ADSC Pirbright Experience

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I have recently completed my ADSC assessment at Pirbright and found that reading through posts like these beforehand was very useful and reassuring so I thought I’d provide an up to date experience for others going into ADSC in the near future.

For the sake of security I won’t be putting any meeting places or times on here!

Day 0 –
You are expected to arrive at ADSC Pirbright the evening before your selection date so that they can process you smoothly and this allows you to start as a group the second you wake up in the morning (Plus it means a free breakfast so can’t complain!).

I personally wanted to arrive around half an hour early so that I could mingle with the group and get to know the lads which, in my mind, would make the ice-breaker and team tasks easier as I would already be comfortable with everyone. When I arrived, it was easy to spot those who were there for selection. There was around 5-6 lads congregated some wearing suits, some wearing sportswear but all with luggage. It was a little awkward at first however as soon as you introduce yourself and start talking it’s all good. We waited around for the rest of the guys doing selection to turn up (In the end there was around 40 of us) before the coach came to pick us up. As soon as the coach arrived a Corporal stepped off and ordered us into 2 ranks and inspected our I.D, gave us our number for the next 2 days and searched through our luggage to make sure we weren’t bringing weapons/alcohol onto the camp. Once that was all done we were on the coach (I would find someone to sit next to and start talking to them as soon as you get on the coach otherwise you will be frantically looking for someone when the Corporal comes on and orders you to sit next to someone).

It was a short 10 minute drive to the camp and once we were all off the coach with our belongings we were all ordered into 3 ranks while the staff introduced themselves and briefed us on what was going to happen that evening. Once the brief was over we all went to go and put our belongings into the accommodation and all went into the briefing room to take our seats. On the back of each seat was a bib with our numbers on them. We put our bibs on and sat down, we were then known for the rest of selection as that number. Once seated the staff came in, welcomed us and briefed us on what selection was going to be about, gave us some paperwork to fill in, a water bottle (Do not lose this!) and a urine sample pot.

We were then asked one at a time to stand up and say our name, our age, where we were from, what regiment and trade we wanted to go into and something interesting about ourselves (I believe this is now the icebreaker). This was quite funny as some people had pretty interesting facts and the staff told us some of their interesting facts and stories. This is where people’s nerves started to calm and overall helped the group start to come together. Once we were all clued up on what was going to happen the next morning we all disappeared off to our accommodation and had the evening to ourselves to complete paperwork, fill up the urine pot and sort out our own admin and to get an early night. Lights out was 22:00.

Day 1 –

Lights came on at 05:15 and it was time for everyone to get up, get dressed (Tracksuits & T-shirts), brush their teeth, make sure their documents were signed, make sure their educational certificates, driving licence and passports were with their documents and make sure their urine pots were filled if they hadn’t filled them the night before.

Breakfast was at 06:30 and was a choice of full English or continental and predictably all 40 lads chose full English. You enter the scoff house, wash your hands, collect cutlery and tray and wait to be called forward by the chefs and corporal. You are to take your plate to the food so as not to spill things such as beans. If you need to be told this more than once you will get picked up on it and it will be a mark against your name and you will end up cleaning the spills up later!

After breakfast we were back in the briefing room for a brief about what the day will consist of. We were then ordered to fall in outside in three ranks with your urine sample for a tour of the assessment centre and to drop your samples off to the med centre. Once the tour was complete we were put into another briefing room for another brief on how the assessment centre works and how we are all going to complete the day’s tasks. There were three sets of things to do. Physical tests, Army Cognitive Test & Technical Selection Test and the medical. We were split up into three groups and I ended up doing the ACT & TST first (TST is multiple choice & you get a calculator), then the jerry can walk and power bag lift and then the medical. The medical will take around 3-5 hours to complete and you will do heart, hearing and vision tests and then finally a meeting with the doctor where you will discuss medical history and he will ask you any questions he might have. You then strip down to underwear and perform various tasks so the doctor can see that all your limbs are in working order (Don’t get embarrassed, they see 40 people every day in their underwear and they couldn’t care less). In between all of these tasks you will have lunch which will consist of a hot meal and a piece of fruit and/or yogurt.

After all this is done you will have dinner which again is a hot meal with a choice of hot and cold deserts and you will then have a final briefing in the evening telling you what is to come tomorrow such as the grenade test, the run, team tasks, and the interview. After this brief the evening is yours however most were looking to get an early night. Lights out at 22:00

Day 2 –

Up again at 05:15 however you will notice that the pace of the day will be a lot quicker than the day before. You will have breakfast at 06:30, again wash your hands and plate to food. After breakfast you will go down to the assessment centre and sit in a briefing room and listen to a PT brief which will teach you what to eat, how to train, what to expect in phase 1 fitness wise, the 1.5m test route and it will give you a chance to digest your breakfast before the run. After this brief we were again ordered to form up in 3 ranks and walked over to the start of the 0.5 mile warm-up. We jogged the 0.5 warm-up as a squad and I found the pace to be moderate however during the warm-up there was periods of jogging, running and walking so it really isn't straining. Once this was done, we all lined up at the start of the 1.5mile route and the staff would say 3, 2, 1 and we were all off. The route is flat tarmac and honestly feels a lot shorter than it is. I finished at around 10mins and was in the middle of the group (They will not tell you your run time until your interview so the results don’t affect the team tasks). After this run they walk you back to the assessment centre, line you up and get you to do cool down stretches.

We then went back into the briefing room, ditched our bibs and got changed into coveralls and put helmets on to start the grenade lesson/test. The grenade lesson is very simple however if you do not listen you will go sprinting as a group. After you learn about the grenade you will then line up in twos at the beginning of the grenade lane, crawl up it and once at the top, throw the grenade and yell ‘GRENADE!’ as loudly as you can. The louder you shout, the better your score.

After this was the team tasks which is where you are split into teams of around 6-8 to complete various tasks and get across various obstacles. Just remember to listen to everyone, throw your ideas out there, play your part in the team, motivate everyone else and give 110% or you will go sprinting as a group. Remember to listen to what the staff say as they do ask questions and you will do well.

After this you will go back to the accommodation and get changed into your Sunday finest ready for your interview & clear away the bedding that you’ve used and put fresh bedding on for the next selection group. You will all wait in the briefing room and will get called one at a time to conduct your interview. Depending on how you did will depend on how long the interview will last. They will tell you how you performed in all your tests, what grade you got and what regiment/trade you would like to go into and whether you have any questions. I walked away with a high A which I was very happy with.

After that you get back on the coach, you’ll get ferried back to the station and you’ll either jump on the train with all the lads you got to know over the last 2 days or you’ll end up down the pub celebrating.

It really isn't anything to worry about, I was very nervous on the way to selection but I ended up having a lot of fun and a great laugh with all the lads. Just make sure your practising the 1.5 mile run with a .5 mile warm-up, ensure you are working on your upper body strength for the jerry can and power bag lift. and if your going into REME, RE, signals etc. remember to brush up on your maths for the TST!


Remember you are being assessed from the minute the corporal steps off the coach
Don’t put your hands in your pockets or fold your arms
Be respectful calling everyone staff/sir or ma’am
Give 110% in everything you do
Do not lose your water bottle (Pretend this is your rifle)
Listen & remember what you are told
Be nice & friendly to everyone; some people will be there to just cock around and will not pass selection. Don't let it effect yours
Relax & enjoy it, it is a lot of fun and you can have a laugh in your free time
If you don’t do as well as you had hoped or you fail something – don’t stress, you will have chances to repeat things, if you fail the run or the team tasks, you do not have to do the 2 days again, you will just come back for those things.
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