Know Your Learning Style To Pass Your Fire Department Promotion Test


Everyone is different therefore everyone learns and retains information differently. To get a head start on your firefighter promotional exam prep, figure out what your learning style is before you study to maximize the effectiveness of your studying. 


Learning Styles

There are four learning styles, visual, auditory, reading/writing, and kinesthetic. Knowing your learning style can give you an advantage when you begin studying for your firefighter promotional exam. Read below to find out what learning style you are and to get some tips on how to improve your studying once you know your learning style. 


1. Visual Learner

Visual learners learn by looking at pictures and watching how things are done. 

You are a visual learner if:

  • You have a good sense of direction

  • You learn best by seeing a video/diagram/picture

  • You remember things by visualizing them

  • You enjoy art

If you are a visual learner you should incorporate images into your firefighter studies as much as possible. Utilize graphs and diagrams to help you visualize information. You can even print out pictures and put them on flashcards to help you study. Watch videos whenever possible that are demonstrating what you are learning. YouTube may be your best friend when it comes to studying.


2. Auditory Learner

Auditory learners, learn best by listening and hearing the information.

You are an auditory learner if:

  • You learn best in a lecture setting

  • You enjoy audio books/podcasts

  • You work through complex problem by talking out loud

  • You understand the complexities of music 

If you are an auditory learner your best resource is going to be audiobooks and podcasts. You may not be able to find your giant fire service textbook as an audiobook but it is worth looking. Although there are more and more available out there. You may be able to find podcasts that discuss certain topics that you are studying and researching. Give them a listen and see if that helps you retain the information more than just reading. If you can’t find audiobooks or podcasts, try reading out loud. It may feel ridiculous but see how it helps. Also don’t be afraid to study out loud. Talk through issues with yourself, or with a study group. Online promotional exam study guides can also be hugely beneficial to auditory learners if you read the questions and answers aloud to yourself as you go. 


3. Reading/Writing Learner

Reading/writing learners learn best by reading and writing the information they are studying. 

You are a reading/writing learner if:

  • You learn best by reading textbooks

  • You learn best by writing notes

  • You like making lists

  • You prefer powerpoints/handouts with information on them 

If you are a reading/writing learner, well, get to reading and writing. Read your textbook, but take handwritten notes as you go for double the impact. Online study guides are a great option for reading and writing learners as well. Reading the questions and answers is a perfect opportunity for you to retain the information in the format you are going to be tested in. 


4. Kinesthetic Learner

Kinesthetic learners learn best by doing. 

You are a kinesthetic learner if:

  • You learn through hands-on activities

  • Enjoy working with your hands

  • Can duplicate something after doing it once (good motor memory)

  • You can’t learn until you do it yourself

If you are a kinesthetic learner get as much hands on learning as you can. This one may be harder when it comes to studying for a written firefighter promotional written exam because well, you will still need to read the books to get the information. See if you are able to do hands on training/studying at your station once you have memorized all of the definitions and protocols you can handle. Challenge yourself to find ways to make what can be boring textbook work into hands on training to help you get the most out of your studying. 


The Takeaway

Figuring out what type of learner you are can have a huge impact on the way you study for your firefighter promotional exam and the overall outcome of the exam. Don’t worry if you do not fit in one box, there can be overlap. Don’t shy away from certain learning methods (online study guides, etc.) because they seem like they don’t fit your learning style, see if there is a way to make them work and help you ace your firefighter promotional exam. The more ways you can learn material in different formats the better your retention will be.