Time and the
Police and Law Enforcement News
Wednesday, January 16, 2013 11:15 a.m.
If you could make
a list of how many hours each officer from your agency will spend
preparing and studying for the promotional exam, how close would that
list be to the list that will eventually be released by the Civil
Service Commission ranking all of the candidates by score?
My guess is that
they would be almost identical.
Gladwell examined in his book Outliers what factors contribute to those
who become masters in their field. His ultimate conclusion pointed to
the "10,000 Hour Rule."
concluded, if you put 10,000 hours of practice in toward a particular
field, you will become a master in that field.
Some embraced this
concept while others mocked it.
We bring it up in
the context of the promotional exam to demonstrate a point: you have to
put in the time.
Now, 10,000 hours
equates to approximately five years of working a 40-hour-per-week job.
No promotional exam candidate is going to put it anything remotely close
But, how many
hours will you invest in this effort?
There are no
shortcuts for this exam. There is a mountain of information to be
digested. It will require a great commitment, and this means a great
amount of time.
The top tier
candidates will invest several hours each day, every day.
This time will be
rotated through reading, practice exams, preparing note cards,
constructing legal breakdowns, etc.
commitment is absolutely inescapable.
Getting back to
the 10,000 Hour Rule for a moment, most would agree that the quality of
the time is as important as the amount of time. When you are turning
pages but not retaining anything, it is dead time. It doesn't count.
Everyone will have
hours and even days like that, but you have to work through it. Again,
there is a mountain of information to be consumed.
recommend that, prior to commencing the study effort, candidates
prepare, prepare, prepare. And part of that preparation includes
setting up a schedule for what is going to be studied and when.
You cannot wing it
with this amount of information. You have to have an organized plan.
Plus, you have to leave time to go back and review, re-read, and test
yourself on what you have already studied.
The best outcome
would be to create a plan and manage to stay a few days ahead of
schedule. This will give you extra time to go back and hit the areas
where you may need more work.
Time management is
an extremely important component of the study effort. The study
schedule you make for yourself should be reviewed every day.
Click here for the Promotional Exam Resource Center main page.