2012 at 04:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire34fighter View Post
    That's what I had expected but if it was just those 2 tests there's no way...i'd say there was 300, 350 max in my test(took the 2 pm one)..
    The auditorium was full for the first session at 10am. My rough guess was between 700 to 900 people in attendance for the morning exam. Don't worry about it. As long as you passed, you ensure your invitation to the CPAT. Based on first glance of the competition pool, the CPAT WILL eliminate quite a few applicants. After that, it's time to cross your fingers and hope you get selected for interviews.

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    CPAT usually gets about 40/50%. Was the entire auditorium full for your test(including the entire upper section)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire34fighter View Post
    That's what I had expected but if it was just those 2 tests there's no way...i'd say there was 300, 350 max in my test(took the 2 pm one)..
    Typically there is between 1500 and 1800 who sign up for the test. From my understanding there were three sessions this past weekend. Last year if memory serves me right there was only two testing sessions and the test was held at that same location and there was 1800 and some change I believe. If I had to guess I would say there is probably at least 2,000 applicants this year and the last couple years CFD has been putting through two classes on average so I would say there's a lot of competition for what will probably be between 15 to 30 spots. My numbers could be slightly off on the actual class size.
    I myself have been through the process a handful of times with passing both the written and the CPAT every time and I have been to the Background Interview a couple of times also and am still trying to get hired. From what I have heard Charlotte likes to see guys come out for the process a few times but it is also NOT unheard of for them to hire someone the first time around so you never know until you get the phone call to move forward. It's a long process but well worth it in the end.
    As fire34fighter said as long as you passed the written you will be invited to the CPAT. If you pass that than it's just a waiting game and a lot of hoping your name comes up to move forward. The CPAT does seem to eliminate a good number of guys but after all is said and done I would say there will be at least 600 or more guys hoping to fill those spots. Good luck everyone!
    Last edited by jpartlowjr; 01-23-2012 at 04:36 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire34fighter View Post
    CPAT usually gets about 40/50%. Was the entire auditorium full for your test(including the entire upper section)?
    Yes, every table was full from the entry doors to the stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREJAWZ View Post
    Yes, every table was full from the entry doors to the stage.
    That probably sounds about right..I'd say probably 1500 is a good number for applications, and around 900-1100 actually showed up for the test. My test there weren't that many tables filled on the top section

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