In March I tried and failed my AOSB. Obviously I was gutted but I havn't let this put me off trying again. The reason I failed seemed to be a culmination of little things including poor phys, a bad written plan ex and the inability to proplerly discuss in the current affairs discussion. Just a general all round poor effort too be honest.
As I've mentioned I plan on trying again but im struggling somewhat with this current affairs business. I read the times as often and as thoroughly as I can and watch question time and the bbc news channel and would usually read the week if I remember to buy it. The problem seems to be that no one I come into contact with has any inetrest in all of this so I have no one to discuss with before hand. I'm worried now that the same thing will happen on my second attempt. Basically I'm asking for tips on improving my ability to openly discuss current affiars and how I can prepare this for AOSB.
Maybe join a poltically focused discussion forum like the ones on this board and constructively contribute. Having someone dissect your arguments is a great help, though humbling at times! Don't limit it to ARRSE though, the perspective here reflects the membership and a broader perspective may be found in other places. The place I am thinking of is an Irish website,, I'm sure there is a British version. Hope this helps.
I found a tricky pattern to get stuck in is to always read the Military news in broadsheets, websites and journals. Obviously most of us have a real interest in global problems and especially in military activities around the world. Having just done my briefing, we weren't asked about anything military based (2012 Olympics, Binge-Drinking and Youth Unemployment were our topics).

My ACA recommended that I know the leading story from every Continent for the month approaching my Main Board. As well as a variety of issues affecting Britain at present.

The Economist is brilliant, but if I get the chance I'd read The Spectator and maybe something with more pastiche like Private Eye. Good Luck
Don't let it put you off. I have spent my time in the army being led by officers who have no idea what is going on in the real world or even what is going on in their own little universe.
The fact that you are unfit and will not be able to keep up with the men you are supposed to be leading and are unable to articulate your thoughts in writting should not prohibit you from your chosen profession of leading troops in battle / drinking in the mess. (Delete as appropriate.)
The fact that you are trying again shows that you are determined and the fact that you are posting here shows that you are willing to take advice. These are both good qualities for a young officer.
Stick with it, keep reading the papers and the forums on ARRSE. (You will learn more on here than you will in the times.) and if all else fails tell the nice chaps in charge of the AOSB that I said you were a decent chap and that you couldn't do worse than the last lot of mongs they passed.
Staying up to date with current affairs doesn't necessarily require doing the Times cover to cover every week. You've already mentioned it but the week is great for giving a basic covering of world events, and I agree that Private Eye gives a lot of commentary and 'behind the scenes' information.

I think just as important as the facts is having an opinion, and that doesn't necessarily mean regurgitating what you've read word for word. Try listening to Radio 4 in the morning, the Today programme normally has some pretty good interviewees and over a few weeks you should be able to pick up both the major new stories and the involved parties views on them, giving you an opportunity to decide where you stand.
Reading is one thing, but try and understand what these stories mean to different people - and what YOU think of them.

Read up on the major ideologies, understand Socialism, Liberalism and Conservatism certainly.

Although you need not discuss these ideologies in themselves, understanding them - and hopefully finding favour with one - means you will find it far easier to differentiate issues, see other points of view and - most importantly - work out what YOU believe.

You really need to carve out your own identity, politically speaking.
I bore the girlfriend to death endlessly and try and goad her into a debate.

Different strokes for different folks n all that.


Book Reviewer
Radio 4 is always good. I listened to it constantly on the commute to work prior to my boards (especially the Today programme in the morning) and it helped.
Then, once you've learned about Socialism, Liberalism and Conservatism, then go on to tackle Social Liberalism, Liberal Conservatism and Conservative Socialism.
firstly....get up earlier, work harder & try'll get there in the end.

right, the thing to AOSB is that the "assessors" in the large part aren't professionals in that specific field (ok there may be a few educators knocking about) but are experienced officers who are posted there for a 2-3 yr stint - therefore, they are unlikley to know the macro-political issues behind every news stories, or every fact regarding the latest African government crisis...

...but what they will spot is somebody that has a broad knowledge, who is widely read and critically can present an arguement well whilst contributing meaningfully in a balanced manner to the discussion. Don't be afraid to challenge conventional / conservative views but ensure that you have sound reasons, facts and are able to articulate your point well...otherwise you will look like a prize knob and ill informed
Be selective. Don't try to learn everything, just select a few good stories that appear to have merit, read some of the detail and form your own opinion of the main issues. Then, be assertive and don't allow any discussion to wander too far from your knowledge base. You cant be expected to know everything; however, make sure you have an opinion on the major issues nevertheless (you must use judgement in selecting them, your judgemnet will usually be different from someone elses).

Here's a simple exercise for you to consider. From the following 'top stories' copied directly from the BBC website, which do you judge are worth your while reading and expanding with your own opinion?

Yacht couple 'well and being fed'
Footballer jailed for sex assault
US economy is growing once again
Threshers owner in administration
Nursery worker names sex victims
Abuse ringleaders jailed for life
Union warns of more post strikes
East-west climate row at EU talks
'Further rise' in swine flu cases
BBC to cut senior management bill
Voice of Phil Archer dies aged 85
Threshers is in administration?!
Does this mean no 40% off voucher this Christmas?

Seriously though, I have a suggestion: at the end of every year, The Economist publishes 'The World In...', which is an awesome current affairs primer. It's useful because it offers predictions on world events for the next twelve months. 'The Year in 2010' will be published on 12 November. I expect you could get it on the net, or in a decent newsagent (WH Smiths).
Krek, cheers for that link.

Having only recently started reading/listening to the economist, I didn't know they did such a thing.
Often the circumstantial support and manner in which you address something is as important as the depth of your knowledge. "My concern would be....", "On the other hand....", "It could be argued...", "However....", "Consequently...", "It has often been thought that...."I think there's a useful distinction to be drawn between..."

Mind you, overdo that and you look like a logic chopper :lol:

[The sneaky b*stard approach to group discussion, now overused, is to ask someone else to elaborate on a point or develop a point of theirs. Dangerous if it looks instrumental, rather than genuine].


scoobydont said:
Don't let it put you off. I have spent my time in the army being led by officers who have no idea what is going on in the real world or even what is going on in their own little universe... blah blah blah
Biting satire there Scooby, have you thought about a career in stand up?
I'm sure you are all overthinking it. My current affairs preperation consisted of occasionally reading the "Week" and flicking through a copy of the Telegraph with my very pricey Clapham Junction purchased coffee on the train to Westbury.
It's always better to know a little about a lot, rather than a lot about a little. If you have a good base of understanding about most things, and can relate topics to areas where you have more knowledge that is a sign of good general application of knowledge.

In the briefing they spoke about whether the Olympics is a good idea, I don't know exact economic figures or pros/cons of having the Olympics, I just talked about the current government celebrating mediocrity, and the Olympics was a great way to prove to people that its good to show ambition and hard work. Enough about me...

The Economist is amazing, cover to cover like the above poster mentioned!