The Army Officer Selection Board (AOSB) is the official British Army assessment that all army officers must pass before taking on the role. Its purpose is to determine if the candidates have enough drive and potential to succeed as army officers.
The AOSB contains multiple different parts spread out over three days. This includes psychometric tests as well as tests focused on physical fitness. During this time four main aspects are being assessed: intellect, practical ability, physical ability and personality.
The first day consists of an introductory talk to prepare you for your trip, psychometric tests measuring your cognitive abilities and personality, a written essay on current affairs and a tutorial to prepare you for the planning exercise.
The second day consists of a planning exercise to test problem solving, an outdoor task to demonstrate group work, a 5-minute presentation on a topic from your CV and an interview where you will be asked about your experience and interests.
The third day consists of a multi-stage fitness test, a command task where you demonstrate leadership skills and an individual timed task course.
Throughout all of these tasks, the board will be monitoring how you perform and how you behave.
Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for the Army Officer Selection Board.
1. Research the part of the army you want to serve in
The army has a wide variety of jobs to choose from, so it is best to understand and research the area you want to focus on. If you are unsure you can use the role finder page on the army website. Demonstrating useful knowledge about the part of the army you want to serve in can support your application.
2. Familiarize yourself with cognitive and personality assessments
Cognitive ability and personality are two areas that are tested during the three days of the AOSB. Unlike other aptitude tests, cognitive assessments can be much wider and focus on a range of skills, such as numerical reasoning and abstract reasoning. They are determining your knowledge and abilities, which is difficult to do with one type of question. Look at the different tests online and practice beforehand. Personality assessments focus on your personality traits such as preference, interest and motivation.
3. Use the Army Fit app
Army Fit is a free app that focuses on training and fitness built by the British army for prospective recruits. Within this app, you can track and meet any fitness goal from losing weight to improving distance running.
By using this app, you can improve your physical fitness, making sure you are at your strongest and fastest by the time you attend the AOSB. Most people use this app for 5-6 weeks before attending the boards, but there is no limit on how long you can use it.
4. Stay up-to-date on current affairs
One section of the assessment is to write an essay focused on a current issue in the news. To make sure you are ready for this you must be aware of what has been happening around the world over the past six months.
You can do this by reading online publications, such as the BBC or Sky news. It is useful to read a range of topics including politics, business and climate, focusing on the UK as well as what is happening abroad.
5. Practice answers to interview questions
It is important you are interview-ready and have researched common interview questions for the AOSB. These questions could include information about the ranks, the discipline, being away from family members for an extended amount of time, or any other topic that would be relevant to the army. Online you can find practice questions with sample answers.
6. Enhance your problem solving skills
In the army, you will need to be able to problem solve and it is a key skill being assessed during the AOSB. Practicing online logical reasoning aptitude tests can support you. The more experience you gain the more confident you’ll be during the three days.
The key aspects of problem solving are being able to make a choice and feel confident in your decision. This is strengthened by using logical and decisive choices.
7. Remain calm
The AOSB can be very daunting and with four days of being assessed, it is understandable that people get stressed. A key part of succeeding is staying calm.
Once you are part of the army, you’ll be in a much more stressful situation, but being able to remain calm and get on with the task is a useful and effective skill. If you have difficulty staying calm you can meditate, go for a walk or redirect your thoughts to positivity.
8. Be positive
Being positive is crucial in these situations. Even if one section goes wrong, there is a wide range of different situations for you to be assessed in. Don’t let one mistake ruin the next few days. It is important to remember that no single event will lead to an automatic failure.
Staying positive and believing in yourself can improve your performance as well as your confidence, both things which are being assessed.
9. Stick to a sleep schedule
Without enough sleep, you won’t be able to function for three days. Stick to a strict and sensible sleep schedule where you are getting plenty of sleep. This may mean going to bed at an earlier time to ensure you get all of your hours in.
To have a successful sleep schedule, you may have to adjust your pre-bed routine to reduce any caffeine and lower your screen time.
10. Maintain a balanced diet
Eat balanced meals. For the AOSB you need lots of energy, so stock up on protein to keep your body and brain active for the whole three days.
By eating a balanced meal your body and mind will feel stronger, making the different tasks more doable. Within a balanced diet, it is important to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day, as well as high-fiber foods, such as potatoes and bread.