Gap Year Commission

 I am currently in Lower Six at school, doing AS levels this year, and am planning a gap year in 2003 - 2004. If possible, I would like to have a gap year commission in the Army, and as such will be going to the RCB at the end of this year/beginning of next. I would appreciate it if anyone could give me any tips/advice on how to prepare myself for the RCB, as obviously a high-grade pass is required to gain a GYC, due to the nature of the high demands, and only one month of training. Any information would be gratefully received.


Top tips:

1.  Know a bit about the Army before you go (don't be a spotter though).
2.  Be confident but not overconfident or even worse arrogant (that can wait until you are commissioned!)
3.  When you are in charge, take control but LISTEN to those members of your team who may have good advice.  This works later too.
4.  Be supportive when you aren't in charge.
5.  Know enough about current news items, Afghanistan, Iraq, changes to House of Lords, etc to be able to argue/discuss them fluently.
6.  If you could get some interview practise then that would be worthwhile.

As for the rest well mainly you've either got it or you haven't and that is what RCB should find out.

Good Luck.

Send me your email address by private message and I will send you an email with some details on about what each test you will face at RCB is designed to assess which may be of some help.

Best advice I can give is to be yourself and try not to impress. Also, don't over-analyse your performance because no one test is looked at in isolation. The RCB are generally looking at your personality and your ability to be trained in the skills required to lead others.

I take it GYC is the new name for an SSLC? (showing my age now)


War Hero
My dear boy,

Which school did you attend?

To those who have replied, thanks for your advice, Woopert, if you could find that info, would be gratefully recieved.



[Edited to ask if anyone might happen to be running the RCB would be accepting bribes  ;D :eek: ;D]

I think that was a little joke by CGS, obviously the only schools that really count (well once upon a time) are Eton, Harrow, etc.


Eton, Harrow &c?  What about the Welbexian Mafia???
Btw, just to follow up, I am booked in for the RCB Breifing 11/12 November this year, assuming that goes OK, RCB in Jan/Feb...any further tips/fitness tips also would be gratefully recieved :)


Fitnesswise, it is always good to be fit, upperbody and all that shit but you don't need to be Superman.  On the individual Assault Course listen carefully to the brief as that will help you work out the best way to attack it.  There always used to be a window type obstacle, they like it if you jump head first through it!  Shows the necessary stupidity and blind bravery to go over the top!!!!!

Time and distance calculations are good for the planning exercise, be prepared to think on your feet and take flak if your solution is shit - don't burst into tears as some do.

Have a convincing and not too cheesy reason as why you want to join, if it sounds as if it came straight from Victory or Commando Comics you will geta Norwegian Eurovision Song Contest Score.

On the command task some are classed as easy, some are difficult but achieveable and some are impossible.  If you get an impossible one don't give up - goin over the top syndrome again.  Learn how to tie some good notes (clove hitch etc) and how to work a cantilever - nothing too hard - how do you think Guardsmen get in, they don't get Orderlies there.

As everyone else has said, be yourself, they will soon see through an act, be a team player but turn on the leadership bit when in the spot light.

Good luck
I still need to sort out some notes for you SJ, however I have MBA exams in the next 2 weeks and then I am on leave so hang in there, and I will sort you out a brief.
FFTG, thanks, i'll bear all that in mind :))

Woopert, no rush - like I said - November is the breifing - and I have exams myself from Monday, so I'm in no rush!


Also now got a couple of Regimental visits now set up for a few months time... (eek)

     Bit more advice; ensure you can talk comfortably about an after-school activity that you are interested in. It needs to be more than just superficial. Helps if you have done what you are talking about. Useful if it is something other than sport because that gets covered elsewhere. I spent some time broadening my cultural horizons by going to a few plays and shows at the theatre (Local and West End). Some were boring as sh!t but the chick liked it so I got some extra hot loving in return. Killed two birds with one stone. Adventure training is always a good one. There are activities that can be conducted relatively cheaply and easily like hill walking and climbing and more expensive ones like diving and parachuting. No one will be expecting you to be an expert but show willing to try new stuff. There isn’t enough time to do a great deal and build up a big history of your adventure training experience but just by have completed a novice course in scuba-diving and are hope to do the next level over the Christmas holidays etc is a good start. You never know it might be something you really get into. Make sure you don’t just say thing I want to do this or would have but I ran out of time.  Have something tangible achieved.

I wish you success at RCB and if you pass a get an SSLC/GYC position try not to be a knob in the Officer Mess and don’t keep offering out the Sgt. One will take you up on the offer. Not a pretty sight to watch.
As an ex-RCB assessor I'd add that the advice above is mostly good but:

1. see the thread on "RCB Briefing" which contains more advice, including a wonderful bit from me.  ;D

2. Flip_Flop_the_Gog is wrong to say that some of the command tasks are impossible. I can assure you that there is a solution to every single one and more than one solution in several cases. Indeed one of the best things about working at RCB was seeing the new and imaginative solutions that candidates sometimes came up with. Having said all that, what matters is how you go about the task NOT whether or not you complete it.

3. I would advise very strongly against accepting any advice on specific tasks (or solutions to tasks) that you may be offered. Nothing is more obvious than the candidate who has been coached or given solutions. Sounds unlikely, but the folks at RCB go through a training process that lasts 4 weeks (a one month HO/TO - amazing!). They know the tasks inside out and, more importantly, know how candidates tackle the tasks. Moreover, less experienced assessors are always teamed with more experienced ones. No matter how hard you try (unless you keep motionless and silent!) you won't be able to hide your prior knowledge. Alarm bells will ring in the assessors' minds and they will have to try and decide which of the evidence they've gathered is the real you and which is you faking. I've banged on about this a lot because it's important. RCB is after the real you in order to decide whether you're worth a gamble at RMAS. If you try and put on a front you will either fail RCB or get through RCB but fail at Sandhurst. Either way it's a waste of everybody's time

4.  Woopert seems to be suggesting that specific tasks assess specific things, that's wrong too. Assessors gather evidence on around 15 different characteristics during each and every test. Some tests are better at assessing some characteristics than others but that is as far as it goes.

Good luck and let us know how you get on in November.

S_J, by the time you've read all this I'm not sure if you'll still want to go, but remember it gets you out of the house for a few days
SJ, stick with it fella!  If I could re-run things again, I would love to do a GYC!  We just sent ours back to civvy street after he spent an incredible year in lots of far flung places.  If you want it, it is really worth the effort of brushing up before the board.  You will start the year as a boy, and leave as an alcoholic!! (joke)

Just don't try to B-S the board, be honest, be keen, but above all, have something to talk about - especially for those lecturettes, as the titles are picked from your list of activities and hobbies.  So, if embroidery is your bag, get ready to talk about it - and be funny!

Good Luck!



S-J  just do the mess a favour if you do get a gap year comission don't do one of  two things -

1.  Join the same Regiment as your boyfreind/girlfriend (depending on which way you are inclined) especially if he/she happens to be on an FTRS and is a complete knob as all that will happen is you will alienate yourself from the mess!

2.  If you get lucky and get posted with your Regiment to Cyprus as part of the UN ensure you buy a Beret badge for your beret and not remove the UN badge from your sleeve of your shirt and stitch that to your beret instead!

Otherwise the best of luck, enjoy it and pull some dirty women!!!
CP, cheers for the tips

1. - hoping to goto an infantry regiment, and hasten to add I am NOT that way inclined!

2. - If I get lucky in that sense, I'll bear that in mind :D

once again, cheers all for your advice...much appreciated..only a couple of weeks to go (eeek!)


badco said:

I think that was a little joke by CGS, obviously the only schools that really count (well once upon a time) are Eton, Harrow, etc.
Coldm gds potential officer info form:

Schools attended: Preparatory-

Good job the guards are no longer elitist, eh?
Rather glad to hear the Short Service "limited Capability" Commision is no longer, I once had a verbal altercation with a very jumped up Scots Guards Officer (SSLC) in H-K, and I was OC of the blasted Party!

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