As initially designed and developed, the CPAT provided for voluntary orientation sessions intended to familiarize candidates with the test apparatus and requirements. However, increased orientation and practice opportunities significantly improve the ability of all candidates to complete the CPAT within the "cut off" time of 10 minutes and 20 seconds. Therefore, it is now mandatory that all candidates must be given the opportunity to attend at least two (2) orientation sessions, with the first session taking place at least eight (8) weeks prior to the actual test date. During the sessions, candidates will receive "hands on" familiarity with the actual CPAT apparatus. Also during the orientation sessions, Certified Peer Fitness Trainers, fitness professionals, and/or CPAT-trained fire fighters (proctors) shall familiarize all candidates with each task and apparatus, and shall advise all candidates concerning specific conditioning regimens and techniques to help them prepare for the CPAT.


Fire departments utilizing the CPAT shall also ensure that all candidates have full and equal opportunity to perform at least two (2) timed practice runs, using actual CPAT apparatus and completing the entire course. These mandatory practice sessions shall occur within thirty (30) days of the official test date. Again, Certified Peer Fitness Trainers, fitness professionals and/or CPAT-trained fire fighters (proctors) shall help the candidates understand the test elements and how they can improve their performance and conditioning. In order to reduce the burden on a department’s resources, it is permissible for a candidate to pass the CPAT during either of the practice sessions, provided that the department has fully staffed and administered the test as they would on the official test day. However, a candidate who passes the CPAT during a practice session shall not be rank ordered ahead of any candidate who requires both practice sessions and the official test to pass the CPAT.



Although the two-phased orientation and practice program set forth above must be treated by the fire department as a mandatory condition for candidates taking the CPAT test, it is recognized that fire departments are likely to have candidates in their candidate pool who believe that they are capable of passing the CPAT without attending the orientation and practice program. It is also recognized that resources devoted to the orientation and practice program are best spent on those candidates who will truly benefit from this assistance. It is therefore permissible for fire departments to excuse candidates from this requirement upon receipt of a written and signed waiver from the candidate acknowledging that this orientation and practice program was made available to all candidates on an equal basis and that the candidate voluntarily and knowingly waives the opportunity to participate in the orientation and practice program. It is required that all those that are licensed to use the CPAT must fully implement these orientation and pre-test procedures. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has also agreed to not bring a lawsuit through April 2011, based upon any claim that the CPAT has an adverse impact for female candidates, against any fire department that utilizes CPAT in conformity with those conditions in their pre-test programs. For those fire departments that are utilizing another Licensee to conduct their CPAT, such fire department, as the employer, must ensure that these changes are incorporated.