It may seem trivial, but the space you use for your firefighter promotional exam prep actually plays a significant role in your success. Most university websites recommend creating a designated study area, because it will train your brain to focus every time you sit down in that spot. It’s also a non-verbal cue to those around you that when you’re in this space, you mean business and shouldn’t be bothered. Today, we’re sharing six study space must-haves, plus a few bonus study tips, to help you crush your upcoming firefighter promotional exam.
Whether it’s a home office, the local coffee shop, or your dining room table, the first step to a good study space is to find the right space. There’s no hard-and-fast rule for this, and you may have to try a few spots before you find one that works for you. Ideally, it’s somewhere comfortable enough that you can focus, without too many distractions.
The first step to productivity is comfort. You want the space you create to be comfortable, but not too comfortable. Make sure your back doesn’t start hurting because your chair is too hard, or your neck is straining because your desk isn’t at the right height. These seemingly small discomforts can potentially disrupt your whole study session.
If you don’t already have a home office and don’t plan on adding one, get creative. Use cardboard boxes or reams of paper to raise your computer to the perfect height. Sit on pillows to make your seat more comfortable. You can also put pillows behind your back to reduce strain, or try sitting on a big yoga ball. Use what you have to make your study area comfortable so you can be productive and focused.
Studying as an adult brings a whole new level of obstacles. Some firefighters have kids who may want to come and jump on their laps and “help” them study by coloring in their books or banging on their keyboard. As cute as that may be, it’s not going to make for a productive study session. Ask your spouse if they can entertain the kiddos or make arrangements to have kids out of the house while you study. Keep in mind, you don’t need to be studying for hours on end to be successful, so even one kid-free hour can do the trick.
Once you get the kids sorted out, take it a step further. Mute the phone and turn off the TV. If you’re using your computer to study, check to see if it has a focus mode. These tools block all notifications and won’t let you open video games or social media for the amount of time you designate.
The next step to productivity is mood lighting. You need lighting that won’t fatigue your eyes, make you feel like you’re being interrogated, or put you to sleep. Aim for a well-lit space that will keep you focused and energized. Task lighting, in addition to ceiling lights, can be just the ticket.
The level of noise that leads to productive studying changes from person to person. Listening to classical music isn’t going to make you any smarter, but if it helps you concentrate and stay focused, then by all means listen away. If you find ambient hustle and bustle energizing as you study, consider hitting the books in a library or coffee house. If you need silence, a home study space (or a great pair of noise-canceling headphones) may be best. If you don’t know what you like, experiment a bit.
Keep snacks and water handy. The tendency to procrastinate can be persuasive, and a growling stomach in the middle of your study session may be enough to redirect your focus. Avoid the situation entirely by making sure you have something healthy to nibble on while you study.
The perfect study space is different for everyone, and these six must-haves will be personal. But don’t overlook the value of a dedicated study spot. Promoting at the fire department is important, and it’s worth doing everything you can to tip the odds in your favor.