Getting into the studying and learning groove can be difficult as an adult. When you are working on your firefighter promotional exam prep you need to have a plan in place for your study session so you can get the most out of it and not just waste your time.
The first thing you need to do is make a plan. Spend the first five minutes or so, no more, deciding what material you will focus on and in what format. For example, you will be reading your hazardous material textbook and taking notes. Or you will be taking online practice tests based off of a certain book you have already completed. You need to go into your study session with an idea of what you want to accomplish in that time period.
Next, start studying. Ideally you will know how long you have available to spend studying. Anywhere from 45 minutes to no more than four hours. I know it may seem like a good idea to devote the whole weekend to studying, which may work for some, but most of the time it will not. Studying for long periods of time can lead to fatigue, which will make thinking and learning extremely difficult. This is due to a buildup of toxins in the brain that disrupt neural connections. This basically means even if you are reading and quizzing yourself nothing is actually getting through in your brain and it is just a waste of time. If you study over an hour it is critical that you take a break every hour for a minimum of ten minutes in order to give your brain a break and a chance to process all of the new information you are throwing at it. If you do decide you are going to study for more than four hours be sure to take much longer breaks throughout your study session.
As said above, after every hour of studying you need to take a break. Taking breaks while you study will help you process the information. After every 45 minutes to an hour of studying, give yourself at least ten minutes to do anything else besides studying. Going for a walk or having a snack are great break options.
Once you come back to studying from your break, you should do a little review. If you only plan on studying for an hour and this is the end of your studying for the day, still come back and review. This will give you the opportunity to figure out what you still need to work on for your next study session while it is still fresh in your mind. You may also have figured some problems out while you were breaking without even realizing it. If you still have more studying to do after you review, get back to it, but don’t forget to follow your plan and keep taking regular breaks.
The framework for a successful study doesn’t have to be complicated. Give yourself an allotted amount of time to work, make a plan and get to it. Don’t let your studying consume you though, take lots of breaks and try to make your sessions only a couple hours long so your brain doesn’t get overworked.