Studying for a promotional test in the fire service can be stressful. If you have a spouse or partner living with you, consider step one a frank discussion of the challenge ahead so that you’re both on the same page. The truth is that a supportive partner means a lot — and may even make the difference between passing and failing. By the same token, not involving your partner from the get-go can set you up for failure. It’s your test, but a fire promotion will benefit you both as a couple and there are meaningful ways your partner can support you. Giving you space and time to focus on studying, shouldering more responsibility at home, and offering encouragement are all helpful, and so are these five ways to get your partner involved as you study for your fire promotion test.
Test your knowledge and retention from your study materials with oral quizzes. As you review material, make an outline — your partner can use it to quiz you. Keep in mind that a well-rounded study strategy means different methods of material delivery, so this is a good addition to online study materials. Plus, your partner may be curious about the material, which can stimulate conversation that helps you develop a deeper understanding of the material (another effective learning strategy, as it happens).
The more you involve your partner during your exam prep, the more you’ll have to discuss. You know you’ve mastered the material when you’re in a position to clearly explain it to someone else, so encourage your partner to ask you questions. Be mindful here, and avoid turning every meal into a study session. But spending a few minutes covering a specific topic before moving on to other points of conversation can be really helpful.
If you’ve made flashcards, you know they work solo. But there’s a difference between thinking through an answer and actually collecting your thoughts enough to verbally respond. Your partner can run through your flashcards with you regularly to make sure you know your stuff.
There’s no better way to practice for an assessment than in front of a crowd — even if it's a crowd of one. Have kids? Include them in your audience. Any gaps in your knowledge will become immediately apparent, and you’ll only benefit from the real-time feedback. This is a great baby step towards presenting in front of live assessors at your fire department promotion assessment center. Encourage your partner to be honest with you, but to remain constructive. And shelve the ego — to make this work, you need to be willing to receive the feedback and build upon what they give you.
Studies show that the ideal length of time to limit study sessions to up to an hour. Even less time may be better for you, because the most important element isn’t the duration of that study window — it’s how focused you can be during that time. Once you determine the timeframe that works best for you to effectively focus, ask your partner to track time for you. Maybe they can bring in a celebratory cup of coffee or treat when you hit your limit.
Involving your significant other can be a huge advantage in your journey to get promoted. Having a common purpose and goal can also help bring the two of you closer together. Taking the time to talk to your spouse and including them in your study strategy can turn a stressful experience into a road to success for your test, and it may even improve your relationship.