Below are some testing strategies for the upcoming State of Massachusetts fire exam. Good luck !!


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.

Additional Strategies:

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.

Additional exam prep can be found at the link below.


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. has over 250 pages of FREE information and career articles to help you reach your goal of becoming a firefighter.

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