SMART Goal Setting To Study For Your Firefighter Promotional Exam

The best way to work on your firefighter promotional exam prep and pass your firefighter promotional exam is to set goals for yourself before you even crack open a book. Setting those goals may be easier said than done for some though; here are some tips to make them achievable. 

SMART Goals Explained


The first step to setting SMART goals is to make your goals specific. The more specific, the clearer it is when they are met because you know exactly what you want to accomplish. For example when it comes to studying, you can say “I will study 10 hours a week by studying Monday through Friday from 4pm to 6pm.” Or you can say “I will read two textbook chapters a day and have the next 10 chapters of this book completed in five days.” 


The next step to SMART goals is making the goals measurable. If your goals are measurable you will know when you meet them, which is why specific goals are good goals.  So a very simple measurable goal would be “I want to pass the firefighter promotional exam on the first go round.” Or you could say you want to get a 90 percent on the exam when you take it. Or when taking practice tests you can say you won’t stop studying until you get all of the answers right in one go. All of these goals have very clear measurable endpoints that make it very clear when the goal is met.  


The A in SMART stands for attainable. Do not set goals for yourself you know you cannot reach. It is great to dream and challenge yourself, but setting unattainable goals will set you up for failure.  Do not plan to study five hours everyday if you have a busy life because you won’t be able to meet that goal and you will be met with feelings of inadequacy when you fail to reach it. Do not set the goal of passing the firefighter promotional exam if you do not plan to read the textbooks or study at all because you will be met with failure. Do set goals that include a reasonable amount of study time each week, spread out over a good chunk of time. Set yourself up for success by making goals you know you can reach, but also give yourself some challenges as well to help push you and motivate you. You know yourself better than anyone. You know what you can do and what you are willing to do with your time. So set study goals that fit your schedule and lifestyle that still result in your passing your promotional exam. 


The fourth letter in SMART goals stands for realistic, sometimes interchanged with relevant. Keep your goals in the framework of your firefighter promotional exam. Ask yourself, how is this short-term goal helping you meet your long-term goal of passing your firefighter promotional exam. Are all of these small goals on par with you meeting your larger goal of getting promoted in the fire service. Then ask yourself if all of these goals are achievable, just as you did with attainable. 


Lastly you want to make sure your goals are time-specific. Luckily with the firefighter promotion process some of those specific times will be set for you, like your written exam test date, your assessment center date, oral interview and so on. However, you are responsible for being prepared and ready for all of these dates. So you need to have time-specific goals for when you will complete your studying to pass the exam and when you complete your oral interview prep to be prepared for that section. Your goals need to remain consistent with all of these preset scheduled portions of the firefighter promotion process. Create more frequent deadlines for yourself to complete things such as reading textbooks, reviewing material and so on. That is why you want to set your goals early on and adjust them as you go. This way you will be as prepared as possible for each element of the promotion process when they take place. 

The Takeaway

Setting goals seems simple enough, but when you look at all of the things you need to do to prepare for your firefighter promotion, it may not be as simple after all. Take the time to set your goals for yourself using the SMART method as soon as you decide to promote so when the time comes for testing, you are as prepared as possible for every element of the firefighter promotional exam and other portions of the process.