7 Study Don'ts If You Want to Pass Your Firefighter Promotional Exam the First Time

There are a lot of ideas out there about the best way to study and begin your firefighter promotional exam prep. Everyone is different and will find various methods that work best for them. However, everyone should avoid doing these things as you begin studying for your firefighter promotional exam. 

  1. Assume You Understand

People have a tendency to read a book and think they understand everything the first go round. Never assume, test yourself! Worst thing that happens is you find out you actually did know everything and you spent some time reviewing which is never a bad thing. Best case scenario you catch the fact that you didn’t actually know everything that you read and need to put in some more work. It is so much better to find that out from an online practice test versus a failed promotional exam. 

  1. Be Uninterested

If you are studying and you are bored you are not doing it right. You need to act like the stuff you are studying is the most interesting thing ever. It is important to you to learn it, so it should be. You need to want to investigate the material further, not just read and move on. Ask yourself questions about the material you are covering. Be curious and get your brain working. Truly engage in what you are learning. This will benefit you in so many ways. One being you may actually begin to enjoy studying for your promotional exam and see it as less of a chore. As well, asking questions as you go will help you better understand the material, keep you interested in the material, and help you better remember the material. Even if what you are studying is horribly boring, try to engage with it and make it interesting in some way. 

  1. Start With the Easy Stuff

When you start a study session don’t just start with the easy stuff to knock it off your list. Get into the thick of it from the start of your study session. Your brain will be fresh and ready for the challenge. Then by the end of the end of your study session when your brain is less energized and slowing down, do the easy stuff. 

  1. Highlight

Highlighting a textbook can be beneficial if you do it properly.  Most people over highlight and get overwhelmed with everything they have deemed important and need to review. Others highlight but then never crack open the textbook ever again because who wants to carry a bulky textbook around. Instead, take notes on a computer or in a notebook. This way you don’t have to carry the huge book around and you will have a mobile study guide that is much easier to access when needed.

  1. Go it Alone

Studying for your firefighter promotional exam is a solo project but it doesn't have to be. You can create study groups with other firefighters who are also working to promote. You can find a mentor to help you and to go to with questions. Even though you are the only one taking the test, and you may even be competing with said other firefighters for the same job, there is no point in doing it by yourself if you don’t have to. Even just having other firefighters who have completed the promotion process to go to for guidance can be a great resource to ease some of the anxieties around promoting. Also reaching out to others for help or to study is a great way to make more connections within the fire service that may be beneficial later on down the road in your career in the fire service. 

  1. Skip the Reading

Nobody wants to read a textbook. They are big, they are generally very boring, and they are just all around intimidating. If you want to pass the firefighter promotional exam you must read the textbook. If you beat the odds and you pass the firefighter promotional exam without reading the textbooks you will likely not do so hot in the other portions of the promotion process or in your career. There are no shortcuts to promotion, you have to put in the work just like everybody else. 

  1. Overwhelm Yourself

From the get go, look at what you have to do to prepare for your firefighter promotional exam and break it into chunks so you aren’t overwhelmed. In the beginning when you get your books and study supplies there will likely be an instant sense of overwhelm. Remember the reason you are doing it in the first place. Actually look at the materials and separate and organize them appropriately so you don’t have one big study pile of doom. Look at how much time you have to get through it all, physically on a calendar and create a game plan. You will decrease the feeling of overwhelm by a huge amount if you have a plan for studying. 

The Takeaway

Studying for your firefighter promotional exam is a huge undertaking. So many people who are taking the firefighter promotional exam are studying for the first time in years.  To avoid wasting time and energy follow these tips. They should help you ace your firefighter promotional exam the first try.