Two Reasons a Suit (or Dress) is Non-Negotiable When you Take your Firefighter Promotional Exam


Your firefighter promotional exam prep is complete and it’s the morning of your fire department promotional exam. You shower, eat breakfast and throw on a suit or dress. All three are critical, especially the dress clothes. But don’t take my word for it. That advice comes courtesy of the New York Times, in an article outlining why what you wear for your test is just as important as how you’ve prepared. When you take your firefighter promotional exam, here are two reasons a suit (or a dress) is non-negotiable.

1. Instant Confidence Boost

When was the last time you got really dressed up? Maybe it was a friend’s wedding, or the interview to get the job you have now. Odds are high you felt pretty good when you looked in the mirror. After all, there’s a reason it’s called a power suit —  dressing up changes your whole mood. And it stands to reason that wearing a suit to your firefighter promotional exam will give you a confidence boost you didn’t even know you needed, at the best possible time — right before you walk through the door to take the test.

Think of it as a costume. When a kid dresses up as, say, a firefighter for Halloween, they start to feel like a firefighter. They run around with their fake hose pretending to put out fires. They feel strong and powerful —  all because they put on this costume. So put on that power suit, remind yourself that you’re a professional, and go ace that test.

And if you’re wondering whether confidence matters that much when it comes to test-taking, stop wondering, because there’s a positive relationship between test scores and confidence. In other words, if you go into the test feeling confident, studies show you’ll do better on the test. It’s well documented that academic performance is linked to confidence, and students (even adult students like you) with higher levels of confidence tend to have better problem-solving skills. That’s because they don’t just give up on a hard question, they keep working on the problem until they find a solution. So there you go —  opting for the suit or dress will give you a quick, easy confidence boost and improve your overall test score. 

2. Science Says So 

Clothes have an impact on our thought processes and can improve our psychological state and ultimately our test scores. This is because every article of clothing has a personal stereotype that makes a person feel a certain way. So identify the power suit in your closet as your “success suit” when you put it on, and wear it the day of your test. Wearing an outfit that makes you feel good can reduce stress and heighten attention, resulting in an increase in overall test performance. It’s a package deal for women, so spend some time getting ready to look and feel your best on test day.

The Takeaway

What you wear matters. Spend some time picking out the perfect outfit to wear the day of your firefighter promotional exam. And when test day rolls around, pull on that power suit and enjoy checking yourself out in the mirror. Then, go ahead and strike that power pose.