4 Tips on How to Begin Studying for Your Firefighter Promotional Exam After Not Studying in Years

As a seasoned firefighter beginning your fire department promotional exam prep journey, you may be unsure where to begin since you likely haven’t studied in years. Learning to study all over again may seem overwhelming, but follow these tips and you will be on your way to earning your promotion.

1. Experiment With Study Methods

There are so many study methods out there that promise success. Well, everyone studies and learns differently so don’t be afraid to try out some different methods. If you don’t immediately succeed, don’t give up, but also don’t waste your time. It is okay to move on if the method you are using is causing you stress and just not working. There are also several study methods that should be avoided. Start slow, and use trial and error to figure out what study technique works best for you as you go along. Remember, you haven’t done this in awhile, it is normal if you are struggling in the beginning. Tip: break your studying down into smaller steps or goals to help avoid becoming overwhelmed. 

2. Manage Your Time

As an adult you have a lot more responsibilities than you did when you were a kid in school studying for a science test. If you are reading this you definitely have been a full-time firefighter on the job for at least a few years, you may have kids, a spouse, and many other responsibilities in your life. You must learn to manage your time and prioritize studying for your firefighter promotional exam if you are serious about passing and promoting. Do whatever you have to do to make the time. If you don’t create the time to make studying happen, then it probably won’t happen. Think about the small sacrifices you can make now to create the time to achieve your goal of a promotion. 

3. Be Prepared

Remember when you were in school and every year you would go out with your parents and get all of your new school supplies. Well, now is the time to do just that. Find out what books you need and get them. Get yourself notebooks, flashcards, your favorite pens or pencils. Don’t forget that technology has advanced since you were in school, and is a huge resource now. Look into online study guides and ebooks as a way to take your study sessions up a notch. If you have all of the study material you need right from the start, you will avoid the headache of not being able to study because you are missing something. 

Be prepared for what you are facing with your fire department’s specific test as well. Talk to firefighters that have taken the promotion test before to find out what the process is like. Read the job announcement so you know exactly what to prepare for. Talk to captains or battalion chiefs that have experience with promotional exams so you can learn nuggets of test knowledge from them. You can never be too prepared for a promotion test in the fire service. 

4. Stay Motivated

One of the most important things to do as you begin studying for your firefighter promotional exam, and throughout the entire process, is stay motivated. You already know why you are doing this, you want to be promoted to a higher rank in the fire service. If that alone is not enough motivation, think about the financial benefits, the personal confidence boost for yourself, or whatever other reason you have for taking the firefighter promotional exam in the first place. Whenever you feel like giving up, just remember why you are doing this, and keep going. Also remember, this has an end date, once you take that test (even if you take it more than once) this will not last forever. 

The Takeaway

Studying for your firefighter promotional exam may seem overwhelming at first, but once you find your groove it will all be okay. Just remember why you are taking the firefighter promotional exam in the first place and let your motivation guide you.