The Fire Officer Writing Assignment is one of the most difficult aspects of the fire department promotional exam. There are five key things to remember when participating in the writing portion of your promotional exam. They are:
5 Things to Remember for Fire Officer Writing Assignments
1. Clear a work space
2. Read the instructions
3. Make a plan
4. Be familiar with technology and forms
5. Monitor your time
The average firefighter does not compose documents very often in the course of his or her daily activities in the fire station. Even if a firefighter has a degree, it is likely that he or she may simply be out of practice when it comes to writing. As a result, most firefighters struggle with the writing component of the exam.
The higher the position, the more challenging the writing assignment will be. The fire officer writing assignment portion of the promotional exam will determine which candidates have developed the writing skills commensurate with the position. Like most skills, these can be learned and developed. The only way to become a more accomplished writer is to practice writing.
Begin by clearing a space for you to work. Open the assignment and spread out the documents in front of you. Organize the documents in a way that makes sense to you. Try to get a sense of the scope of the assignment.
Read the instructions carefully before taking any action. Read them a second time to make certain you understand them completely. During the second read through, highlight or circle the deliverables and the timeframes in which you have to complete them.
Deliverables include identifying the number of documents to complete, the objective, the key points to include, the document format, the expected document length, and the time frame you have to complete the assignment. Reading the instructions is a key part of the fire officer writing assignment exam. During exams we often see great documents that are scored poorly because the candidate didn’t completely follow the instructions. Not reading instructions thoroughly can even result in failure of the exercise.
You must ensure that you completely understand the deliverables and the time frame you have to finish the assignment(s). You may be expected to produce a certain number of printed copies or to save your work in a specific location. Be sure to identify the deliverables upfront, not at the end of the exercise when you are pressed for time.
Make a plan – Organize yourself by working backwards. Write down the time the exercise is over. Then write down the time you want to spend proofreading and printing your document. Set your timer.
Quickly brainstorm on a blank piece of paper to gather your thoughts. If writing a memo, follow memo format. If you are writing an essay, have an introduction, body, and conclusion. Outline the key points to include.
Once you are sure you understand the assignment, what should be included in your document and the allotted timeframe, open a blank document or form on your word processor and get started.
Be familiar with the department’s computer technology and forms – many agencies have specific formats for memos and internal documents. You can expect these forms to be available on the computer during your fire officer writing assignment. Be familiar with the purpose for each form, and the appropriate time to use it. Understand how to use the spell check and thesaurus, and how to properly format and print a document. These are basic skills and are available on all word processing programs.
Monitor your time! Allow enough time to create your deliverables, proofread, make corrections, and print them! Ensure you have used complete sentences and there are no grammatical or punctuation errors. Lastly, ensure you have covered all of the topics in the assignment. Fire officer writing assignments are usually graded by writing experts who will ensure that you have followed the instructions, included all of the deliverables, and used correct grammar and punctuation.
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