A very common component of the promotional exam is the writing assignment. Many exams include a writing portion because; once you are promoted, you are expected to create emails, memos, evaluations and respond to citizen inquiries on a regular basis. The department needs to ensure that its officers are able to produce documents that are professional, grammatically correct and that follow the proper format. Unfortunately, most firefighters struggle in the writing portion of their assessment center because they lack practice and exposure to what a correct document looks like once it is created.
The writing assignment in your promotional exam will be graded on several dimensions. Each of the dimensions represents areas where the prepared candidate can maximize their score and achieve their promotion. The only way to score well in your exam is to practice writing, not just to improve your spelling and grammar but also to widen your understanding of a variety of fire service topics.
Members will have full access to examples of completed assignments, including:
• Disciplinary notices of discussion
• Oral reprimands
• Written reprimands
• Various memos
• Administrative staff reports
• Response letters to citizens
• Essays on contemporary fire service topics
• Performance improvement plans
In addition to the documents above, members will be able to review the completed documentation based on the eight video counseling scenarios from the Employee Counseling section of AspiringFireOfficers.com.
In addition to the over 30 writing assignments and completed documents we’ve just discussed, members will have access to our Writing Assignment section, which includes our custom instructional video video titled, “The Writing Assignment”. This video provides valuable insight into the writing portion of the exam and offers tips on how to improve your writing. Finally, we supply templates to help you complete your writing assignments that you can then use once you achieve your promotion.
The daily responsibilities of a firefighter simply do not demand much writing. In addition, most firefighters do not have years of college experience writing essays and term papers prior to getting hired or it has been years since they graduated. These compounding factors often make the writing portion one of the most intimidating parts of the promotional exam. Many times the writing portion has the highest failure rate and often accounts for the highest point spread between candidates.
Those who have a degree, are currently in school, who have worked in a staff assignment, or, perhaps, have some involvement on the Union Board have a distinct advantage over their competition simply because they are used to completing writing assignments on a regular basis. The only method available to you, to improve your writing proficiency and move past your competition, is to write.
The writing portion of the exam can cover a wide variety of topics and may not be specific to the fire service. You must have a good understanding of the most common topics found in writing exercises so that you aren’t surprised during the writing portion. It won’t matter how well you can write, if you don’t have any content to write about.
In addition, the formatting of the document may vary; depending on the assignment you are given in the exam. A response to a citizen inquiry is written differently than a proposal written to your Battalion Chief. It’s very important to know which format is appropriate in a given situation, if you hope to maximize your score.
Finally, the writing portion of the assessment center is usually timed. You will only have a short period of time to develop your document, format it properly, and check it for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Having a predetermined, and practiced system, is the only way to be successful in the short time you will be given.
Oftentimes your completed writing assignment will then be sent to a writing expert, like a college English professor, and scored for format, content, grammar and punctuation. You can understand your assigned topic very well but still score poorly in the exam if you fail to utilize proper punctuation and grammar.
As an added bonus, members receive access to our video, titled “Raters”. This video created just for members of AspiringFireOfficers.com provides insight into how the assessment center operates from the rater’s perspective and describes how the raters are able to effectively score your assessment center, even though they may be from an organization unfamiliar with your department.
The writing exercises provided on AspiringFireOfficers.com are real life, properly executed examples of fire service documents including written proposals and department memorandums. We are confident that they will help you with the writing portion of your upcoming promotional exam, maximizing your score and assisting you to achieve your promotion.
Click on the following to see FREE examples:
Backing accident notice of discussion – ASSIGNMENT
Backing accident notice of discussion – DOCUMENTATION
Citizen complaint – ASSIGNMENT
Citizen Complaint Memo – DOCUMENTATION
Leadership essay – ASSIGNMENT
Leadership essay – DOCUMENTATION