Make sure you know the exact location of the examination. It is a good idea to do a test run to find out the time frame it will take you to get to the examining site. Remember that if it is a weekday and the examination is at 9:00 a.m., you will have to factor in rush hour traffic. Remember, an accident on your route could cause you to be late for the examination. Allow yourself at least an additional 45-50 minutes if you will be driving at a busy time period. You should arrive at the examination site at least 30 minutes ahead of time. This gives you adequate time in the event of any problem. Bring along this booklet to review the strategies and questions during the extra time you will have.
Upon arriving at the examination site, give yourself a chance to get your thoughts together and relax. To relieve anxiety, take 4-5 deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling slowly. This will help release any anxiety that you may have. Always remember, it is better to have some anxiety and be well prepared for your examination than to have no anxiety and be unprepared.
Many examinations are held in large auditoriums or halls. It is a good idea to bring a light sweater or sweatshirt that you can put on before the test.
You will find that most firefighter examinations have a 2-3 hour time limit. You should build up to concentrating for these extended periods of time. If the examination is 3 hours, you want to be just as sharp at the end as you were at the beginning. Take some type of snack with you to eat after the second hour of testing to keep your blood sugar up. This will increase your concentration level and keep you from becoming drowsy.
About the author: Brent Collins is currently Assistant Fire Chief, Cleveland Fire Department and President of Don McNea Fire School. He is a very generous and helpful person and is always available to help with your goal to become a firefighter. Visit his website for more information on test taking strategies and advice.