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My Main Board Diary: the Covid-condensed version.

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Covid-shortened course layout.
This write up is a diary of my time at AOSB Main Board. Any examples used were not real questions used in our assessments and are purely for example purposes.

Day 1

First up, admin. You are given a brief, asked to provide your education certificates and identification, asked to fill out your medical questionnaire and to order your lunch. Your bags and valuables will be locked away at this point.

The morning of the first day is your computer testing, in this order:

  • Memory - shapes, letters and numbers 'click blue diamonds unless there is a yellow square, all numbers with a 3 or a factor of 8 and the letter furthest in the alphabet' - that is an example and not the sequence I was given.
  • 15FQ - 200 questions based on your interests, personality and temperament.
  • Verbal - 40 questions in 15 minutes
  • Numerical - 36 questions in 30 minutes
  • Abstract - 70 questions in 12 minutes.

Lunch - a sandwich or salad you ordered in your AM briefing.

General, military and current affairs knowledge tests.

General knowledge - vast, do not be disheartened if you do not know an awful lot of the questions. Stay composed and focus on the ones you do know.

Military knowledge-- Should be straight forward for you, if you have made full use of the army website.

Current affairs - Read the news like your life depends on it. Download the Al Jazeera app which breaks down the news based on each Continent.

Then it's time to write an essay. They give you 5 topics to chose from and you must write between 1 and 1.5 sides of the sheet they give you. Keep it structured A solid introduction stating what you're writing about and the conclusion you wish to come to. I then made 2 points to back up my argument and then a strong conclusion. All of the topics will be able to be linked to current affairs for your arguments.

You will then be taken to your accommodation, collecting your bags from the store room on the way.

Then it's time for dinner - eat well and chat to others. Find out their topic choices, and remember their back topic choices for the group discussion. Someone in our group was asked to pick a different topic twice and luckily had remembered somebody else's back up, which saved him sitting there saying 'I don't know'.

The last thing of the day is your Plan Ex Brief. Even if you've hammered these at home, listen up and listen hard. Ask questions if you do not understand anything. You are not being assessed in the brief so there are no stupid questions.

That's you done for the day. Go to the pub and don't dwell on anything that didn't go well. Brush yourself off, have a couple of pints then go to bed. I would advise against last minute cramming as anything you don't know at this point isn't going to do much for you bar stress you out.

Day 2

Plan Ex - I'm not going to sugar coat it for anyone, this was brutal. They are not expecting you to solve all the problems within the text, they are looking for you to understand the thought process and stick to their method. I crashed and burned and only got 1 Coa and quickly made it into my plan. I drew a comprehensive sketch map with all equipment and people clearly marked where they are, prioritised my aims and analysed the factors.

Do not beat yourself up if you feel like you failed. Have confidence on what you have written as you will be interrogated on it next.

Your team go into a room and discuss your plans. If you can, come up with a workable team plan, otherwise stick to your own when it comes to the questioning. Stick to your guns. They want to see how confident you are and if you will buckle under pressure. There are 3 officers in the room, only focus on the CO. The map may have moved to disorientate you. They will ask you to explain your plan and cast doubt on everything you say. Be confident and say it with conviction. When they ask you if you completed all your aims, do not hesitate.

You then move onto leaderless tasks. Put your points across, but do not be overly-dominant. Make sure you have timekeepers and try all suggestions, trying and failing is quicker than coming to a number of compromises. Establish a proven route then take the burden with you. Its easier than establishing the route while carrying it.

Lecturette - a 5 minute lecture on 1 of 5 topics they give you from your CV. Simple enough, you are given time to plan it out and to hold your notes.

Interviews - in the current format, you have 2. We had 1 with the president and 1 with the education officer. They were very laid back, and in the education interview you are given 2 questions, 1 basic mental arithmetic and 1 SDT.

Day 3

MSFT - the bleep test, just as Briefing.

Command tasks - you get a couple of minutes to assess the course. You then have 8 minutes to brief your team and attempt to complete the objective. I personally recommend keeping your brief to 1 minute and then 7 minutes tackling it. Nominate 2 time keepers and since you can't all be doing it because of COVID, you'll have a nominated 2IC to move your aids. The remaining members of the team will move their numbers blocks to where you want them like a game of chess.

Then the final task, the outdoor obstacle course. Again, just like Briefing. Throw yourself at it full throttle, they want to see passion and aggression.

I hope this helps anyone attending this condensed course. It may be shorter in terms of time, but it is just as rewarding and tiring as the normal version.

My suggestions -

Sounds cliché, but enjoy it.
If something goes wrong, brush it off. Don't let one thing throw the rest of your assessment.
Talk to your team in down-time. How are they feeling? What are their backgrounds? What topics are they choosing for discussions? What are their regiment choices? You aren't competing against them. A strong team gives you a better chance.
Don't cram last minute. Enjoy the process and enjoy the moments you have between the stress.

Good luck, and I hope to see you in the factory.
At least you're being f'ed about by professionals. If you can't take a joke, don't join.;)
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