# Thread: 2007 New York Fire Exam Prep

1. ## 2007 New York Fire Exam Prep

For those of you taking the upcoming New York fire exam, go to the link below for exam prep. We will also be posting top scoring test taking strategies for the exam. Good luck !!!!

http://www.fireprep.com/new_york_fir...xaminati1.html

TEST-TAKING STRATEGY FOR DEDUCTIVE REASONING

Deductive reasoning measures your ability to apply general rules or regulations to specific situations. You will be presented with general Fire Department rules and regulations and then asked to apply them to specific situations.

Deductive Reasoning is the opposite of Inductive Reasoning. Deductive reasoning starts with a general statement. In Deductive Reasoning you go from the general statement to a particular fact or conclusion.

The Deductive Reasoning questions on the firefighter exam will not be such a rigid exercise in logic. They will deal with situations more complex than the neat world of geometry. But the Deductive Reasoning questions will follow the basic pattern of going from general statements to conclusions. In the "fact pattern" or "stem" of the question, you will find the general statement. It will be some kind of rule. The answer choices will be specific actions. One of them should be a valid example of how that rule would be applied in a concrete situation. For instance, the question could state a general rule that fire trucks should not be positioned so close to a fire that they could be damaged by flying debris or heat from the fire. The question might then give a description of a fire and tell you what direction the wind is blowing towards. Then the question may ask you what side of the fire the truck should be farthest from. In evaluating the individual answer choices, you should be asking yourself, "Is this an accurate example of the general statement?"

When answering questions like these, pay attention to any limits or exceptions to the rule. The rule may be in effect only at certain times or under certain circumstances. For instance, a rule might apply only when there are several fire trucks at a fire scene. Or a rule might apply only at night, not in the daytime. And watch out for exceptions. A rule might apply to most firefighters but not to those assigned to certain duties, e.g., all firefighters might be required to wear a uniform, but fire marshals might be an exception. A rule might apply all the time but still with exceptions, e.g., a rule might forbid using the fire truck to go out to purchase food for the meal in the firehouse but it might be allowed to stop for food on the way back to the firehouse from other duties. So, you need to be asking yourself:

1. Are there are limits to when the rule applies?

2. Are there any limits to who is covered by the rule?

3. Are there any authorized exceptions to the rule?

If there are limits or exceptions to rule, you may find them highlighted by certain words in the question. The usual key words to denote exceptions to rules are: except, unless, and if or when... Circle or underline these key words when you are reading rules.

Apart from authorized exceptions stated in the question itself, do not make exceptions. Your task is to apply the rule, not to question it or excuse anybody from following it. In picking answer choices, apply rules rigidly.

As far as the firefighter exam is concerned, Deductive Reasoning is somewhat similar to Information Ordering. But Information Ordering has more to do with following, in proper order, step by step procedures. Deductive Reasoning is more the ability to recognize a correct concrete example of a general rule.

1. Pay attention to steps which may be taken in definite order.

2. Pay attention to when the rule or procedure is enforced.

3. Pay particular attention to any exceptions.

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TEST-TAKING STRATEGY FOR VISUALIZATION

Visualization is the ability to picture a scene or object in your imagination. It includes the ability to picture changes in that scene or object. This type of test question asks, "Can you imagine…?" It is a test of your imagination. It requires you to think in pictures. If you have read a lot of comic books in your childhood, you may be quite skilled at thinking in pictures. In fact, if you think of yourself as an illustrator whose job it is provide pictures to illustrate written materials, you will find these questions easy to handle.

Often the key to a Visualization question is noting direction accurately: North, East, South and West. When direction is part of the material, put the traditional symbol on your drawing with North in the twelve o-clock position. Focus your attention on unchanging parts. Viewing objects from the opposite side reverses location of all parts of the object. For example, keep in mind that when objects are viewed from the back or inside, the parts of the object appear in reverse location.

3. TEST-TAKING STRATEGY FOR INDUCTIVE REASONING

There are many different kinds of reasoning. Some reasoning is by simple association. If you see very dark clouds coming you way, accompanied by lightning and thunder, you will probably conclude that it is going to rain, even if you do not understand the scientific explanation for rain. By experience you have learned to associate such dark clouds with rain. By experience a fire marshal may associate a fire in the ceiling of a vacant top floor apartment of a tenement house with arson. This kind of reasoning by association requires some knowledge or experience.

Another kind of reasoning is by comparison. Much of the "legal reasoning" done by a lawyer consists of comparing a case with other cases which have already been decided by the courts. When a firefighter is able to predict that a building will collapse during a fire, it is often by comparison to other fire scenes in which buildings have collapsed; it may not be possible to do a scientific evaluation of the situation at the moment.

Your firefighter exam will include three kinds of mental abilities related to reasoning. These are three kinds of reasoning which do not depend heavily on prior knowledge or experience. They are: inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, and problem solving.

Inductive Reasoning measures your ability to determine a rule or concept which fits specific situations. You will be given specific situations and then asked to determine the general concept which links or explains the situations.

Inductive reasoning is reasoning which goes from particular facts to a general conclusion. It starts with a number of particular facts. For example, a question may begin with some facts about fires and try to draw general conclusions.

For Inductive Reasoning questions, the answer choices are the general statements. You must test them one by one against the particular facts provided in the question. The facts may be statements. Or the facts may be data from a table. If you need to do some counting, you should write tallies or little notes. If you fail to take notes, you may end up with a few possible answers and not remember all the details; then you will have to start counting again! It will save you time in the long run to take notes the first time you evaluate an answer choice.

A problem with inductive reasoning is knowing how many particular facts are needed to support a general statement. It would not be inductive reasoning to jump from a single particular fact to a general statement. At least a few particular facts are necessary before a general statement can be made. For instance, in reality no one would make a statement about when certain kinds of alarms occur on the basis of data from only one night's alarms. However, there are practical limits to how much data can be put into a test question. You should pick the answer which is supported best by the limited data in the question itself.

Inductive Reasoning questions can take a lot of time. If you have several questions on the same set of data, it may be worthwhile to work out the answers immediately. But if there are a lot of data and there is only one question based on the data, you may want to skip this kind of question and come back to it at the end. Do not get bogged down when there are still lots of other questions to answer.

4. TEST-TAKING STRATEGY FOR READING OR VERBAL COMPREHENSION

Verbal comprehension measures your ability to read and understand the types of written materials a firefighter might be expected to read on the job. You will be presented with a reading passage and then asked to answer questions about the passage. All the information needed to answer the questions will be included in the passage itself.

In answering the questions based on the reading passage, it is important that you answer the questions only according to the information given in the passage. If you have information from your own experience and knowledge, you should not use it to answer a question of this type. Even if you think that there is a mistake in the reading selection, you must still answer the question on the basis of the information given in the reading passage.

The kinds of Reading Comprehension questions which appear on a civil service exam tend to be somewhat different from the reading comprehension questions on a school related exam. That is because there are different kinds of reading--skimming, reading for general understanding, reading for details, etc. Your exam will be based mostly on reading technical materials, not anything like a novel or essay. Hence, your exam will have more focus on exact grasp of details.

There are certain techniques that will help you do well on reading comprehension questions. Here is a summary of the most important techniques.

Use your pencil. To begin with, use your pencil as a pointer. Using the pencil to guide your eye along a line of text helps you to focus on the details in the reading; it holds your attention to the precise words in the passage. In a long test, attention may weaken. Fatigue may blunt your attention to details. But using your pencil as a pointer will help to preserve your attention to details.

Another benefit of using the pencil as a pointer is that it will probably speed up your reading. The steady flow of the pencil across the page with each line of text draws the eye along at a steady pace. Do not go faster than you can grasp the text, but do try to keep your reading going at a steady pace set by the pencil.

Circle key words and phrases. In a Reading Comprehension test you are not reading for just a vague general understanding of the passage. You usually have to read for detailed understanding. There will be individual words which are important for grasping a point exactly. You do not want to write so much on a passage that it is hard to read a second time if you need to go back to check a detail. But you do want to circle key words or phrases which will enable you to zero in on precise points needed to answer a question.

Read short questions carefully the first time. When you are reading a short question for the first time, read it carefully. A short question is one that is only seven or eight lines long. You can retain all of the main ideas and remember where particular things are mentioned from one careful reading. Hence, you do not want to waste time reading this passage twice.

Besides wasting time, another bad consequence of reading a short question very carelessly the first time is that it may leave you with some false impressions of what you have read. Wrong ideas can get stuck in your head from a careless reading. Then it will be more difficult to get the correct answer.

For long questions, look ahead to see what is being asked. Take a look at the "stem" of the question, the sentence which precedes the answer choices. And look at the kinds of choices which are being offered. Sometimes reading passages are long but the questions are asking only for particular details. In that case you can often skim a long passage to find the particular detail.

Keep forging ahead. Do not get bogged down if there is a word or sentence you do not understand. You may get the main idea without knowing the individual word or sentence. Sometimes you can sense the meaning of the word from the context. Sometimes the word or sentence may not be the basis of any question. If there is some idea you need to answer a question but do not understand, read it one more time. If you still do not understand it, move on. You can come back to this question later if you have more time at the end of the test.

Picture what you read. Try to form a picture in your mind as you read. School books used to teach reading contain many pictures because pictures aid comprehension. When reading material without pictures, it will aid your comprehension if you use your imagination to picture in your mind what you are reading. Read as if you were a professional illustrator who has been hired to do an illustration for the passage.

Ask yourself questions as you read. When you finish reading a sentence, ask yourself what the author was saying. At the end of a whole paragraph, ask yourself what the point of the whole paragraph was. If you ask yourself questions, you will find that you are paraphrasing the passage in your mind. That will help your understanding.

Know where the author stands. Sometimes a passage will contain an evaluation of some ideas of tools or procedures. The author may want to make the point that certain practices or procedures are bad or that certain tools may not be right for a particular job. Be sure you know if the author is accepting or rejecting something.

Another good reading comprehension strategy is to read the questions before starting the passage. This does not mean to read the answer choices at this time. By reading the questions, you will have an idea of what information you will need after reading the passage. This may alert you to certain details, ideas and specific areas in the paragraph where the questions are being drawn from.

5. TEST-TAKING STRATEGY FOR INFORMATION ORDERING

Questions based on Information Ordering measure your ability to apply rules to a situation for the purpose of putting the information in the best or most appropriate sequence.

The secret of success in answering questions based on Information Ordering is to be extremely rigid in your thinking. These questions are based on the premises that:

1. There is only one correct order of things or sequence of steps.

2. Every step must be followed in its proper order.

3. No step may be skipped or omitted.

Strategies:

1. Put in order only as much information as you need to answer the questions.

2. Examine alternatives only as far as the point where you find it to be definitely wrong.

3. If you are not sure which item should be placed first in the list, determine which item is last.

4. Go by what you do know for sure.

One example would be the rules for entering a person's name on a report form. The form may indicate that one should begin by entering the person's last name, then the person's first name, then middle initial. Given these rules, it would be an error to start with the person's first name. It would also be an error to write out the person's middle name, since the rule calls for only the middle initial.

Another example would be a procedure that tells you to inspect a building by checking the cellar first, then the floors above one by one beginning with the first floor, then the fire escape, and finally the sprinklers if there are any. Given this statement of the procedure, it would be an error to do the easy thing by inspecting the cellar and then using the cellar exit to the back yard to inspect the fire escape before going up to check the first floor. It would also be an error to inspect the sprinklers at the same time as you are inspecting each floor. Although a procedure may seem silly to you, there may be technical reasons which justify the procedure. Stick to the procedure given in the question.

Standard procedures are used to ensure that nothing is overlooked due to lack of systematic approach. On a fire scene standard procedures also help a superior to keep track of where Firefighters are at any given moment. At least on an exam, it is an error to modify a procedure. Sometimes a test maker will create a false choice which would be a change in the procedure but seems to make a lot of sense. Do not fall for this kind of false answer! Strictly adhere to procedures.

Questions on procedures can be difficult when the procedures list exceptions or include "if's." For example, a procedure may require firefighters to turn off all hydrants when they are not being used by the fire department, except when certain hydrants have been equipped with spray attachments and are being used by children playing on the street in the summertime. Another example might be a procedure that says a firefighter should break a window if smoke is building up inside a building; if there is no build-up of smoke, this procedure would not call for breaking a window. Hence, it is important to take note of any "if's" in procedures and to be aware of any exceptions to procedures which are stated on the exam itself.

When determining what order the information presented to you should be placed, try to look for key words in each choice that would lead to the next step in the process. The key for information ordering is that when put together, the answers present themselves in a paragraph form that correctly states each step.

6. TEST TAKING STRATEGY FOR MEMORIZATION

The S P A C E Technique

S Select key information. You probably do not have enough time to memorize every word or every squiggle on the page. Memorize what seems to be important. Memorization questions will focus on what would be important in a real job situation. For instance, at a fire scene the number of firefighters on the scene, number of firefighter apparatus, number of hoselines going into a building, direction of wind, address and street location of the incident, location of the fire (what floor, what section of the building) are important.

P Picture things and events and persons in your mind. Close your eyes for a few seconds and form a mental picture of things, people or events which are being described. The brain works more efficiently with pictures than with words. If you are memorizing some kind of scene, imagine yourself taking a walk through it from one end to the other.

A Arrange things and events in some order in your mind. Information which is grouped in some way or in some order is easier to remember. Count things, e.g., 5 firefighters, 3 engine companies, 2 ladder companies, 4 hoselines. For picture material, draw two mental lines through the picture to divide it into quarters, then note what is in each quarter. Notice what is next to what, what is above or below.

C Compare things. For a picture or diagram, compare the contents of each quarter of the drawing. If there are several items you may have to distinguish from one another (like rooms in a floor plan, or faces or diagrams of two different pieces of equipment) compare them to one another as you are memorizing. Making comparisons helps you become more conscious of details.

E Exercise your memory. Go back to a section of a picture you already memorized. Repeat items to yourself. Repeat them. Repeat. Go back and repeat again.

Technique: Test your memory continuously. As you memorize more information, keep checking that you remember what you already worked on. Keep testing yourself. You can test yourself by asking over and over something like the 4 W's if it is a story: Who? What? When? Where? If it is not a story, you may be asking yourself: What? Where? How many?

Fingering the Information. During the Memorization part of the exam you will not be permitted to hold a pencil in your hand. But your fingers will be not taken away from you. Your index finger will assist you in remembering.

Use your finger to circle, trace, underline, poke at, or emphasize in any way the important details. Information in picture form should be literally traced with your finger. With a floorplan or diagram of a building layout, "walk through" it with your finger, taking note of important items. Fingerwork will reinforce what your eyes see. When you are doing this sort of fingerwork on a test, it may look weird to somebody else, but being odd in this way may help you get the job.

7. TEST-TAKING TACTICS: EVALUATING ANSWER CHOICES

Answer on the basis of the information given in the question. When answering test questions, you must base your answer solely on the information contained in the test question. The test for a Firefighter requires no previous knowledge of the job. The test questions do not have to reflect the way the job is really done or the actual procedures of the Fire Department.

Problems arise when a person who is familiar with procedures of the fire department encounters a test question based on something that contradicts actual practices. It is in this kind of situation that you must ignore actual practices and answer on the basis of what the test question says. For example, you might know that kitchen stove fires are usually extinguished with a portable fire extinguisher; but a test question might describe a stove fire being put out with a fire hose attached to a hydrant. In this kind of test situation, never mind the actual practice; go by the information in the question.

Remember that part of the test maker's job is to provide three false answers for every correct one. It is a multiple-choice test, not a true/false test. A skillful test maker will offer you some false choices that seem pretty good in order to distract you from the correct answer. Among test makers these false choices are called "distractors." But if you have already decided what answer you should be looking for, you will not be distracted so easily by bad answers which might look pretty good and which come before the correct answer. A seductive (A) and a half-true (B) will not prevent you from reaching a correct answer (C) if you know what you are looking for.

Sort answers into three categories. As soon as you read a particular answer choice, decide if it is True, False, or Uncertain. If you are quite sure that an answer choice is True, use your pencil to write a "T" in front of that answer choice. But continue to read the other answer choices because you might find another True one and then have to make a final choice.

If you are quite sure that an answer choice is False, use your pencil to write an "F" in front of that answer choice. You may find that an answer is False even before you have finished reading the whole answer. Stop reading it as soon as you are sure it is false and mark with an "F".

If you are Uncertain about whether a particular answer choice is correct, use your pencil to put a question mark (?) in front of that answer choice.

When you have finished reading all four answer choices, each one should be preceded by a "T" or an "F" or a question mark (?). If there is only one with a "T", that is probably your answer. If you have more than one with a "T", or a "T" and a question mark, you may need to think a bit before choosing your final answer. But you should not have to bother any more with answers you have already given an "F".

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 that 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.

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