Memory and Observation for Firefighter Exam Study Guide
This article contains hints and tips to help you answer questions that test your memory and observation skills. Seeing and observing are skills that make a good firefighter a better firefighter.
It's amazing what your mind will file away in that cabinet we call memory. You remember every snippet of dialogue uttered in some obscure movie you saw years ago, but you can't remember which bus route you used yesterday to get to the dentist. Some people remember names well, but can't put them with the right faces. Others forget names quickly, but know exactly when, where, and why they met the person whose name they have forgotten. There are a few lucky individuals with what is commonly referred to as total recall—and then there are those of us who wake up every morning to a radio alarm so we can find out what day of the week it is. Fortunately for most of us, a good memory is actually a skill that can be developed—with the right incentive. A high score on the firefighter exam is plenty of incentive.
Firefighter exams commonly test your short-term memory by presenting you with questions based on drawings or diagrams. Firefighters face situations daily that require split-second decisions based on a glance or a brief study of diagrams, so short-term memory is an important skill. You may be shown a sketch of a building on fire with people at the windows needing rescue, or you may be given a diagram showing the floor plan of a building. Usually you will be given a set amount of time (five minutes is common) to look at the drawing or diagram, and then you will be asked to answer test questions about what you saw without looking back at the drawing. Your goal is to memorize as much of the drawing or diagram as you can in the allotted time.
This article includes tips and techniques for dealing with drawings and diagrams, so you will be prepared to deal with them effectively.
Kinds of Memory and Observation Questions
Firefighter exams include two kinds of memory and observation sections: questions based on a drawing of a fire scene, and questions based on a floor plan or similar kind of diagram.
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