Planning To Start Sandhurst Within The Next 4 Years.

#1
Hello, I'm currently 18 and planning to join as an Officer in maybe the infantry I haven't quite decided yet, though I think I have my eyes set on The Yorkshire Regiment, this is a long term goal (within the next 4 years). Why 4 years?, Well I'm currently taking medication for Anxiety and I am scheduled to come off in August of this year, after that period I will have to wait 4 years to join, I have a couple of questions and may add some more in replies.

Currently I only have a Maths and English GCSE at a C, I'm planning to go back to college and re do my GCSE's, the reason I didn't do too well in school is I just had no motivation to revise I used to be addicted to games etc, the course I've applied for will give me 7 total GCSE's which if I have at least a C in all of them (I know I will have more if I really put my head down as I plan to do 3 A Level subjects) that will give me 35 ALIS Points after completion of my 1 year course I will move on to pick 3 A Level Subjects, these will take 2 years to complete if I got C in all 3 of these subjects that would give me over 72 UCAS Points.

Would that qualify me to become an Infantry Officer?

My next question would be about the time off between ops and tours, I heard the average was about 7 months?, how long would I get off if I did say a 7 month tour?, It also says on the Army Website that a day can consist in shifts and you can go into the local area if you're on a domestic base, say if I had a wife could I go visit her after work if I had a house on the barracks?

What's the Army pension like as of now, when are you eligible for it?

Fitness
Now, when I left school I tried to go into Junior Entry, I just wasn't physically prepared for it, I was the smallest guy there, I came last in the run, I weighed about 55kg which is so skinny (I'm now 78kg @ 5ft 8" due to weight training and I'm also a qualified Personal Trainer there just isn't many jobs available for me in that sector), I'm going to carry on with my weight training for the next 2 years then focus on my cardio the next 2 years after that to get to a 1.5 mile run in 9 minutes.

I currently do powerlifting and build my muscles too and I am wondering what the gym is like so I can keep that sport up, When I went to ADSC and there was a guy that had just passed his Phase 1, He said you can't touch Barbells and free weights? because the PTI's have a do at you over it, Are you fed well and can you buy additional food?, and how catabolic is the Army to muscle mass?
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#2
Well, lots of stuff there, so to address some of it:

1. UCAS points. This info is in the Army recruiting pack, and does change. So do your own research, call them, look at the site online. I would note, however, that the minimum is a minimum. Sandhurst is getting a little more academic, so to be competitive you probably want to have more than just the minimum.

Bear in mind that most people at 22 will be entering with a degree, so you want to be doing something more over the next 4 years than just doing GCSE / A-Levels 4 years late, because - although it is no doubt the right course of action to take and shows some determination to correct past mistakes - when compared to other candidates, that is still unlikely to be seen as hugely impressive by either AOSB or the regimental boards. The UCAS points get you in the door of Sandhurst. Whether you qualify as an infantry officer depends on your performance there, and who the regimental boards see when they make their choices (half-way through Sandhurst).

The hard truth is that you are 3 years behind, you need to do some catching up, and that means more than just redoing stuff everyone else did 3 years ago. How and what you do there is something you need to think about seriously.

2. Time off. You have some bad info. Time between tours is meant to be 18-24 months, and almost all tours at a junior level are 6 months or less. Very few people at the moment are doing less than that, most aren't even getting tours at all.

If you are married and have a house on or near barracks, you live there just like a normal couple, and go home like anyone else. You may have periodic duties that require you to go into barracks, but these are a couple of days a month at most. Shift work is relatively uncommon, and only applies to certain jobs: junior infantry officers don't tend to do it. You will spend a decent number of days away from home, however, on exercise and so on.

3. The Army pension is not great any more, and there no half-pension point any more. This info is also available and up to date from official Army sources online. Go look it up!

4. Fitness. Again, you have some rather odd info that looks like it has been primarily taken from weightlifting sources. There is no reason to separate strength and cardio training. You will require both as an infantry officer. The sooner you start cardio (specifically: running), the better you will be at it. So start working on a mixed plan which builds up your running over 4 years, not 2. 78kg at 5'8" is a perfectly decent size, assuming as you say it is muscle. You don't need or want to be any heavier than that. Gaining a load of weight and muscle over the next 2 years that will then be lost and slow you down subsequently is a waste of time.

Keep doing strength training several times a week, but focus on functional training that allows you to haul your bodyweight around and over obstacles. Circuit training, CrossFit, bodyweight exercises, all that kind of approach will set you up well. Weights and weightlifting should really be a supplemental activity, and focus on getting good at compound exercises. Put simply, most weightlifting programs are designed to build anaerobic power or to make you look good. You don't primarily need those. You need constant repetitions of moving your bodyweight around with ease and agility, while working hard aerobically. Core strength is also very important for carrying weight while walking / running later on.

Since you have the time and are not a runner already, take the time to do a proper running buildup program. Start gentle and slow, and work on good form so you build those muscles in the right way. Ensure you build in a good stretching program so you don't build very limited, tight muscle groups, which will be prone to injury. If you want to be an infantry officer, a 9-minute 1.5mile is again more of a minimum standard, really. Aim for 8 or less if you want to be competitive: you have the time to do it.

5. Seriously, don't worry about what the gym is like. You don't know where you are going yet, they all vary. Focus on today and tomorrow, not what you are going to do in 4 years time...you may have completely changed your mind about powerlifting.

6. How well you are fed depends on your barracks and rank (honestly - sucks but true). Yes you can buy additional food.

7. How catabolic is the Army to muscle mass? This is not a sensible question. There are powerlifters in the Army and lightweight sprinters. There is no one experience of the Army. If you want to be an infantry officer, however, at Sandhurst and for a couple of years afterwards you will want the kind of aerobic / strength balance in no. 4.

There is a lot of stuff here which is clearly predicated on some kind of powerlifting regime. That's fine, and it's good to have something to work on. But junior infantry officers are not generally built to be powerlifters, and they need aerobic fitness a lot more than they need anaerobic power fitness. All powerlifting regimes I've seen don't really fit what an aspiring infantry officer training for Sandhurst needs to do: later in your career, sure, lift away. But for now you will have to make a choice about which is more important to you. It looks to me that lifting might be a sport that has helped you focus and work towards what you want to do: that's great, but it might be time to move outside of that comfort zone and work on something that is more suited to your aspirations.

Finally - wherever you are getting your info from, get it from somewhere else! A lot of what you have stated or assumed here is wrong. That's fine, and is obviously why you are asking here, but get some better information!
 
#3
Firstly, thank you very much for your detailed reply.

The hard truth is that you are 3 years behind, you need to do some catching up, and that means more than just redoing stuff everyone else did 3 years ago. How and what you do there is something you need to think about seriously.
I did watch quite a long documentary on Youtube about RMAS, there was a guy there called "Thompson" he very much reflects me in the way he talks where he is from, did only A levels and came off an apprenticeship etc. There was also a guy on there called Harbod posh confirmed cadet of the household cavalry, least fit, went to uni (not slagging any of them off they've done more than me) The Paras ended up wanting Thompson and Harbod gets backtermed (he is in now anyway so props to him). So is it possible if I just got to the physical standards you've set they'd overlook this?
 
#4
Firstly, thank you very much for your detailed reply.

The hard truth is that you are 3 years behind, you need to do some catching up, and that means more than just redoing stuff everyone else did 3 years ago. How and what you do there is something you need to think about seriously.
I did watch quite a long documentary on Youtube about RMAS, there was a guy there called "Thompson" he very much reflects me in the way he talks where he is from, did only A levels and came off an apprenticeship etc. There was also a guy on there called Harbod posh confirmed cadet of the household cavalry, least fit, went to uni (not slagging any of them off they've done more than me) The Paras ended up wanting Thompson and Harbod gets backtermed (he is in now anyway so props to him). So is it possible if I just got to the physical standards you've set they'd overlook this?
No.

You got some great advice from @Sarastro there.

It's not just a physical job.

I would suggest that in the meantime you join the Reserves. Even as a soldier it would give you a better idea of what would await you in the regulars, you would learn what's expected from an officer and it would give the Army something on which to judge you apart from what would be a minimum set of qualifications.

I don't know if it still holds true but in my day selection to Regiments whilst at RMAS was also influenced by your year of birth. I started my course nearly two years late as a non-graduate after taking a gap year and then suffering injury. This meant that my original sponsoring capbadge's quota for my year of birth was full by the time I commissioned. It took some haggling to get my first choice as a result.

There's a lot more emphasis on graduates these days and your cohort will all be graduates by the time you're going for this, so it's going to be difficult. You'll need to be able to sell yourself to the Army and, unless you've done something really exciting like crossing the Andes by frog you're going to find that very difficult.

Get yourself along to your nearest reserve unit and enlist as a soldier...


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#5
No.

You got some great advice from @Sarastro there.

It's not just a physical job.

I would suggest that in the meantime you join the Reserves. Even as a soldier it would give you a better idea of what would await you in the regulars, you would learn what's expected from an officer and it would give the Army something on which to judge you apart from what would be a minimum set of qualifications.

I don't know if it still holds true but in my day selection to Regiments whilst at RMAS was also influenced by your year of birth. I started my course nearly two years late as a non-graduate after taking a gap year and then suffering injury. This meant that my original sponsoring capbadge's quota for my year of birth was full by the time I commissioned. It took some haggling to get my first choice as a result.

There's a lot more emphasis on graduates these days and your cohort will all be graduates by the time you're going for this, so it's going to be difficult. You'll need to be able to sell yourself to the Army and, unless you've done something really exciting like crossing the Andes by frog you're going to find that very difficult.

Get yourself along to your nearest reserve unit and enlist as a soldier...


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Sounds like a plan!, Thanks, So that would mean I'd have hit the minimum but have a military background I also have many connections within the Yorkshire Reg so I might be able to get Confirmed Cadet status too and also run a 8 minute 1.5 mile, I'm also quite physically strong for my weight so that'll probabaly help, Thanks!
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#6
I did watch quite a long documentary on Youtube about RMAS, there was a guy there called "Thompson" he very much reflects me in the way he talks where he is from, did only A levels and came off an apprenticeship etc. There was also a guy on there called Harbod posh confirmed cadet of the household cavalry, least fit, went to uni (not slagging any of them off they've done more than me) The Paras ended up wanting Thompson and Harbod gets backtermed (he is in now anyway so props to him). So is it possible if I just got to the physical standards you've set they'd overlook this?
What @bob_the_bomb said about graduates is true, and joining the Reserves is a good idea.

To your question above: is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? No. I wouldn't take an edited-for-narrative TV documentary as representative of reality. Those guys both exist, and what is shown happened, but extrapolating a wider lesson about Sandhurst from what the BBC producer wanted you to think, is a bad idea.

You need to stop worrying about what the minimum requirement is, and instead ask how you can be the best possible candidate within the time you have. As before, the minimum requirements are just that. Infantry officer at Sandhurst is competitive, and they are all looking for the best candidates who are a complete package. That package is made of:

Fitness, Ability, Education, Character

Fitness is simple. Be as all-round fit as you can be, as described above. Ability means your performance at Sandhurst. If you score highly on every professional competency, and get good reports, that will be high. Note that to perform well requires fitness and intelligence (not the same as education). Education is about your long-term viability as an officer. A lot of regiments are looking for where people can potentially be ten or twenty years down the line, and a good education is a big bonus there. Equally, many excellent and successful officers enter as non-graduates, so it isn't a deal-breaker. Character is the most important element: if you are seen as a good bloke, strong leader and get on with your peers and superiors, and generally have "it", you will be competitive. Character also means that particular regiments are looking for particular kinds of person. You won't know what this is in advance, and don't try to game it or pretend. In 3-4 years time do some regimental visits of the places you are interested in joining, and see if you actually feel you fit there, and if they think you fit. The best advice I can give you here is: be the most selfless selfless person since Jesus. If from day one you go out of your way to help out everyone else in your platoon at Sandhurst, even when you are totally hooped and destroyed, you will set yourself up in all sorts of ways you can't imagine.

It's difficult to say which are the most important, because different regiments and Corps are looking for different things, but broadly everyone tends to agree that first Character and second Ability are most important. Fitness and Education are either entry standards or additional extras. A 7-minute PFT PhD with neither ability nor character is unlikely to get a competitive place, but a 10-minute PFT with only A-levels but with outstanding ability and character may well do so. A lot depends on the regimental boards at the time, and what they are looking for.

You need to be looking for ways to develop all of these. You've talked about the fitness and education. Ability would be greatly helped by some time in the Reserves, as @bob_the_bomb suggests. Character will also be helped by that, because you will start understand the kind of person the Army is looking for.

Finally, there's a particular ethos that I think you should start focusing on. Instead of being concerned about what the minimum is, think: the unrelenting pursuit of excellence. This isn't about setting yourself a modest target then patting yourself on the back when you reach it. Set a target, and when you hit it, work out how you can do more or better next time. Keep doing that for 4 years, and you'll set yourself up well.
 
#7
I don't know if it still holds true but in my day selection to Regiments whilst at RMAS was also influenced by your year of birth. This meant that my original sponsoring capbadge's quota for my year of birth was full by the time I commissioned.
This is no longer the case, Quota is year to year. May intake graduate first (April) so have 100% of places to go for, when January's intake graduate in December there is only what's left after the other 2 intakes.
 

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