RCB Breifing.

oh dear what have i let myself in for ... having just completed my degree (in *ahem* War Studies and Politics) and not really having any particular idea with what to do with it i decided to go and see the nice chap from the Army recruiting.

As a result of this i am now scheduled to do my RCB breifing on the 4th of November (despite the fact that three years of drinking and no exercise have really taken thier toll) , can any of you nice people out there provide me with some handy hints for getting through this!? any assistance gratefully recieved.
Not a comprehensive list but a few pointers and I'm sure others will help out to...

Get fit, you've got a couple of months, you don't have to be a super athlete but you need to be able to pull yourself up a rope, vault over a beam, dive through a gap, that sort of stuff, there will also be a team assault (oops silly me, what was I thinking, I'll have the tree huggers on to me) obstacle course but nothing too arduous, however if you are succesful you will need to be as fit as possible for the statrt of your commisioning course.

Start reading the papers, read as many as you can to get a few different points of view, dont forget the economist. Don't just skim the headlines either, they will be looking for a good understanding of current affairs and expect you to be able to name the big and not so big players (I was asked who the Israeli foreign minister was on mine, and this was at a time when israel was fairly quiet!!)

Learn how to do speed distance time calculations in your head, knowing your six times table thouroughly will help (there are 60 mins in an hour... its amazing how easy it becomes when you get your head round that little snippet)

most of all just be yourself. They aren't looking for someone who is a British Army Officer, they are looking for someone who has the potential to become a British Army Officer.

Finally, remember you are not competing against the others on your RCB for selection, if you are all upto the standard you will all pass, if you are all crap you will all fail, in the parts that require teamwork don't jack on the others in your syndicate, the DS will notice and mark you down for it, just give 100% at all times and make sure you turn up where you are supposed to be on time!!

All the best,
and of course the most important advice is to read the feckin question!!!!

I just saw you were actually asking about the briefing day  :-[  I should think they'll just tell you all the stuff i just said but it won't hurt having a couple of months headstart
I was one of two people that passed my RCB. Granted it was a fairly small group about 26 I think, but here a few top tips that worked for me and the other fellow that we both picked up during the briefing day.

Don’t be a twat. ie go there with an open mind to learn what they are going to tell you about the actual RCB test days. Assume you know nothing about the Army and do a little research. They may come up with the classic question “why do you want to be come an Army officer?” If you understand what the Army consists of and what it is up to, you stand a better chance of putting together a sound reply. Blowing Sh*t up although seems funning at the time, it's not, RCB has no sense of humour.

Work on you fitness although not essential to be a superman it all helps and shows that you are aware that the Army is a physically demanding job. If you are unfit when you arrive ensure you go with the AGC as your sponsor. And express an interest in nothing to do with soldiering. Don’t go with an injury it makes you sound like a big girls blouse and casts a shadow over your entire test period.

Have a few contentious issues up your sleeve to talk about. Military and civvie. They are requested from the candidates for the group discussion. Make sure you have a good knowledge of them not just headlines.

Unless you have severed as a soldier or conducted an operational tour within the TA don’t mention the Army in general conversation.

Shy away from the “this one time at band camp” mentality where you feel you must tell the people in your group about things you have done. Obviously be social and have a laugh and a joke, talk about your interest but don’t try and out do everybody, someone has always done something better unless you have actually shot someone, that’s pretty cool and you should tell everyone (as long as it was done within the law. If not just send me a personal message with the info). Don’t be afraid to mention some of your accolades during the personal interviews but don’t over do it. Give them tasters and let them ask for more.

Enjoy the experience if you have what it takes they should see that. Not everybody is suited to being in the Army or even an Army officer.

You will be given a number grading after pre-RCB (RCB Briefing) 1-4

1 is go to RCB
2 is go in 6-18months
3 is fail encourage ie come back and have another shot
4 is fail discourage go get a civvie job/Green is not your colour/Try RAF regt.

If you get a grade 4 it does not prevent you from coming back but it is a real struggle to impress.

I have pratted on for quite some space if you want a bit more in-depth stuff just e-mail and I’ll see what I can find.  
Sugar Junkie asked about GYC and I keep failing to write anything so here goes in no particular order of tests you will face:

Presentations: If you are not a natural commedien, don't be funny as it will make you look a prize one. The presentations are not a test of your stand-up comedy skills. Have a start, a middle and an end (sounds silly but you bet people screw this up). The ratio between them shoulod be 10%, 70% and 20%. The start should have an intro of who you are, what you are talking about, how long you will take, and when you want questions (at the end!). The middle is where you talk about your subject. The end is the summary of the 5 or 6 points you have just raised and a conclusion.

Leaderless command task: This is usually a bit more complex than the individuals and is designed to look at how you perform in a group, contributing to the overall solution without overtaking everyone and becoming domineering. it also assesses your powers of persuasion if there is a difference of opinion. If you are quiet during the brief expect the DS to pick on you to answer questions about the solution to test you have a clue what is going on around you. CONTRIBUTE TO THE PLAN!!! I can't stress this enough. Then get on and play your part in the team.

Individual command task: DON'T fall into the trap of thinking that completing means you have passed and failing to complete means the end of your pre-RCB/RCB. Listen to the brief carefully, you will have more flexibility by interpreting what you cannot do as opposed to what you can do. Example...."you have 3 pine poles, a barrell of nuclear equipment, ropes, and a brick. Anything you touch has to travel with you over te water gap. You must get yourself and your team over the water gap using the suspended rope." This does NOT mean touch everything, cos then you have to take it, nor does it mean you must take everything with you. The brief doesn't say you can't just use the rope to swing over the gap, so just swing over the gap. When you get your brief organise the tasks in your head, come up with a solution, and explain it to the syndicate. Allocate tasks such as time-keeper and then direct the task. Get involved, but not so involved you can't see what is happening and extract yourself to give orders and direct people by taking decisions. If you complete it, you complete it, if not you don't. the cmd task is designed to see how you logically organise a task and brief and command others to a completion (of sorts).

Individual interviews: write a time-line of your life and next to key dates write what you would wish to mention in the interview, it is amazing what you will forget when under pressure. Things to include are involvements in the cadets or after school clubs, university clubs and teams, in terests, goals and achievements that sort of thing. They are looking for your interestt in he army (which does not mean you must have wanted to join up from the cradle) and an ability to set goals and achieve. If you have ever failed at something turn it into a positive by mentioning what you learned from the experience and what you did to put it right.

Group discussions: know your stuff on a couple of current affairs topics, they will be bound to come up. Stick to a point of view which is not contrary to the ethics of the army. If you are a pacifist, this is not the time to announce to the world your abiding love of peace over war. Make your arguments sound, and if you win people to your point of view, great, if not, no dramas. Just don't have a wavering tony Blair type opinion that changes with every counter argument as it will make you appear weak willed. Have an argument and stick to it.

Planning task: you will work on a task and then have to present it to the DS, possibly after someone else has got half way through and is doing something radically different to you. This is a test of your ability to modify a plan. Be warned, the DS will tell you black is white and night doesn't follow day, so make sure you have got your calculations right, especially your speed, distance, time, and fuel calcs and so on because they will challenge you all the way.

Group assault course: go hell for leather leading and inspiring your team on. the weaker candidates will just climb inside themselves. use your voice and impose your personality on encouraging your team through and give 110% physical effort. This is an assessment of your character as a leader and is often the make or break test for borderline candidates.

Finally, be yourself all the way through. If you try and BS the staff will see through you. Remeber they have seen it all before and you won't be bringing anything new to the party. Enjoy it and it will show, and possibily even make the right impression. The characteristice we look for are courage, moral fibre (i.e. willing to get stuck in no matter what, leadership, intelligence, and a stable extrovert.

Good luck guys, and may the Force be with you!
HdT, GS, Wooper,

Again, thanks for your continued advice, I will take as much of it on board as possible, I'm sure it will be useful, many thanks for your time!!!


Good luck at the RCB breifing, I'm there the week after (11th/12th Nov), do you think you could drop me a line when you get back to give me a bit of first hand knowledge? would be much appreciated! Best of luck when you go!




War Hero
Best advice:

Just enjoy yourself.  You'll perform much better in a happy state of mind and you can't bluff for long enough for them not to see the faults as well as the positive potential you have, so just accept what comes.

And as Humph says, read the question!!
Ok, I'll admit it. I was an RCB "DS" (won't say when, might give myself away!).

All the above is spot on, sound as a pound etc etc and well worth following. The only things I'd add are:

1.  The briefing is just that. It's intended to make sure everyone arrives for the real event knowing what's going to happen and with a knowledge of some basic techniques (like the fact that you can make one long plank out of 2 short ones). It also tries to remove all the rampant cheating and counter-productive coaching that used to go on at regimental depots. Bear in mind though that the intelligence tests are the real ones not a rehearsal. Not much you can do about it, you're either dim or you ain't.

2.  There is no one thing that will fail you. The decision is not made until the very end and all evidence is considered. Anything you think is "bad" will be balanced by the "good" things you've done and probably wasn't bad anyway. For the same reason keep going till the end. Don't give up just because you think you mucked up something.

3.  RCB is looking for people that will survive training at RMAS and complete their first tour satisfactorily. It's not looking for supermen/women.

4.  Most important of all, the RCB staff are looking for reasons to pass you NOT for reasons to fail you. The decision is made on evidence not opinion. Assessors are not allowed to say " I think" they have to say "I saw/heard". So hoist this in, If you do and/or say nothing the assessors will have no evidence to base their decision on and you will fail RCB. You need to speak up and be involved. At the same time of course, disregarding everyone else’s contributions and not listening to suggestions is evidence of something else....

None of the above is a secret. The RCB staff should tell you all this again when you get there. It's amazing though how many candidates don't listen and seem to have no ides why they are there. You're applying for a job for Christ's sake!

Good luck and let us know how you get on.
thanks very much gents, all that is all very helpful. and now. having finished my 2 weeks working in an icecream factory i a) have the money to go "get fit" and b) am motivated by a burning desire never to do that sort of job again.

i'm thinking i'll do ok on the intellegence test (last "supervised" IQ test i got 140) just have to practise the mental arithmatic and plank studies ;)

for sponsers i've put down for the Royal Anglians and the Royal Artillery .. does anyone have any comments/further suggestions etc.

i'll be sure to let you know how it all goes. thanks again for all the advice.

I take it you are actually sponsored by the RA or R Anglians?  Sponsorship isn't who you would like to join, but which Regiment or Corps is actually sponsoring you through RCB.  The Regiments or Corps concerned would have notified you that they will be sponsoring you through RCB usually after attending a Familiarisation Visit ... just a thought but if you aren't actually sponsored by anyone (and you would know if you were) then I wouldn't put down on the form that you are...  its an integrity thing.. minor point just be aware...
From your initial post it sounds as if you were not in a University Officers Taining Corps (OTC) while you were doing your degree.  OTCs are specialist Territorial Army units which exist to give support and training to people undergoing tertiary education, and they should be geared up to give you all the info you need on RCB, getting sponsored, unit visits etc. etc.

Although I guess you have now left your uni, they should still be willing to assist.  Try getting in touch with your local OTC if you have moved away from from your uni or, better still, the OTC from your old alma mater.  You can find contact details at:


Best of luck.
I take it you are actually sponsored by the RA or R Anglians?  Sponsorship isn't who you would like to join, but which Regiment or Corps is actually sponsoring you through RCB.
ah, no ... those were the Regiments that the Army Careers Advisor has passed my details on to. The Royal Anglains have been in touch already and i'm going to send the form off for the familiarisation visit, the Artillery i'm still waiting for. The careers advisor didn't seem to think that there would be much of a problem getting sponsorship so he booked my RCB Breifing for me already.

I hadn't thought of the OTC, thats a good idea i'll check it out. thanks
Don't stress too much about sponsorship as you can go to RCB without it. If you don't have the time to undertake fam visits you can go under the sponsorship of the ULO/CIO while you await visits.

This is all relative however as the real crunch point comes after your 22nd week at RMAS when you have a "careers" fair and you can apply to regiments other than your sponsoring one for a commission. If they have vacancies and like you you may get an offer. Conversly, if you show the aptitude of a dead slug you may get dropped by your sponsoring cap badge and have to find someone to take you. Usually this would be the Women's Auxilliary Balloon Corps. As people do change cap badge or drop out or get Y listed there are usually vacancies out there come week 22.
I would suggest you attend as many fam visits as possible to different Regt and areas. You won't get much chance at Sandhuurst and it is always nice to meet some of the other officers who you may end up living/serving with.
Nothing worse than spending all your time with people you don't like or don't get on with.
Nothing worse than spending all your time with people you don't like or don't get on with.  Grumblin_subalten you're in the Artillery, you must be speaking from bitter personal experience
I'll never tell.

The bonus about being in the Gunners is that I can move every few years and find new people to not get on with, but there are enough bitter people around (see posting thread) to find a groups of like minded bitter individuals I believed the collective noun is an Officers Mess.

Joking aside you need to enjoy your mess life or it will sap the fun out of you. Now that is talking from bitter experience.


Dont worry about RCB Briefing or RCB.  Just be your self./ I didnt even want to go but my nasty CO tricked me into it saying it was a 'Promotion course' Hmmmm.  End of the day they ask you poin tless question such as I think the ideral officer has the brains of an intelligent man and the body of a barbarian, what do you think no 18?  Well Col, I have the body of an intelligent man and the brain of a barbarian if that helps?!!  Wen tdown like a marine in a naked bar!

Seriousley though just be yourself, and if you could see the dross passing RMAS nowadays you wouldnt be to worried.

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