AOSB Main Board - Written communication! Help.

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Officer Recruiting' started by Stazzy_ch, Feb 26, 2012.

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  1. Here is the thing. I am aspiring to becoming an officer and I have my Main Board in a month (roughly)

    After passing AOSB Briefing, one of the issues that was flagged was my grammar and spelling. I am originally Ukrainian and only came to UK in 2001 with no knowledge of English what so ever. I wasn't long before I learned to communicate verbally with no problem. However, my written English is still a nightmare, I write like I speak.

    So my worry is the essay. I know nothing about it apart form that its 1h/45min (depending on who you talk to) and it is on current affairs. But i don't know how important the grammar aspect of it is. Would my poor written communication skills make me unsuitable? And if so, does anyone know how can I quickly improve them?


  2. Based on your post, you've got nothing to improve on, in fact your written English is considerably better than usual.
  3. The best tactic is to
    1. Try and read as much as possible, especially opinion pieces (as that's what you will have to write).
    2. practice writing timed essays as much as possible, and making sure that they are read by someone who can make suggestions on improvement.

    Best of luck to you.
  4. Thanks, but this is only due to "spell-check" and also the avoidance of risky words such as "your" and "you're". (to me they are risky, as I have to think about them, it doesn't come naturally)

    Lately whenever I am writing anything it feels like I am putting a thread through the eye of a needle, if that makes sense.
  5. I do the same thing avoiding words/phrases that i know can be troublesome, and i have been writing for years.
    remember though whist written communication is something you can fail on, the really important aspects are the interviews/plan ex/command tasks. Don't fall into the trap of ignoring everything else, and if you writing is your only stumbling block then there are some courses they can send you on (pre-rmas).
  6. Get a month of good practice in, that's the best you can hope for really. It irks me to no end when I see my fellow englishmen tripping up on things like your/ you're and there/ their, but as a former English for Speakers of Other Languages tutor I can understand the difficulties non-natives have.

    If there are certain parts of english grammar that you find difficult, focus strongly on them and look around for easy ways to remember rules. You say you're using a spellchecker - perhaps you could write a paragraph or two here without it so we can see what level you'd be at on a written paper and offer up some tips.
  7. As per Rottas request I am going to write withought the spellchecker. Which turning out to be quite hard as I have to overcome my OCD-esque desire of getting rid of the red wavy lines. In order to write as much as possible I will also reply to Main Effort (kill 2 birds with 1 stone)

    I am getting ready for everything else as well:

    Interview wasn't my major consern last time, I usually present myself well on them. To get ready for the interview I usually write out the answers for the questions that I can expect in the interview, such as "why do you want to join Army as an officer" etc. As for other, more unusual questions (for example last time I was asked about my past career as a Breakdancing instructor) I find that the honesty is the best policy, and I say things that I really experianced and thought at the time, not what I think AOSB interviewer expecting to hear from me.

    Command tasks are also not so much of a problem, the main issue in them for me is the team that I am placed into. I believe that in leaderless tasks the most important thing is to show the ability to sway the team towards your solution (aka show leadership). However if the team is hard headed it becomes "too many chefs in the kitchen" problem. - to prevent that a talk must be done before the command tasks, where are boundaries are set up. As main board (from what I understand) isn't a competition, and as long as we all achieve a pass mark we are through.

    Plan ex. - this is another worry related to the grammar/spelling. I had a wake up call after Briefing on how to do the Plan ex. as my mental attitude towards the solution was wrong. Also when questioned on details of Plan ex. (such as names of your companions) I failed to recall them as in my mind it was not important part of solution. They could be called Bill and Ted or anything else, they carried no significantce and hence not worth remembering. Now distances and time, that's a different story, all of those were remembered.

    Computer based tests - They are a complete mystery to me, specially the Memory and Attention Test. I just don't know what the format of them is, on the Army website it just says that it will be 20 questions which will test me on the speed at which I finish them, the number of times I have to refresh my memory and obviously number of questions i complete correctly. Personality test is also unknown to me. Is it the "you found a dog with a broken leg, what you going do?" type of questions?

    Fitness - this is something that let me down at my Briefing. The reason I got a 3 months delay. I can do a 1,5 mile in reasonable time (under 10 minutes) however when I atempt a bleep test (MSFT) I panic and throw up :)S) I guess its because I know that I cant stop for anything, I feel loss of control. - to overcome that I consentrated on doing MSFT every day as well as running long distances. To overcome the mental barrier, so when I turn up to Westbury the MSFT isn't a test, but "just another training session". As for press ups and sit ups I am not worried a single bit. As for obsticle course it is more of an enjoyment to do it. At the Briefing I got best time out of entire cohort.

    I am not quite sure what else is going to be tested at the Main Board (as I haven't yet received my paperwork for it)
  8. Firstly, breakdancing instructor? Awesome.

    Secondly, there are some places online you can do practice MAT tests and although they aren't linked to the AOSB one they're in the same line of thought. Attention to Detail, Memory and IQ tests , for example.

    Thirdly - I don't think you really have much to worry about with your written English. Aside from a small number of spelling mistakes ( cons(c)ern, experia(e)nced, significant()ce , (e)specially, at(t)empt, I guess it(')s because, cons(c)entrated, obsti(a)cle) you've got quite a good grasp on it. One thing I would say is to look at your sentence structure some more. Things like "Fitness - this is something that let me down at my Briefing. The reason I got a 3 months delay." should really be ""Fitness - this is something that let me down at my Briefing and is the reason I got a 3 months delay.". Another example is "However if the team is hard headed it becomes "too many chefs in the kitchen" problem. - to prevent that a talk must be done before the command tasks, where are boundaries are set up. As main board (from what I understand) isn't a competition, and as long as we all achieve a pass mark we are through." becoming "If the team is hard headed it becomes a "too many chefs in the kitchen" problem. To prevent that a talk must be done before the command tasks to set up boundaries. Main board (from what I understand) isn't a competition and as long as we all achieve a pass mark we are through."

    Overall however, I would be pretty happy if I could write in another language as well as that. You don't have much work at all to do in my opinion, and whilst I haven't taken the tests yet I believe you could touch up your written skills enough in a month to breeze through it.
  9. Yeah, a Breakdancing instructor :)

    I used to be a Professional diver (14th in the Ukraine), when I moved to UK I couldn't fulfill my demands for the sport as we there was nowhere to do it. but the gymnastic abilities and love for the acrobatics were still present. So when my school did a "trail" Breakdancing classes, but as we didn't have a real teacher just Dance and Drama teacher who knew nothing of Breakdancing it quickly became a self-taught class. We won few talent shows, gained a lot of recognition and the "trail" became more permanent. from then I was a breakdancer for 6 - 7 years and was teaching people for £20 - £80 per hour. - but its not a career that can be sustained long term. After a while your joints refuse to work.
  10. Hello Stazzy

    Grammar. Go to your happy book discounter Amazon.

    Lynne Truss " Eats, Shoots and Leaves."

    ISBN 1-86197-612-7

    She took quotations from the press and in a clear and light-hearted way demonstrates:
    1) why they are incorrect and
    2) how they might better have been expressed.

    Just read and absorb. That you're interested in grammatically correct expression leads
    me to think that you'll enjoy it.

    Old Rat
  11. A very good book, one I would highly recommend.

    It’s written in such an entertaining way that you will enjoy learning about all the grammatical mistakes people make.