The New Jersey Civil Service Commission tentatively plans to give a new firefighter entry exam in the fall of 2024. The new exam is called the Fire Service Aptitude Battery. The content for this multi-part written comprehensive exam includes the following components:

Cognitive Abilities Section

The cognitive abilities section measures seven areas. These areas include deductive reasoning, written comprehension, written expression, problem sensitivity, inductive reasoning, information ordering, and visualization.

The cognitive abilities testing looks at skills that were determined by a consultant to be important for New Jersey Firefighters. The test questions look at things like reasoning, reading comprehension, written communication, decision-making, and problem solving. Candidates can expect questions in this section involving applying rules and regulations, use of firefighting equipment, understanding the written language, recognizing problems, putting information in a logical order, as well as grammar, spelling and punctuation.

Personality Assessment Section (Workstyles)

The personality assessment is designed to reveal aspects of an individual’s character or psychological makeup. By gaining insight into a candidate’s personality, it’s possible to identify which candidates will be a good fit for the fire service. Numerous studies have validated this.

The studies have shown that ideal candidates possess certain desirable skills and personality traits. They are assertive, have good interpersonal skills and are team oriented. They have good judgment and decision making, as well as high ethics and integrity. They manage their stress well, are flexible, and solve problems well.

Candidates who attend my class will take diagnostic personality tests to determine their strengths and weaknesses. They then work to improve on their weaknesses before test day. When they do, they score higher on the personality test.

Life Experience or Biographical Data Section

The personal history or biographical data section consists of a series of questions about a candidate’s background. Candidates can score points or lose points, depending on how they answer. The answers in this section are weighted. There is usually one answer that is worth the most points. This type of testing has been around for about 100 years. The questions usually focus on your prior school and work history. So, candidates should expect some questions from these areas. Many firefighters have asked me “Why do they use the Bio-data test?” The theory is this. If you had good grades in high school or college, you should get good grades in the academy. If you came to school and work on time, you will come to your public safety job on time. If you got along very well with your co-workers in the past, you should get along with your future public safety co-workers. By looking at your past, the test tries to predict your future.

The new test will no doubt be challenging for candidates. After candidates take the written exam, they will be rank ordered. That list will then be sent to the appointing authorities. Those who score high will be called to take the physical exam first. The physical exam will be a pass/fail. So, doing well on the new written exam will be the key this year to getting hired as a New Jersey Firefighter.

On the most recent firefighter exam, the Bernstein students had the highest scores in the state! The majority of students who took the Bernstein course are now New Jersey firefighters today. If you ask ANY New Jersey firefighter, they will simply tell you “Go to Bernstein!”

In order to prepare NJ firefighter applicants for the new exam, Bernstein & Associates will be giving a series of paid test prep seminars. The seminar will cover “How to best prepare for the new firefighter entry exam.” All serious candidates should attend.

Seminar schedule will be posted soon. In the meantime, you can add your information to our mailing list by clicking the link below: