Hi. I will hopefully (fingers crossed!) be takin this board in April. I believe that it is similar to the normal RCB only shorter. I've been told there are lots of leadership/command tasks, an assault course, interviews (with the current affairs), an intellegence essay (?), and the dreaded planning exercise. Would be interested to know what it's like on the fitness side though?
Fitness comprises of a 500m run in your best time possible, and an assault course which you must go around completely once and then pick and choose which to do again if you have time remaining.
There was no essay when I did it in 2003. But the planex was hard enough on its own.
Interviews are two-stage, one on your knowledge of current affairs, and another on your curricular and extra-curricular interests. How easy they are depends on how lucky you are with interviewers - I had some really nice ones but heard that other people had some right monsters!
Command tasks consist of a few leaderless command tasks, and then ones where the leader is appointed.
It all seemed very daunting when I did it, everyone else had some military experience (ACF or CCF) whereas I had none. On the first afternoon I did shite, but then in the evening I decided to pull my finger out for the next day and got the scholarship. Looking back however, it was actually pretty simple... but you are under a lot of pressure and this makes it hard.
From what I've heard the Sixth Form Board is a lot less challenging than the RCB, so give it your best shot because the full RCB won't be any easier!
I can only really echo what the previous poster (Graa) said. I did mine in 2001, so my timeline may be a bit off.
Arrived in the afternoon of Day 1. After admin etc, went straight into leaderless command tasks. I got pulled up early on for being too quiet - the nerves of a nervous 16 year old! Made a point of getting seen to be involved.
Following a shower, went into interviews - 3 I think. One with a headmaster, one with a Major or Colonel, and possibly one more. These were not too bad - general enquiries into what one does at school, what one knows about the Army, current affairs knowledge etc.
In some order, not sure what we had the following.
Fitness test - about 500m sprint down a track and back. Not too sure what they were looking for - I was a fat little bloater then, probably came last out of the boys.
Command tasks - taken in turn so that everyone has a go in charge. I think the important aspect of these is to show that you have a grip of the situation, rather than to complete the task (although that would be nice). Try use the 5 command tools (assess, inform, monitor, control, appraise - something along those lines, I've forgotten). They just want someone who is not a flapper, and uses the advice of others (or not).
Spatial test - when I did this one, it was on paper - spin the block 180 degrees - what colour do you see etc. May have been some word association tests as well.
Planning task - this was really enjoyable. One has an hour or so to read a scenario and write an essay/plan to resolve the issue. I think the only maths I used was Distance = Speed/Time, and maybe pythagoras' theorem. Mine was along the lines of - 'a casualty is at point A, will die if he doesn't get to hospital within 5 hours, birds are being poached at B, someone will walk onto a firing range at C in 2.5 hours. Your speeds are xkm/h on the road, y km/h cross country, and z km/h when carrying the stretcher etc. Moving straight on from the writing phase, we went into a group discussion, about what plan to adopt. Watch out here for those who love themselves - me, me, me and I can't be arsed listening to you. Be firm but polite when telling people to 'siddown and shuddup'. The Group leader (Captain/Major) will pick on various people with quite aggressive questioning techniques - don't flap, just try and remain composed.
Group discussions - we were given a topic from the recent newspapers and had to debate it out amongst ourselves. The same goes for people who are 'me, me, me...'.
Personal talk - we may have had to give a 5 minute talk on ourselves or a topic of our own interest, I am not too sure.
Individual assault/obstacle course - Had 5 or 10 minutes to complete as many obstacles as possible. Effort and determination were more critical that achievement on this (otherwise they would have sent me packing).
Final day - final race. Your team of 8 or 10 races the other groups over the assault course. Again this is more about team work and effort than who wins.
There may well be mistakes and ommissions, but this is as complete as I can remember it.
O yeh, forgot to mention the computer tests as marvin mentioned. Basically you get an IQ kind of thing, split between literacy, maths and shape stuff. Don't be surprised if you feel like an idiot after you complete it, I did really well on a mensa test but was apparently 'below average' on this one. You also do a gay questionnaire that asks you the same 5 questions in 20 different ways, mainly about what your ambitions/acadamic interests are.
I don't remember doing a group discussion for some reason (although just assume there will be one), nor an individual lecturette, and we definitly didn't do a race between teams.
Take what we say with a pinch of salt - if it's changed like it did between 2001 and 2003, then I'm sure 2006 will have some nice new surprises for you!
When I was having an interview with the (former) school Army recruiting officer (actually a civilian) he told me it wasn't worth bothering to try for a sixth form scholarship unless I was playing at least one (if not two) sports at county level.
I got away with a rather vague reference to playing football for a local team (which was infact a last division sunday league team devised by my then school mates). However, playing a sport will increase your chances of being awarded the scholarship as it shows them you are the type of person they want.
SeahorseSpanner: Yes, it probably should. However their questions should not go unanswered just because it's not in the suitable thread.
Think the sport reference is a bit untrue. My activities whilst at school were;
rugby ('B' team level)
waterpolo - in the 1sts, but only because that was the only team
Music (in quite a big way - just got a scholarship)
CCF and ACF
They aren't looking for supermen - hence the greatly reduced fitness tests. You are 16, not 21 at this stage and they know that you will develop both physically and mentally.
When filling out the application forms early on in my Army-oriented days I must have put down stuff like
Chess player etc
pretty much anything that I had ever tried went down as an interest. Made for an interesting interview when I went to a Regimental interview - 'So Marvin, what handicap do you play off?'. Last picked up a golf club when I was 17. Don't be tempted to lie in order to make yourself interesting - they will have seen it all before anyway!
Read a Telegraph cover to cover EVERY DAY. Get a feel for one or two columnists and why you like them. Make up a list of current affairs personalities, secretairies of this that and the other. Look over the major world crisis points (not just Iraq, 'Stan, etc - bound to be a good one in Africa at the mo) and form an opinion on them - together with your own 'solution.' The last thing you want is to be asked 'How would you go about fixing the tribal and economic unrest in DurkaDurkaStan' and your answer to be 'Errr... Errrrrr.'
Try the practice planex here, and get a mate to read it at the same time. Make him question you as agressively as he can "Why are you doing that? wouldn't it be better to do this? are you sure it will take you 47 minutes to get from A to B to C," etc.
On the phyzz side, pushups and situps just before you go to bed, and when you get up, and go out for half hour runs with plenty of sprints thrown in. Other posters here are right; phyzz isnt the be all and end all, but you don't want to come last.
Main thing to make sure you are hot on is current affairs. They want to see someone who is in touch with what's going on. Read a grown-up periodical (not 'Razzle'...) and be prepared to explain what endears it to you.
My personal theory on the Sixth Form Scholarship is that if you play Rugger, you get one. Might be wrong, but it worked for me...
I did the whole 6th form scholarship thing exactly 20 years ago..and it sounds as if it has not changed one iota...less of course the computer bit as the ZX 81 wouldn't have been very good for colour testing.
Still I wasn't a great sportsman, and a state school boy to boot, but think I got through on the strength of the 'have a go at anything' and '200 megawatts of buying in to the whole shebang'. Self-effacing, conscious of your own weaknesses, yet with that sparkle that suggests you are good for moulding into an officer. I quite clearly recall the obstacle course, I threw myself round it like a Jack Russell and finished well bloodied having fallen off a couple. I think they quite liked that.
I am sure their methods of identifying leadership are timeless. Bloody good fun, and fond memories. I am still in touching with some mates I did it with.
Good luck. Getting through was a breakthough for me, and had I not had that to focus on I'd probably be mainlining crack in the backstreets of Manchester by now. Instead I am contributing to this austere forum.
I did it back in 1991 and it doesn't sound like it's changed much (we didn't have a computer test). The only bit that sticks in my memory was the interview phase which involved six interviews: one with each of the 5-man panel and a final interview in front of the whole panel. The last was classic intimidation tactics: five of them behind a big table and me on a little chair severl feet away from the table, questions pinging at me from left and right on wildly varying tangents.
I recall struggling with a question about the EC (as it was at the time) before suddenly being given a maths problem (if you have to move 2 miles and can move at 3 mph, how long will it take? Easy enough but when you're already shtiting bricks, it was a bit of challenge).
I did mine in 2007 and passed.
They are looking for sheer determination in the 500m run so you have to put all your effort in and sprint the whole length.
Make shure you are visibly knackered after the run and don't do it half-heartedly.
There IS an essay. They give you a list of say 5 subjects (Not strictly current affairs, but related), and you must choose one and write on it. If my mind serves me correctly, you have an hour to write it. I did the board in September, and passed. It is a tough board, and the only other dude from NI failed, but give your best shot on everything, act friendly, and it'll all be fine.
There are 2 boards a year, and although they say there is no quota, I don't think that's strictly true. Certainly not for gaining the scholarships. According to my ACA(O), there are about 100 scholarships each year, so that's 50 at each board. The boards run for 7 days, of which you attend two. People are leaving as you arrive, and people arrive as you leave, and
so forth. There's about 30 in each 2 day session, so over the course of the week there are about 180 people? The competition is quite tight. BUT if you get it, your name gets published in the Times
As aforementioned by goingsupersonic, bonding with your syndicate is really important. Unless you're an absolute cnut you shouldn't have any real problems, as everybody's in the same boat.
The GCSE grades seem to be in and around 25 - 30 points (ie. A* = 4 points, A = 3, etc). Everyone that I asked had the same grades as me near enough (1 A*, 6 As, 3 Bs). Some people had extras and so forth. But that's no worry, as you won't get on the board unless your predicted results are good enough. Once you're there, the results are disregarded.