Army Officer Selection Board
Army Officer Selection Board.
The successor to the Regular Commissions Board or RCB and its TA equivalents. Based at Leighton House, in the delightful* town of Westbury in Wiltshire.
'Appen that when I were a lad, preparation for RCB consisted of reading The Daily Telegraph for a week or two, going for a couple of runs and getting a decent haircut; then turning up at Westbury and going with the flow. That's all changed now, and an astonishing 76.8% of all traffic on Arrse consists of anxious AOSB candidates enquiring about how much they need to bribe the DS, and what sort of haircut they should have. My how times have changed!
Actually, the old way is the best. AOSB is really a test of who you are and what your potential could be, and the DS are likely to see through the over-prepared candidate fairly quickly. If you can think clearly, act decisively and lead intelligently, this will shine through over the course of AOSB and you will have earned your ticket to RMAS.
The AOSB is in two parts:
AOSB Briefs run throughout the year on weekdays or weekends. Depending on which you attend you will either start on a Monday and finish on a Tuesday or start on a Saturday and finish at Sunday lunchtime. As the name indicates the aim is to brief candidates on the Army, the AOSB process in general and to conduct tests on a candidate's aptitude. The atmosphere of the Briefing is reasonably relaxed: it's there to help so if you have any questions or don't understand something that has been explained to you, ask away.
Mental Aptitude Profile Tests (Verbal/Numerical/Abstract Reasoning)
Planning Exercise Tutorial
Individual interview with Group Leader
Debrief on the planning exercise.
Practical Techniques Lessons
Physical Tests (MSFT - bleep test and short obstacle test; you're shown how to do correct press-ups and sit-ups but you don't actually get tested)
At the end of this short assessment each candidate gets a one-on-one debrief interview and is told their category.
- Cat 1 - Proceed to Main board when ready
- Cat 2 - Suffixed with a 3/6/12/18/24 month period; proceed to Main Board after this period has elapsed. A Cat 2:x is usually down to fitness issues or age/inexperience.
- Cat 3 - The board doesn't think you will pass Main Board, but you allowed to attend if you wish to prove them wrong.
- Cat 4 - The board believes you are unsuitable for officer training - you will not be permitted to continue with your application.
You can appeal against a Cat 4 but you need to be realistic: you've almost certainly got it because you have a poor score on the Mental Aptitude Profile, indicating that you will struggle with the Main Board and Sandhurst. It doesn't mean that AOSB thinks you're stupid or unintelligent, it just means that you don't have the right aptitudes.
Which brings us to the...
Having passed the briefing stage the applicant moves to the Main board, which takes place over four days. After arriving the candidates become mere numbers and colours, designated by the bibs they are given.
Candidates will undergo most of the same tests that they experienced during the Briefing phase. However there are some more things to do.
- Lead command tasks
- More interviews
- Current affairs tests
- A five minute lecturette on a given subject.
Arrival, kit issue, introductory talk from President/Vice President
Physical tests - MSFT, press-ups, sit ups.
Psychometric testing - MAP, MAT DE, 15FQ+, essay, military knowledge test, general knowledge test.
Interviews - Deputy President, Education Advisor, Vice-President
Opening Tasks - 3 x leaderless command tasks
Planning exercise revision tutorial
Planning exercise discussion
Individual obstacle course
Presidential interviews (if applicable)
Formal dinner night
Closing address by President
Final boarding conference
At the end of the Main Board there is a formal dinner in the Candidate's mess, this is the first time (apparently) the candidates aren't under supervision and are allowed to let themselves relax. Classic stories abound of indiscretions committed on the dinner night. e.g. lass found being Spit-Roasted on the pool table in the mess bar and episodes of what, at the time, appeared to be heroic drinking.
Some tips on passing the main board can be found here AOSB tips.
In summary, the AOSB needs to be taken seriously and prepared for adequately. However, you will not succeed in pretending to be something you are not for the duration of the assessment, so don't bother trying. If you have the qualities that they are looking for and you are mentally and physically fit and prepared, you will pass.
- Not really. It's a dump inhabited by people who look like the inbred descendants of retarded hobbits.