One Trick and One Surefire Way to Boost Your Confidence For a Firefighter Promotional Exam


Most firefighters are willing to try just about anything to get an edge on that promotion test. And that makes perfect sense. Getting a promotion is a big deal — a life changer — so of course we look for every advantage we can get. And on quiet days in the firehouse, there’s a lot of time to research tips and tricks for success. If you’re looking for something to better your chances, you’re in the right place. Confidence goes a long way, so today, we’re sharing a little trick and a surefire way to boost confidence for a firefighter promotional exam. 

The Trick — Striking a Power Pose

You’ll need to harness your inner superhero for this trick. Stay with me here, this may sound a little out there, but I’ve used this one and swear by it. A 2012 Harvard study proved that preparatory power posing before entering a high-stakes environment is an effective and free tool that anyone can use. The research states that an open-expansive posture will increase feelings of power, which reduces stress and anxiety. It’s sort of like a Jedi mind trick you use on yourself. The research also found that this kind of power posture helps people feel more positive and in control — exactly what you need come test day. Here’s how to do it.

  • Find a comfortable place in the building where your exam is being conducted. A bathroom, office or empty classroom will work. You just need a spot when you can feel comfortable for a few minutes.

  • There are two poses you can use. Let’s call the first (less practical) pose the “Sitting Like a Boss” pose. You’ll need a chair and desk for this one, so that you can sit down, put your feet up, interlace your fingers behind your head and splay your elbows out. Hold the pose for one minute, taking deep, even breaths.

  • I’ve dubbed the second pose the “Superman” pose, and the good news is you don’t need any props. Just stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands on hips, standing tall. Widen your chest. Cycle through some deep, even breathing for about a minute, and when you walk out of that room, you’ll be feeling pretty good.

The power pose costs nothing and takes literally one minute of your time on test day. Give it a try next time you’re walking into a stressful or high-stakes situation, and you’ll very likely become a believer.

The Surefire Way — Preparing

The power pose works with one caveat — you’ve sufficiently prepared for this test. And the only way to truly feel prepared is by doing the work to become prepared. Of course, it’s normal to feel nervous or tense right before the test, but that’s where the power pose comes in. Feeling your best come test day is dependent upon a lot of hard work leading up to it. It’s not easy, and it can be exhausting. But the pay-off is the knowledge and your familiarity with the test material. Reading books, making flashcards, taking online practice tests, working with study groups — these are all ways to learn the material so you feel confident and prepared on the day of the test. Set your goals, make a plan and then make it happen.

And remember —  on test day, walk into that room like the Superman or Superwoman you are! Because every little thing helps.