Preparation for your fire officer promotional test requires a well thought and systematic approach. This approach should include time tables and deadlines of when you want to accomplish certain tasks. The key to success in studying for a promotional exam centers around setting aside the time to get through the material. There is no substitute to learning the material. This includes the department’s policies and procedures and any books that are on the assigned reading list (if there is one).
The first step to preparing for your fire officer promotional test is to get a sense of when the exam will be conducted. Many agencies post a schedule of upcoming exams for the year and even longer. Some agencies test only when there are openings. To ensure you peak with your study program at the right time it’s important to get a feel for when to expect the exam.
The next step in your fire officer promotional test preparation is to seek out the person or persons who scored well on the last exam. They are your best source for information since they were successful in the process. Ask them why they were successful and what advice they would have if they were to have to study again. Where did they score well and where did they leave points on the table. Refrain from speaking to people who were not successful in the exam as they will likely be taking the exam and will be your competition. They probably will not be very forthcoming with information to you, their competition.
Form a study group. Make sure the person or persons you select are 100% committed to studying for the upcoming fire officer promotional test. You do not want to have to continually motivate your partner to study. You want to select someone who is inherently motivated and will pick you up when you are losing momentum or are having a bad day. Identify your group early. As the exam gets closer, people will align with a group of allies. These groups generally will not allow others to enter and will be very protective of the information. Remember, everything is shared with the group. Those who are secretive will not benefit the group.
For your fire officer promotional test preparation to be successful, you should meet regularly as a group. If a member is on duty, make sure you get permission form the officer and check the calendar to make sure it’s clear. Identify goals of what you want to get accomplished during the meeting. Minimize the shop talk and get to work. Before the meeting has concluded set up a time for the next meeting and be clear of the expectations for the next one. For example, next meeting will include a review of policies and procedures chapters 1-4. Each member of the group will develop 5 questions per chapter for a total of 20 questions. Please bring a flash drive with your questions and a hard copy of the questions. The flash drive is passed to each member, so they can add each other’s questions to a data bank of questions.
Identify subject matter experts that can assist your group. An example would be to meet with a reputable chief officer to learn about the emergency scene simulations, personnel issues, or to meet with the admin analyst to learn about the budget. Each member will set up an appointment, so the group can meet and learn.
Make sure you are prepared for your sessions. Do not show up unprepared as you will quickly develop a reputation as someone who is not contributing to the group. Instead, be focused and be prepared. You will earn the respect of your peers and you will likely have a good handle on the information. This will serve you well during the exam and when you get promoted.
Studying for a fire officer promotional test is a major commitment. Ideally you only have to take the test once. Setting up a plan that includes a focused study group will help you be successful in your endeavors. Best of luck. For more information visit AspiringFireOfficers.com