AOSB Main Board - Everything You Need To Know

#1
Previously been through the process once before, did some research on it to find a detailed diary. There is currently no "Main Board" diaries on ARRSE, only 1 briefing diary and a few other people who have provided little bits of information.

So I thought I would share the information I have found. I can confirm that this is exactly the process I undertook when I went in January 2019.

Source: reddit.com/r/britishmilitary/comments/9j1ave/aosb_advice/
Credit: PoachTWC

Introduction

The Main Board is a 3.5 day assessment event that will test you on a range of physical and mental tasks to determine your suitability as a potential Army officer. It is held in the same place as the Brief and many of the exercises you undertake will have been covered to some degree at Brief.

Day One

As on Brief, you're first issued a room and the relevant kit for the assessment, and you're then sorted into coloured groups that you'll spend most of your time in. Get to know these people and form a bond, as teamwork is an enormous part of the assessment: a team that works well together will make everyone in it more likely to pass.

You'll cover the following tasks on day one, and you'll finish at 4-5pm today and most other days:

  • Bleep Test, Press Ups, and Sit Ups. Same standards as the Brief. You do not run this one in coveralls.
  • Essay. Write 1.5 pages on a subject of the Board's choosing (you get 5 options). The topics can cover current events or broader political, social, or economic questions.
  • Computerised Tests. You sit 8 in total: the 3 you'll remember from Brief are verbal, numerical, and abstract reasoning. You also sit a personality test, memory test, general knowledge test, military knowledge test, and current affairs test. Tips: Know generally what's going on worldwide, as the current affairs test is not UK-centric. Buy a UKCAT600 book to practice the verbal, numerical, and abstract tests.

Day Two

You'll be up at around 6am each day going forwards. Day two's tasks are:

  • Group Discussion. Exact same format as Brief, so have a few ideas of your own for topics and make sure to be involved in the discussions. Tip: If you know nothing about the topic, let a few people go first and chime in with some sort of attempt at compromise between a few of the viewpoints you've just heard. It makes it look like you understand the topic and your contribution is more than just agreement with something already said.
  • Interviews, of which you'll have 3. One with the Vice President who will go into your motivation for wanting to be an officer, one with an Education Advisor who will go into your educational achievements, and one with another assessing officer who will talk about what you put on your CV. Tip: Make sure you know well what's on your CV and be prepared to discuss your time in school/college/uni and what you did for extra-curricular activities while there.
  • Leaderless Command Tasks. These are in the same format as Brief, but the tasks are far more complex. Tip: As with Brief, be involved, give suggestions, encourage people, so on. Make yourself part of the team.
  • Opening Race. A series of 3 Command Task-style obstacles one after the other, with every team racing alongside you doing the same ones. These are about the same level as the Brief tasks in terms of complexity. First team to complete all 3 wins.
  • PlanEx Lesson. Like in Brief, you'll get a walk-through on how to do a Planning Exercise. Tip: Pay close attention to the layout and the “so what?” parts, as they're very important to your final grade.

Day Three

Up at 6am for breakfast at 7. You can take your notepad to breakfast but you have to leave it there, so make sure you're prepared for a Planning Exercise before you finish breakfast, ideally do some studying the night before unless you're confident you know what's expected.

  • Planning Exercise. You get 60 minutes and the scenario is more complex than the Brief's were. Remember you need 3 viable courses of action. Tip: Draw the sketch, ARRT table, and do your factors first, because if it all goes wrong and you don't finish, having even a blank ARRT table gets you points.
  • Group Planning Exercise. As in Brief, you all go back to the group room and get 15 minutes to come up with a group solution, and then you're all stood up one by one and questioned on what the group plan is, what your plan is, what the scenario background is, so on. Tip: Remember the little things (time of year, country you're in, names of people) because they will ask that, and remember the officer asking questions is trying to get under your skin, so stay calm and don't get flustered.
  • Leader Command Tasks. Same style as the Leaderless ones done yesterday. Each candidate is taken by themselves to the obstacle, given a brief on it, and given a few minutes to plan their approach. They're then given 10 minutes to attempt the task. Tip: Your 10 minutes start as soon as you call your team over, so brief them fast. Remember that you're the boss for this, and they're judging you on how well you manage your team, so stay in command. Don't be afraid to get involved with actually solving the task, but remember your main job is command and control.
  • Assault Course. Same obstacles as Brief, plus the ammo box tunnel and the rope climb. You must start with the rope swing, and then you may do obstacles in any order. If you finish all obstacles, you can start again and do them in any order. Tip: Attempt the harder obstacles first, don't waste energy on obstacles you can still easily manage while tired. The ammo box tunnel looks hard but isn't, once you're inside you actually slide down it without much effort.
  • Lecturette. You're given 15 minutes to prepare a 5 minute talk, and you're given 5 options that are all picked off of your CV. You get a 3 minute warning and a 5 minute stop order. Tip: If you finish before 5 minutes are up, ask for questions, as Q&A counts as part of your talk.
  • Sandhurst DVD. This isn't assessed, it's just a 15-20 minute video on what the Regular Commissioning Course is, what to expect on it, and a Q&A with an officer who isn't assessing you.

The evening of day 3 is a Mess Dinner, where all candidates sit together in one large table, mixed in with all the coloured groups. It's a good night that you should enjoy, but don't drink too heavily as day 4 has the closing race.

Day Four

The last day, and you'll be done by around 8.30am. Strip and re-make your bed, head off to breakfast, prepare for the closing race.

  • Closing Race. Same style as the Opening Race, different course. Last chance to show your team working and physical fitness skills, so make it count. After this is done you get a brief talk from the President thanking you for your efforts and wishing you luck, after which you're back to accommodation for a shower and then you're free to leave. A bus will run to the train station for anyone who needs it, leaving at 9.30am.

You'll get your result in the mail on Saturday or Monday, depending on how good the Royal Mail are and how hard it is to get mail to where you live from Westbury.
 
#5
Hi Stu,
Firstly, thanks for the account of MB. Really detailed and insightful. I have briefing on Monday. If you don't mind me asking, what were the areas you fell short on?
Thanks in advance, Tom
Plan-ex was a big one. Failed the individual planning exercise due to incorrect timings and having a final course of action that didn't actually work. Went into it too panicked as I hadn't done enough prep beforehand like some of the other candidates (who invariably found it much easier). I'd recommend using the practice exercises online after your briefing, no point doing it before as they teach you the right way to do it for main board.

Obstacle course. Completed all of it, but wasn't showing enough "effort" as I wasn't sprinting between the obstacles as I wanted to conserve my energy due to the anxiety of the wall (seemed harder on briefing than main board). Upper body strength and stamina are vital here.

Team tasks. We initially bonded quickly as you'll find is easy to do in your briefing as you're all in the same boat. However our team got disbanded partway through because someone had to go home, so our team was split amongst the other teams, little harder to form a bond with your new team when you're now the outsider of the group. But you have to make an exerted effort to become their besties so you can stand out more on team tasks.

Interviews. I planned and rehearsed what to say (as you would for an interview), they said it felt a bit robotic and rehearsed. Advice was to be yourself, know your AOSB CV inside and out, be ready to answer a speed time distance calculation mentally, and read a couple of books beforehand as they ask about your book choices.

Despite all this, I "borderline passed" every category but was seen as slightly high risk for Sandhurst and was advised to return in 6 months.

For briefing you don't need to prepare as much, just be fit and have a positive attitude. Its main board you need to take the initiative and develop yourself following the briefing feedback.

Good luck on Monday!
 
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#6
Plan-ex was a big one. Failed the individual planning exercise due to incorrect timings and having a final course of action that didn't actually work. Went into it too panicked as I hadn't done enough prep beforehand like some of the other candidates (who invariably found it much easier). I'd recommend using the practice exercises online after your briefing, no point doing it before as they teach you the right way to do it for main board.

Obstacle course. Completed all of it, but wasn't showing enough "effort" as I wasn't sprinting between the obstacles as I wanted to conserve my energy due to the anxiety of the wall (seemed harder on briefing than main board). Upper body strength and stamina are vital here.

Team tasks. We initially bonded quickly as you'll find is easy to do in your briefing as you're all in the same boat. However our team got disbanded partway through because someone had to go home, so our team was split amongst the other teams, little harder to form a bond with your new team when you're now the outsider of the group. But you have to make an exerted effort to become their besties so you can stand out more on team tasks.

Interviews. I planned and rehearsed what to say (as you would for an interview), they said it felt a bit robotic and rehearsed. Advice was to be yourself, know your AOSB CV inside and out, be ready to answer a speed time distance calculation mentally, and read a couple of books beforehand as they ask about your book choices.

Despite all this, I "borderline passed" every category but was seen as slightly high risk for Sandhurst and was advised to return in 6 months.

For briefing you don't need to prepare as much, just be fit and have a positive attitude. Its main board you need to take the initiative and develop yourself following the briefing feedback.

Good luck on Monday!
 
#7
I see. Well, it can only be a good sign that you fully recognise your shortcomings there dude so likewise, all the best next time.
One last thing and I'll leave you alone - MAP Tests. What exactly are the maths questions here? I'm going over more or less everything but maths is a total slog for me and I'm painfully slow at working things out! More I know about exactly what to prepare the better I guess.
 
#8
I see. Well, it can only be a good sign that you fully recognise your shortcomings there dude so likewise, all the best next time.
One last thing and I'll leave you alone - MAP Tests. What exactly are the maths questions here? I'm going over more or less everything but maths is a total slog for me and I'm painfully slow at working things out! More I know about exactly what to prepare the better I guess.
There is a good example of the style of questions you will get on here:
https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/how-accurate-are-these-map-examples-for-aosb.293840/

They're standard psychometric tests most big firms use so there's plenty of resource online to practice, here's a good place to start which covers maths, verbal and abstract tests:
Free Tests for 2019 | FREE Aptitude Tests

Honestly its not harder than GCSE maths. Bitesize it or buy a revision guide if you need help, focus on practicing your mental maths (speed, time, distance) as that is far more useful for the plan-ex and interview grilling.
 
#9
Good morning,

Got my main board in September and can't find much information about the general knowledge and military knowledge tests.
The general knowledge what sort of things do they ask? Is there any way you would suggest to prepare for this?
For the military knowledge is it more about current activities of the army and there equipment or the history of the army?

Any help would be appreciated

Many thanks
 
#10
Good morning,

Got my main board in September and can't find much information about the general knowledge and military knowledge tests.
The general knowledge what sort of things do they ask? Is there any way you would suggest to prepare for this?
For the military knowledge is it more about current activities of the army and there equipment or the history of the army?

Any help would be appreciated

Many thanks
For starters, don't panic about these too much as they aren't as important as you think.

General knowledge
- famous artwork, who painted the scream etc.
- famous musical composers
- famous authors
- general geography
- presidents/leaders of countries around the world
- where does the UK treasurer live etc.
- UK politics structure

Quite literally a bunch of random questions, expect to not know a lot of them, but like I said, doesn't matter too much as it wasn't even part of our feedback. We were all in the same boat and had a laugh over it.

Military knowledge
- gun types (particularly SA80 and javelin)
- vehicle types
- deployment knowledge
- ranks
- army structure
- abbreviations of military words, RAMC for Royal Army Medical Corps etc.

Absorb the British Army website for this.

Hope that helps, good luck in September!
 
#11
For starters, don't panic about these too much as they aren't as important as you think.

General knowledge
- famous artwork, who painted the scream etc.
- famous musical composers
- famous authors
- general geography
- presidents/leaders of countries around the world
- where does the UK treasurer live etc.
- UK politics structure

Quite literally a bunch of random questions, expect to not know a lot of them, but like I said, doesn't matter too much as it wasn't even part of our feedback. We were all in the same boat and had a laugh over it.

Military knowledge
- gun types (particularly SA80 and javelin)
- vehicle types
- deployment knowledge
- ranks
- army structure
- abbreviations of military words, RAMC for Royal Army Medical Corps etc.

Absorb the British Army website for this.

Hope that helps, good luck in September!
It helps a lot, thank you!
 

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