Hi All, just got back from my assessment centre and I thought I'd give a detailed post for those of you, like me who prefer to have all the details. We had the opportunity to arrive by car or train, and I chose car, so this experience might differ slightly for those of you going by train.
I was told the be there for 5pm, although I arrived at 4.30pm, and saw several other cars in the parking lot already, I was advised to park up along a certain row and wait. At 4.45, a staff member approached each car individually, telling us to get our stuff, put our masks on, and meet by the gate. Once here he checked if anyone was from a lockdown area (one was, he got sent home) or if anyone was suffering flu like symptoms for Covid. We then went in one by one, showed our photo ID, received our Bib number (important you don't forget this!) and waited for everyone else to come through.
At 5 to 5 ish, we walked single file to the main building in the assessment centre, and lined up in ranks of three, it's amazing just how many people can't count to 3 apparently. We were then given a short introduction, and headed into the rec room to pick up our red and yellow bibs (this is where the number is needed.) Several people picked up the wrong number, don't be that guy! After putting the bibs on and being given an introduction to the one way system, we filed into a computer room, picking up a bottle of water and a pen along the way. You have to keep both with you at all times throughout the assessment, so try not to lose them. We went straight onto the computers to conduct the Army Cognitive Test (ACT). While we were doing this, the recruits who came by train arrived, and filed into a separate room for a powerpoint presentation on the schedule for the weekend, and the does and don'ts of our time there. Once we finished our ACT, we formed up outside the main building in ranks of 3, and when everyone had finished, we paraded to get an evening meal. The soup was terrible, the pasta was ok, the meatball was delicious and the potatoes bland. Once we had eaten, we paraded back to the main building, where we went to the lecture hall for the presentation, and the trainbound recruits took their ACT.
After they had finished, we waited while they completed their tests, and joined us. It was at this point they offered us the opportunity to do our Technical Selection Tests (TST) instead of waiting until the morning. Everyone doing it agreed. It was a 45 minute math test, with 55 questions, and I believe the highest score you need for any technical role is 26. This is pretty easy, although it's worth brushing up on indices and factorisation if it's been a while since you left school.
Once we had completed that, we paraded to the accommodation blocks, where we were given our assigned rooms. (4 to a room). 2 of the guys were already in the room as they didn't do TSTs, and they had already showered. It was 2030 by this point, we had until 2130 to go for a smoke (if you wanted) and lights out by 2200. The staff come round to do a head count and check in at this time.
Wake up call was at 0530, although in our room we agreed to do a 5.15 alarm, so we could get the room ready for 0545 inspection (essentially disinfect the bed and leave fresh sheets and covers on). I woke up early, at 0500 and decided to take advantage of a morning shower. At 0545, once staff were happy with our room, we lined up outside (ranks of three again) and paraded to get breakfast. The guys who chose to just have porridge or cereal got to go first, although we weren't doing any exercise until late morning / early afternoon. If you chose the hot breakfast, expect one bacon, one sausage, one egg (fried or poached) and your choice of tomatoes or beans. Toast is available, but the toaster takes forever.
Being at the back of the line, we had about 5 minutes to eat breakfast, then on the move back to accommodation to collect our IDs/qualifications. Before we went in, they called bib numbers, and those who didn't need to sit the maths / english tests, and those who didn't need to retake removed their top Yellow bib, to signify no more exams. Inside, they prioritised those of us that need spirometery tests, calling them forward first. They ask you to sign a few forms and they take the ID away with them. Once you have done this, it's back to waiting in the reception area until the medical teams are ready. It took an hour and ten minutes of waiting before they engaged us, and then we were taken through the eyesight tests, BMI checks, ECG, and audio tests. Once you have done this, back to another waiting area for the doctors to review the results. I waited here for around 1 hour 45 minutes, although some people were in much quicker depending on the results they had.
When in with the doctor, they go through injuries, fitness, workout routines etc, and then do multiple joint and limb checks. You will have to raise your legs, do duck walks, single and double leg squats, and 5 press ups. If you have it, any electronic copies of your exercise can make a big difference if you have injuries etc or they doubt your fitness levels.Out of the 20 people I saw go in before me, 3 passed, 8 failed, and 9 were either TMU'd, or had to repeat one of the tests.
I would have passed, but I had to do a spirometry test, so back into the waiting room for me! When it finally was time, I had to blow as hard and as long as I could into a peak flow meter, while they analysed the results on the laptop.I had to do this 4 times.
I then went back to the medical centre, received my official medical pass, and went to wait for the physical fitness tests.(PFTs) It was lunch (1200) by this point, so they provided a sandwich, a banana, a bag of crisps, and a chocolate bar. I ate everything but the sandwich as I didn't want to be full when running.
After around 45 minutes of waiting, we were taken to do the static pull and the ball throw, I can't stress how easy there are and how little you should worry about them. Another 20 minutes went by and it was bleep test time. 6 of us in a socially distanced line ran, and everyone got the score that they needed. This was stopped after 11.6, although I have heard from others it is sometimes allowed to go on.
Next step, back to accommodation to get a shower, suit up, and take myself and my bags to the lecture hall to wait for the interview. They had a movie on in the background, and left me waiting for around 10 minutes. (again, some were longer.) The interview essentially consisted of me hearing my results for each test, and PFT, and asking a few questions about what I know about phase 1 training, and what would be taught there. He told me a little about the opportunities in the army, awarded me an A grade, then provided some advice around start / assessment dates.
The final step was to collect my Identification back, and wait 10 minutes for a staff member to escort me back to the car park, where I could go home.
I hope this helps anyone nervous, feel free to ask me questions!
Which centre was this?