Maximize Your Firefighter Promotional Exam Group Study Sessions With These 7 Tips

Studying with others while working on your firefighter promotional exam prep can be a great way to prepare for the written exam and other aspects of the promotion process. If you want to make the most of these study sessions and utilize them to the fullest follow these tips. 

  1. Use the First Session to Connect

When you and your study group plan your first study session plan for it to be a casual hangout more than studying. Use this first study session as an opportunity to get to know each other. You will likely be seeing these people again in a professional setting and having professional connections can be beneficial. More importantly though, take this time to explore each other's strengths and weaknesses when it comes to studying and test taking. This way when you really get into the work of it all, every person can help in a way that benefits everyone in the group to the fullest. Maybe someone really loves reading and can come to each session with a summary of the text, while another person prepares study questions because they enjoy challenging others. Use the first study session as an opportunity to get to know your new study crew so you can maximize everyone's strengths and support each other’s weaknesses. 

  1. Make Some Rules

In addition to getting to know each other during your first study session, be sure to use that time to set some ground rules. You need to set expectations of everyone involved in the study group from day one to avoid conflict. Doing this allows everyone, from the very start, to know what is expected of them in your study group and avoid any “free loaders.” For example, everyone comes to the session prepared having read the text you are going to cover that day ready to discuss or everyone comes up with ten questions to quiz each other on and so on. Be sure to set up study locations and times and get the groundwork for your future plans set. Have consequences to avoid wasting everyone's time, such as if you come unprepared more than two times you’re out of the group, or if you come late three times and so on. It seems harsh but a study group is a place where everyone needs to contribute and pull their weight, not just a place for you to come to be taught everything. Everyone in the group needs to be on the same page from day one or things can get awkward and the group becomes more drama than studying and no one has time for that. 

  1. Participate

When you come to your study sessions, if you truly want to maximize the experience and get the most of it you must participate. Some people join study groups and just want to be a bystander, absorbing the knowledge everyone else is sharing, but you will get so much more out of it if you participate fully. Come to the session with any questions you may have about the material you are working on. Be open to sharing your knowledge with your other group members and be willing to work with them through the areas they are struggling because not only are you helping them, but teaching is a beneficial study technique. You have to give, not just take from your study group. 

  1. Make Group Goals

A great way to get the most out of any group study session is to come up with some goals both long-term and per session. Having goals for each individual session as well as some broader goals will help keep your study sessions on track. Each member should be able to share their individual goals, whether that be making connections in the fire service, getting a certain score on their promotional exam and so on. Collectively you all have one goal, to pass the firefighter promotional written exam and get promoted, but having smaller goals for each section, like mastering a certain topic helps everyone stay on topic and focused. 

  1. Go Somewhere Everyone is Comfortable

To make the most of your study sessions go to a place that is comfortable and convenient for everyone involved in your group. You may offer to host study sessions, but some people may be uncomfortable going to someone's home they don't know well. Cafes and other locations that offer wifi may work for some people but may be noisy and distraction filled for others. Let everyone suggest a place and pick the one that everyone is most comfortable with. If there is some disagreement around this rotate locations so everyone has a place of their choosing occasionally. Not everyone can always be happy but you can at least put the effort into trying. 

  1. Be Open

One of the best things you can do for yourself if you are forming or joining a study group to help you study for your firefighter promotional exam is to come with an open mind. It is important that you are open to new people but also new ideas. Studying with others gives you a great opportunity to learn new study methods you may have not thought of on your own. These will only benefit you though if you don’t get stuck in your ways and give them a try even if they seem odd or ineffective to you. You can learn a lot if you come into a group setting with an open mind ready to learn, both about firefighting, and who knows what else. 

  1. Be Respectful

The most important thing you need to do when you join a study group is to be respectful. Doing anything in a group is a recipe for butting heads but it doesn't have to be. So be on time to your group sessions, let everyone speak and be heard, have civil discussions, and so on. Everyone preparing for their firefighter promotional exam is experiencing an extra level of stress in their lives so go in with that in mind and just be respectful. 

The Takeaway

Studying with others can be beneficial but it also comes with its unique challenges. If you decide to be a part of a study group when the time comes for you to study for your firefighter promotional exam be sure to utilize these tips so you and everyone in your group can get the most out of each and every session so you all can pass your exam and move towards promotion in the fire service.