Situational Judgement Test

Some FRS’s will use a Situational Judgement Test (SJT) as part of their assessment process for promotion. It is a multiple-choice test which examines behavioural competencies (or PQAs). There is usually no time limit, although they usually take around 45 minutes to complete.

The format of the SJT can vary slightly, but in general it will detail a number of scenarios and asks either ‘Which ONE of the following actions is most likely to be effective?’ with four options to choose from, or ‘Rank the order of effectiveness of these actions’ where you then need to assign a 1-4 ranking to the 4 options presented. Some SJTs may simply ask for you to identify your most and least preferred choices from the options given.

As is the case with most multiple choice type tests, there will be one or two options which seem less likely to be correct. Then there will be perhaps two that could be correct. The correct answer is not usually obvious, which is how it examines your core competencies / underlying attitudes behaviours.


The context for the SJT will either be the Fire and Rescue Service or generic management scenarios. It just depends whether the test has been designed specifically for the FRS or is an ‘off-the-shelf’ tool i.e. applicable to people working in a range of jobs at a similar level. The scenarios are general management issues without any technical jargon or FRS specific terminology which could confuse individuals without that particular knowledge or experience. In fact, the SJT is not knowledge based; there is no need to study or revise.

Tip: The best thing you can do to prepare for your SJT is to have a good look through the PQA’s, or, if your FRS no longer uses these, the standards / values / competency framework they have adopted. Try to imagine how these standards or competencies might be applicable in the workplace. This should give you a good insight into how each behaviour or standard might look in action.

Example SJT Question

You are at a meeting with your fellow managers discussing an incident which took place a couple of days ago. Although the incident was well handled, you have some concerns about the new procedures that have been introduced. Even though you feel you briefed your team on the new procedures they seemed to have difficulty knowing what to do at crucial times during the incident.

Which one of the following actions is most likely to be effective?

  • Raise your concerns about the new procedures and insist on going back to the old procedures
  • Raise your concerns about the new procedures and take responsibility to ensure your team develop a working knowledge of them
  • Don’t say anything about the new procedures as you are sure your team will understand them better next time
  • Ask other team leaders what they thought of the new procedures and what could be done differently next time.

How to Answer

How to answer may vary depending on the test, you may be asked to:

  • Choose which is your most preferred answer
  • Put the actions you would take in rank order
  • Identify your most preferred and least preferred options.

Would you like to try a practice test at Supervisory or Middle Manager Level? Have a go and find out how well you score with instant detailed feedback for just £15.00 here at FRS Development.

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