Improving agility and MAP tests for Main Board

Discussion in 'Join the Army - Regular Officer Recruiting' started by emoth1, Apr 25, 2012.

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  1. Hi all, first post here. Just got back from briefing and got a 2/3/phys. Bit disappointed as I passed the bleep test, and know people who didn't but still got Cat 1s, but there you go. To be honest, after thinking I'd bombed the plan ex and the aptitude tests I was made up just to get a pass at all.

    Anyway, my group leader said I didn't show enough aggression on the obstacle course, which obviously I know how to change for Main Board, but I struggled with the hurdles more than I thought I would, so that's the main think I'd like to work on, whilst obviously maintaining the other aspects of my fitness regime. I live in Liverpool city centre, so no running tracks or the like nearby, and I don't have any way to really replicate them that I can think of, unless anybody has any bright ideas? I was thinking of hammering the likes of heavy squats, weighted jump squats, plyometric lunges and the like, anything to improve my explosive leg power really. Does this seem a sensible way to go? Anybody experienced similar?

    The other area I want to improve is the abstract mental aptitude test. Although I was surprised to hear my MAP results were above average, he confirmed my suspicion that the abstract was my weakest. I'd done the practice ones that were emailed to us, but the ones towards the end seemed too be MUCH harder than the practices I'd done. I didn't seem to have a grey area either, I either spotted the pattern straight away or I couldn't see it at all. I didn't really seem able to work them out: I just had it or I didn't. Does anybody have a source of practice ones that I can do online that are sufficiently hard? And/or are there any other 'mental exercises' I can work on that will improve my performance?

    Sorry for the essay, just thought I'd get as much info out first time round to save people having to ask loads of questions.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. For the hurdles, I understand you live in Liverpool city centre, but is there anywhere nearby you can get to, or drive to, to have a practice at jumping tennis nets? These seem a similar height and I have heard other people on here recommend this before. Practice has to be best so you get used to it, but otherwise your fitness plan sounds okay to m, but I’m not an expert.

    Can’t help with a site for practicing MAP tests, sorry.
  3. The first thing I'd ask you is how's your technique? I failed the hurdles miserably at Briefing as well as I was trying to jump over them like proper hurdlers would do when running a race i.e. with left leg outstretched and trying to drag the right leg over but my trailing leg kept catching the bar. At MB I just went for a more traditional box jump i.e. slowed down approaching the hurdle and then jumped with my legs together and tucked up and into my chest and cleared them no problem. Otherwise I would just continue with your basic physical training (Press ups, sit ups, running) but maybe add in a bit of sprinting, say after an easy run, to build explosiveness. Once or twice a week add in a pylometrics drill or two specifically for the legs such as box jumps, tuck jumps or alternating leg lunge jumps.

    With the abstract parts of the MAP tests I too found that they were much more difficult on the day than the practice ones but they weren't the end of the world. Always try to look for the basic similarities/differences first; colour, shape, number of shapes, number of sides on shape. You'll do the MAP tests again at MB and unless you do radically worse than Briefing they take the better scores so you'll be OK regardless.

    You want to be prepared but I would advise not to get too hung up on either though. Remember at MB they're both very small parts of a much larger process.
  4. For hurdles etc try Liverpool Harriers (Mather Avenue), it's a 15 minute bus ride from the city centre. I've also seen "Military" style PT sessions going on at Sefton Park, just 10 minutes from the centre.
  5. Can't really remember what my technique was like. Probably more similar to yours I think. Felt my coverall was too tight for a traditional hurdle technique, otherwise I probably would have done that as I used to be ok at them at school. I should stress that I did complete everything on the obstacle course, it would just be nice to have that little confidence boost for Main Board knowing I can run out and not even worry about it.
    Thanks for the Harriers idea, might struggle to get involved with them though: I'm out the house with work pretty much 7 til 7, but I'll look into their timetables or something. Tennis net is another good shout, I'll see what google can reveal. Failing these two, I'll probably just head to my nearest park and try and find a bench or a bush or something haha.

    Also, can you remember what other obstacles you do at Main Board? I know you have to do the cage slide thing, any others that I won't have done at briefing?

    Thanks for your replies.
  6. There are quite a few articles on here about the obstacle course; I know I found them before I went through my AOSB selection. But if you passed all the briefing ones you should be fine. If you passed the beep and completed all the obstacles how did you manage to get a cat 2, 3 months phys? Just curious. I assume you got told in your debrief interview. Hurdles are no higher at main board the only difference is they are they are outside.
  7. Yeah I was quite surprised I got a 2 based on my fitness. I now a couple of people who failed the beep test and didn't complete the obstacle course but still got Cat 1s. I can only assume my time on the course was massively slow. I'm not overly concerned about it to be honest, I had to have 3 goes at the long jump, which obviously took quite a lot of time. It had been raining quite heavily the day before, and I was trying to take off as close to the sandpit as possible, but there was a strip of paint about 6 inches thick right at the edge which I was taking off from, and I slipped on it on my first two attempts because it was wet, so for my third I just took off a couple of inches before that and passed it by a mile. I knocked the first hurdle off on my first attempt, and passed it second time round. And then I had to have two goes at the wall. I'd thought it was about as thick as a door, but it was actually about as thick as a brick wall, maybe a bit thicker, so on my first attempt I didn't throw my arm over it enough, so couldn't get a grip in the other side, if that makes sense, my hand just slipped off the top of the wall. Got over it no problem second time round though. Passed the steps and rope swing first time.

    I got confused on the timing issue as well, I thought we had a time limit to pass each obstacle individually, as opposed to a total time for the whole course. So for example I was just kind of jogging between obstacles, I walked back round to replace the burden after the steps, things like that. Obviously if I did it again now I'd be sprinting the whole way.

    So I think its a combination of little things that will have led to me getting a poor time. I think its realistic to say if I had another go at it today I could probably get close to halving the time I got yesterday. Obviously I'm a bit disappointed not to have gotten a 1, but I think I must have been pretty borderline, and the wait to book onto Main Board is 10 weeks anyway, so a 3 month delay seems a bit pointless in that context. If my calculations are correct I can still book on the 24 July MB, and I was looking at doing it in July anyway. I'm just itching to keep the ball rolling now, I can't wait to quit my current job, so I'd be gutted if this delayed me getting to Sandhurst and I had to wait for the September 2013 intake. But lets not get ahead of ourselves...
  8. PS we did out obstacle course outside anyway. It was only the groups with girls in that did it indoors, and that's so they can do a 'gender neutral' course or something. Which, as an aside, is an odd concept to me. I can't remember the last time a war was fought on gender neutral terms, but there you go.
  9. I was on the briefing prior to this one.

    In regards to the MAP test, practise them.
    In regards to the hurdles, I failed miserably when I tried them at an insight course, but I found a combination of box jumps, squats, running, lunges, skipping and jumping over chairs in my garden helped me breeze them on the briefing. You mentioned your coveralls were too tight- they tell you to try them on and you are able to swap them if they don't fit.

    When I did it, a couple of guys failed the bleep test on level 9.9-10.1, and they passed, because they absolutely flew over the obstacle course.
  10. I did try it on, it wasn't that tight, I just didn't fancy trying to pull full hurdle technique out of the bag after not doing for 8-odd years with the coverall being a bit clingy. And I decided I'd rather it be a bit tight than too baggy. I spoke to a couple of guys who didn't make it past level 8 and still got ones. Meh, its done now, I'll just nail it next time round. Looking like plyometrics and squats/lunges is the way forward then. Might start doing a run to the park with a couple of foldable camp chairs in a back pack and rig up some hurdles in the park out of them and rope or something. Kill a couple of birds with that stone.

    What sort of time frame are you looking at for Main Board, Whiskey Tango? And has anybody who would actually know told you how the January/May intakes are filling up? i.e. not rumours from panicky candidates.
  11. According to my ACA Jan is more or less full and May has spaces so if you're going through AOSB briefing around now that's what you should expect. I was told I'd be pushed towards Jan but will most likely end up in May. September of next year has bloody loads of spaces so if it comes down to that then at least there'll be a space it'll just take a long time to get it.
  12. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    The abstract score is a test of innate ability. Even if you practice the tests ad nauseam you are unlikely to be able to change your score significantly and, in any case, it only forms one element within your overall 'intelligence' rating and if, overall, your score was satisfactory you shouldn't worry about it.

    As for agility and explosive leg power, my advice would be to find a personal trainer or PT instructor who can give you a set of exercises tailored to your needs and circumstances and, just as importantly, give you some external validation as to where you really are now. In my experience, people training for these tests often overrate their own level and become overconfident.
  13. Don't think my funds will stretch to a PT to be honest. I'm not overly concerned about it, I did complete the course, so obviously I can do it. And I think an evaluation would be a waste of time anyway, as it wouldn't affect my approach to Main Board. Its not a case of me now thinking 'I managed to do it at briefing, I can chill out until MB'. I plan on training pretty much every day for MB, so its not as if a PT telling me I need to train hard is going to make a difference, as I'm going to be doing that anyway.

    I suspected that might be the case about the abstract. I'll try and find some to practice in any case, there's no reason not to. What is everyones approach to practicing plan ex's? Just googling it to find examples and working through them?

    I'm looking at July/August for MB now, is May likely to be full by then? The thought of remaining in my current job until next September is horrifying. May is long enough!

    Thanks again for all your responses.
  14. I'm not in a particular hurry to do my main board or get to sandhurst. I'm going to canada for nine months or so around september, so any time before then to do the main board is good for me. Any extra time to prepare is fine by me, although obviously I don't want to leave it too long.

    If I were you I wouldn't worry about intakes, as far as I can tell they are all pretty booked up. When I first applied, I was expecting to be at sandhurst within a year, but now I'm provisionally looking at the september 2013 intake, or even the may intake, as a lot of graduates take the september one.

    Can I ask what you do day to day? I'm currently working in an outdoors shop and I also work from home a bit. If you can't stand the idea of keeping your current job, you could consider going travelling once you've passed main board. Thats certainly my intention.
    Oh just on a side note, running with camping chairs is something I'd like to watch, possibly in a monty python sketch.
  15. I have my briefing board in a couple of weeks and I'm dreading the hurdles, was meant to star practicing a couple of weeks back but have hurt my rib playing rugby and it is only just starting to get better. Need to get going with that.

    Quite nice to hear that there is only a 10 week wait for MB as I thought it was 3 months. Only two weeks but every little helps.

    As for entry dates, My ACA said I should aim for January 2013 intake and this was on 29th of Feb. This looks unlikely but I should imagine that May should be doable for me so even more so for you.

    In the briefing interview, does the interviewer put you on the spot and ask you a question that tests your mental arithmetic? Saw a video on youtube where the interviewer puts a girl on the spot and asks her a speed, distance, time calculation.

    cheers, Boblad