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Schedule Physical Ability Test (PAT) for Fire and Police Departments

All municipalities scheduling a Physical Ability Test (PAT) for Initial-Hire Fire and Police candidates should read the information below.

Table of Contents

PAT Schedule

To view a listing of PAT dates click here 2024 PAT Schedule.

Please contact PAT@mass.gov with any questions.

Who Must Take the Medical Exam & Physical Ability Test (PAT)

All Initial-Hire Candidates for Fire and Police

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Have your Medical Examination Form ready

How to schedule a PAT

For the hiring department

  1. Take a look at the  2024 PAT Schedule and choose the date.*
  2. Send an email to pat@mass.gov along with pages 1 and 8 of the candidate's medical examination form.**
  3. Forward the schedule confirmation and instructions received from Civil Service Unit to the candidate



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For the candidate

  1. Follow the instructions, sent by the hiring department.
  2. Contact your appointing authority with any schedule modification or questions.


* Requests must be submitted no later than 48 hours before the requested date of the Preview. Candidates are scheduled in the order in which they are received. Candidates appearing for a Preview or Actual PAT who have not been scheduled in advance with the Civil Service Unit will not be allowed to participate.


Where is the PAT site located

All Fire and Police PAT Preview and PAT Actual test are conducted at our facility:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Physical Ability Test

571A Main St.
Hudson MA, 01749

Get directions

Street view on new Civil Service PAT site at 571A Main Street, Hudson


PAT at Hudson, MA

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What to Bring to the PAT site

Candidates must bring the following to the Physical Ability Test (PAT) testing site:

  • Photo I.D. (for both the Preview and the Actual test dates)

During the PAT Preview, candidates take a "practice" PAT that is timed but is not scored. The time for the preview is only for candidate reference in regard to each event based on the cut score. The Preview allows candidates to become familiarized with the events required during the actual PAT.

How to Cancel your PAT

Should a candidate need to cancel a PAT or PAT Preview, he or she must make the request to the hiring department at least 48 hours in advance of the test/preview date, and the hiring department notifies HRD Civil Service at (617) 878-9756 or email pat@mass.gov , of the cancellation at least 24 hours in advance of the test/preview date.

PAT Score Results

Final Score Results will not be provided at the PAT site.

PAT results are emailed to candidates and to the designee of the Appointing Authority within 24 hours of taking the PAT.

Please check your email settings to allow emails from "@mass.gov" addresses into your inbox directly, as some accounts will delete what they consider SPAM before it even reaches your email folders.

What you should expect in Physical Ability Test (PAT)

Firefighter Physical Ability Test (PAT)

Stair Climb, Ladder Event, Hose Drag/Advance, Forcible Entry, Search, Rescue, and Ceiling Hook

Stair Climb

This event simulates stair climbing while carrying equipment, an activity that Fire Fighters may perform when getting to a fire at an incident scene.  For this event, candidates will be required to make six trips up and down one flight of stairs to shuttle one piece of equipment during each climb.  During a 5-minute equipment return and recovery period, you will be required to return the six pieces of equipment to their starting positions. The time limit for the climb portion of the event is 173.9 seconds.

Ladder Event

This event simulates various activities related to using ladders.  You will be required to remove a ladder from a rack, carry it some distance, raise a weight of approximately 45 lbs.  attached to a rope that simulates the raising of an extension ladder, lower that weight, and return the ladder to the rack from which it was taken.  The event ends when the ladder is back in the rack in the proper position. The time limit for this event is 35.56 seconds.

Hose Drag/Advance

This event simulates the actions necessary to manipulate a fully charged fire hose.  You will be required to pull 50 feet of hose through a U-shaped course with several turns and then continue to advance the hose while you remain in a stationary position.  There will be a ceiling on the U-shaped course to prevent you from standing upright.  Once the timed period ends, you will be required to straighten out the hose to reset the event. The time limit for the action of the event is 50.6 seconds.

Forcible Entry

This event simulates breaking down a door to gain entry to a burning structure or an incident scene.  For this event, you will be required to strike a rubber pad mounted on a moveable post.  You will use a 12 lb. sledgehammer to move the post a set distance.  The post and structure are weighted to simulate the force you would need to exert on a door in order to gain entrance.  Your score will be based on the time it takes to move the post the required distance. The time limit to complete the event is 15.8 seconds.


This event simulates the actions necessary to enter and search a smoke-filled structure. Candidates crawl through a dark wooden tunnel with obstructions and turns. The tunnel is approximately 65 feet long. The tunnel is 4 feet high and 4 feet wide. At one location in the tunnel there is an obstacle on the floor and at one location there is an obstacle from the ceiling, and another location has an obstacle on each side. In addition, at these locations, the tunnel is reduced from 4 feet to 3 feet in width. The time limit for this event is 51.1 seconds.


This event simulates the actions necessary to drag an unconscious victim from a burning building or other structure to get the victim to safety.  You will be required to drag a 120 lb. weighted bag approximately 30 feet along a zigzag course to a designated area at the end of the course.  In this event, there is a low ceiling over the course to prevent you from standing upright. The time limit for this event is 32.3 seconds.

Ceiling Hook

This event simulates the use of a pike pole or ceiling hook.  A pike pole or ceiling hook is a firefighting tool used to tear down ceilings or open walls while looking for hidden fires.  This event will require you to take a pike pole, tipped with a flat head, and thrust it upward at a metal plate in an 8-foot ceiling.  The metal plate weighs approximately 60 lbs. and must be lifted approximately six inches in order for the strike to count.  You will then step over to the next part of the event, where a pike pole handle is suspended from a ceiling height.  The pole is attached to a counterbalance that weighs approximately 80 lbs.  You must pull the pole down approximately six inches in order for the pull to count.  You will be required to perform one push and five pulls in a sequence.  The event will require you to perform four one-minute periods of work, in which you will try to do as many push-pull sequences as possible.  Only completed sequences will count in the scoring of this event. Each work period will be followed by a 30 second rest period. You must complete 24 full repetitions within the allotted time.

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Police Officer Physical Ability Test (PAT)

Obstacle Course, The Separation/Control Event, The Dummy Drag

Obstacle Course

This event simulates the actions necessary to pursue and "takedown" a suspect. The event begins with an obstacle course where the candidate will be faced with going through an open window, traversing an uneven terrain, climbing over a wall, climbing up and down steps, and negotiating a series of cones arranged in a zigzag pattern. At the end of the course, the candidate will be required to grab hold of a weighted bag attached to a pulley and touch it to the ground. Next, secure a moveable bag to the ground then read a statement.  The candidate will then immediately move to the Power Station to the handcuffing simulation where he/she will be required to individually pull on two hand levers until the cable hits the stop. This completes the event. The time limit is 163.4 seconds.

The Separation Event

This event simulates tasks that require separating one party from another and controlling individuals, such as in crowd control situations. The candidate will be required to pull a hanging bag backward touching it to the ground across a marked line. Candidates will have to perform two "pulls". The time limit is 12.8 seconds.

The Dummy Drag

This event simulates dragging a victim or suspect. Candidates will be required to drag a dummy over a straight course. The time limit is 11.2 seconds.

Physical Ability Test (PAT) Videos

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