View Poll Results: What best describes how you studied for a written promotional test?

Voters
3. You may not vote on this poll
  • I just read word for word all day long

    0 0%
  • I outlined every book and studied that

    1 33.33%
  • I put in 8 hours then rested for the day

    0 0%
  • I had to get on ADD meds to study & promote

    0 0%
  • I made really detailed notes

    1 33.33%
  • I recorded all of my books and listened while reading

    0 0%
  • I did something else (see reply)

    1 33.33%
Multiple Choice Poll.
  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Panther City, TX
    Posts
    324

    Question Written test advice

    I've got a promotional exam coming up in less than 3 months. 6 books, about 2000 pages of material. The test is 100 questions. Everything in the book is testable. I know my dept isn't the only one who does promotions like this.

    I have a problem focusing while reading and ADD meds haven't worked. I've also got responsibilities as a husband and a father.

    So how do you guys - particularly you husband and fathers - successfully promote? What advice, other than read 12 hours a day cover-to-cover, do you have?

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    488

    Default

    It's impossible to read 12 hours per day and absorb it. Remember, the written exam is simply a qualifier to get to the next step.

    The way I prepared for written exams is the following:
    1. Read the material one time
    2. Read the material a second time and highlight as I go
    3. Go through the highlights and make index cards for the highlighted areas
    Purchase Knight light or Rapid Fire (available from all of the places you can buy fire books). I use these computer software products to test my knowledge IN ADDITION to doing my studying, not in place of it.

    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    www.AspiringFireOfficers.com

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SW Oregon
    Posts
    118

    Default

    Yourself comes first? Your health and person. Next comes the Wife? Then the Child? All very close together. Family. Then the Career perhaps should be somewhat further down the list? What I did was just try to have a complete understanding, (always not completely possible) of the subject matter at hand, then focused on other things. Also in my case I was very happy and cool with just driving a fire engine, (or ladder truck) for a very good ISO Class One fire agency. Worked for me.

    But ... we did start to see the pencil neck geek type of new firefighter who really did not have any other kind of life other than studying for that next promotional test. Usually to the exclusion of most everything else. They tended to promote quickly, but the feeling around the floor was that they actually did not know the difference from their posterior and a hole in the ground. But ... they quickly got the rank. What they did not get was the wisdom to go along with it. There should be a balance.

    Just me. Hope this helps. Absolutely no disrespect implied or intended. HB of CJ (old coot

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    California
    Posts
    488

    Default

    CJ makes a very good point.
    The first thing I recommend is to have a sit down with the spouse. It's important to have their buy in. The way I sold it to my wife (after 10 years as a FF/PM in a very busy system) was that the difference in pay between Captain and FF/PM was almost $1000/month. At the time that was roughly the pay for an overtime shift.

    I explained that I could work one less day per month (and spend it at home with the family) if I promoted to Captain. This would not change our standard of living. The overtimes I would work as a Captain were paid at a higher rate. In addition, not having to follow up with the patient to the hospital would mean that I would get more sleep at night. Lastly, I would no longer be touching the patients which meant I would have less exposure to the patients. Most importantly the pay raise would be for the rest of my life, including in retirement.

    For her this meant that when I was studying, she would have to step up and take the primary role in getting the kids ready for bed (baths, teeth brushed etc.). Fortunately my wife saw the big picture and I was able to promote (I couldn't have done it without her help taking care of the kids and quizzing me with my hundreds of index cards).

    CJ also makes a very valid point about the young guys promoting. Some would say that I fall into that category. Hired at 20, promoted to Captain at 32, Battalion Chief at 39, DC at 45.

    I know that there were guys that were better prepared and better suited to step into the roles (especially the BC rank). When I learned these guys were not taking the test, I studied even harder. I believe in m heart there were guys that would have made better officers that I, but I am not going to squander an opportunity.

    I agree that there should be a balance. The part that I disagree with CJ is that I see the old guys are often not willing to put in the work to get there. The old days of promoting the senior guys (or girls) are long gone.

    As a Chief officer for 10 years, I serve as an evaluator in a bunch of promotional exams. I am weary of the fast talking young guy. I much prefer the "older and seasoned" candidate. Having said that, he or she must have a balance of education, experience and training. Being senior just isn't enough for me.

    Paul Lepore
    Division Chief
    AspiringfireOfficers.com

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