Take Notes For Your Fire Promotion Test Like an Expert With These 4 Tips

Taking notes from your textbooks as you work on your firefighter promotional exam prep is not as simple as writing down what you are reading in your textbooks. If you want to take notes that you can use later as study aids you need to do the following. 

  1. Let the Book Work For You

When you begin reading your firefighter promotional exam textbook you may be overwhelmed and not sure what to write down, but the book will tell you. The headings will be in bold and big fonts, keywords will be in bold or italics and so on. Look for the clues your book is giving you for what is important and make sure those items get in your notes. Use your book as a tool to help guide you in the direction of what is important. You can even look to the beginning and end of the chapter for the questions that are asked. Those questions are what the author of the book expects you to understand after reading the chapter. The textbook itself is the best tool to use to understand what you need to know and what you don’t. 

  1. Don’t Write Everything Down

The biggest mistake you can make when taking notes from a textbook is to write everything down. If you are unsure what to put in your notes this may be what you do, but don’t. If you write everything down it will become so overwhelming you likely will never read the notes again. It is too much information for one person to process. Your notes are supposed to be an overview of each chapter of the book, not the book itself. Writing everything down will also take so much more time. You will become burnt out before you even finish the book if you do. When your notes are complete you want to be able to go back and look at them and understand what happened in the chapter by just reading a few sentences or a short paragraph. 

  1. Put Your Notes in Your Own Words

When taking notes from your firefighter promotional exam textbooks you will want to write the notes in your own words, not word for word from the textbook. You want to paraphrase for an overall better understanding of the material. Writing the notes in your own words will allow you to actually understand what you are writing down when you go back to review it. Also paraphrasing the textbook material will shorten the overall length of the notes giving you a more effective study tool. Paraphrasing also gives your brain a chance to actually process the information instead of just copying it down. This is because you are forced to think about the material when you rephrase it, not just robotically copy it down, giving you a better chance of remembering the material come test day. 

  1. Pre-read & Outline

The best way to start your notes is to pre-read the chapter and create an outline as you do. Pre-reading is essentially skimming the chapter, looking at the heading and keywords to get an understanding of what the chapter will be about before you actually dive in and start reading. As you pre-read, make an outline for your notes. Write down headings and keywords you see, leaving enough space to go back and fill in the rest as you read. This will help guide you in your note taking when you go back and read the chapter. This is also a good time to write down any questions you may have about the text as well. I also encourage you to write a short summary at the end of each chapter's notes. 

The Takeaway

As you begin studying your firefighter promotional exam textbooks remember to keep your notes short and concise and in your own words. Use your book as a guide to what is important and what is not. Reading a textbook and taking notes can seem like a daunting task but take it chapter by chapter and it will only get easier as you go.