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RAF My Officer Selection Diaries

All Royal Air Force related articles, frequently asked questions and other useful information in here.
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rogue0809
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RAF My Officer Selection Diaries

#1 Post by rogue0809 » Sat 17 Sep, 2005 10:39 am

Filter Interview
Well it all started with my RAF presentation, which was interesting and informative, however a bit frightening as the career’s officer said that only 1 % get selected to become officer’s from start to finish so was slightly unnerved by the task which I had set myself but also saw it as a great challenge.

From there, I went for my filter interview about a month later as it took forever to collect all my past educational and qualification certificates. When I got there and met the careers officer, he told me that my 1st choice branch of PEdO (my other branch being Provost) had ‘moved the goal posts’ and that I needed a post grad in education to be able to go for it! I was mortified as I have a degree in sport science and the GCSE’s and A levels needed but not the PGCE. I couldn’t believe it; I thought I’d failed before I’d even started!

Anyway I told him that I had a fitness instructor course of a high standard and had work experience in P.E teaching whilst at college. He said it may help and would contact the head honcho at RAF Cranwell to see if I could still go for it. There was no reply when he tried so I said I’d go ahead with the interview anyway, as I knew my stuff and had psyched myself up for it. He covered my background (which you really need to know and also get to know your dates and be able to sell yourself, I threw in my representative honours in sports and my travelling experiences etc so really get to know the good things you have done in your life) then he moved onto my motivation for joining the RAF as an officer, (here you need to be original, sincere and genuine! Really mean it! Know the benefits of joining the RAF as an officer and what appeals to you) he or she then may move onto RAF equipment depending on branch choice e.g. if your going for pilot then expect it, then possibly RAF Op’s, so get onto the RAF website and know what they are doing and where. You will definitely need to know about OASC and IOT and your branch training and about your branch in general so put the homework in. Know it crystal clear in your head so you sound confident when asked. He or she may cover a bit of current affairs but not a lot, so have a good general awareness of what is going on around the world and at home but don’t go over the top. They will mainly just ask your opinion on something, not ask for stacks of info on a topic.

In general that is it, just be confident and be yourself, seem comfortable even if you’re crapping it and try to smile as much as possible. At the end of my interview he told me that he was impressed and that I would be going to OASC and that he would fight for me to be able to go for PEdO even without the PGCE (that certainly put a smile on my face). Whilst telling me this there was a phone call from Cranwell and it was the top brass wanting to speak to the careers officer. When he came back after the phone call, he told me the good news and said that I would be allowed to go for PEdO still. I was delighted and thought that it was the good start I needed. The moral to this story is that no matter what hurdles come your way, try and be as prepared as possible and just go for it with everything you have got, no matter what.

Preparation
Then comes the wait for your OASC date if you get through the filter interview. To prepare for this I read the Telegraph and the Mail regularly and the Time and the Week magazine, also the BBC website is great for getting the core of your topics in the current affairs part, and to keep up to date with it all, Sky news and BBC news 24 is great if you have got it that is. I got hold of some psychometric test books and IQ test books from the library and worked on them when I could so that I could try and familiarise myself with that kind of testing. I also wrote down all my notes in a A4 book, which covered IOT, branch info, RAF equipment, RAF Ops, RAF history, NATO and UN info, difference between manager and leader, difference between NCO and Officer, etc. I picked 5 international topics (Zimbabwe, EU and UK rebate, N Korea, Israel and Columbia, I chose Columbia as it’s a bit obscure and thought it might interest them and guess what, that’s the topic they asked me about in the interview, anyway ill carry on) then I chose 5 national topics (MRSA, MG Rover demise, Olympics 2012, London bombings and Lions tour) and as you can see there is a nice wide variety of subjects, not purely military or political, and as they say, variety is the spice of life, so try and mix it up with a good range of stories. I followed these religiously over the next few months so not to miss anything and I’d advise you do the same, but also keep on top of any other headlines that are hitting the news.

I also managed to get hold of some problem solving questions from my AFCO, so ask as this will be invaluable help when you come to your problem solving tasks. I also took out a couple of GCSE maths books from the library and went over mental arithmetic which should help keep your mind sharp for both the aptitude and the problem solving. Fitness wise, I was already pretty fit so had a good head start but you really want to hit the mid 12’s for blokes and mid 9’s for girl’s at least to impress on the bleep test, and to be able to do this you need to practice. As a lot of it is down to technique as well as fitness. I got hold of a bleep test tape and did this about 2-3 times a week in a local leisure centre and did the 1 min press up’s and 1 min sit up’s everyday and tried to beat my score almost all the time. I was hitting around the late 12’s early 13’s in the bleep test and around 50 - 65 in the press ups and sit ups. In addition I went on bike rides and runs as often as possible and went to the gym or the pool most days for about an hour or so. If your going for Aircrew or Regiment or PEdO then practice swimming 4 lengths and tread water for 2 min’s with overalls on. I managed to borrow a pair and just asked to use a lane at the local swimming pool for about 10 min’s (it’s a bit embarrassing but its all down to how much you want it) I only did this once as I found it no problem, as the swim test isn’t a race, its just to see if you can do it.

So that was my preparation in general. I drove my family and girlfriend mad as all I talked about was the RAF and current affairs and that is what you have to do, just absorb yourself into it completely. Stay focused and positive, and with the training don’t over train either, as you’re likely to injure yourself and that is a very big blow to overcome. I’d recommend getting early nights and taking vitamins and eat as healthy as possible to keep your body in top shape, also if you don’t already get into the habit of getting up at around 6 am a couple of weeks before you go to OASC so your body clock is used to this when you arrive.

I organised a couple of RAF station visits and met the officer’s of my chosen branch’s which I found very insightful (I just got the numbers from the net and contacted them, that easy), and it also looks good when you mention this in your interview. I managed to join a local ATC squadron as a civilian instructor to further submerge myself in the RAF environment, which I found great fun and useful but also is seen as helping the local community as you’re a volunteer worker (I helped out with the adventurous training and playing the sport). I was also fortunate enough to be able to go and speak to my old UAS friends and the officers there for advice and any other info I needed, and I also managed to get a practice interview in (this will definitely help you for your confidence and know a bit more of what to expect).

I’d would also advice that you slow down on your revision a week before and just get into the mindset of what is coming up. The last week should be a wind down of what you have been doing for the past couple of months, so that when you arrive you’re not too uptight or your mind isn’t racing with info, as you will have quite enough to take on board. This is quite similar with regards to training, I would not recommend training as hard as you have been a day or 2 before you head off to OASC, so that you aren’t too tired and that you have plenty of energy as you really are going to need it.

30th of Aug
Then came the day I left for OASC (wow, nerve racking)! Make sure you leave nice and early so you can get there and mix with all the people your going to be with for the next couple of days (it should settle the nerves a wee bit). I’d recommend taking mini chocolate bars and energy drinks to keep topped up with fluids and energy. Also don’t do what 90% of the candidates did when I was there and revise every night because if you don’t know your stuff by now then you’re not going to remember much more with a few hours panicked revision. It will just confuse you and put certain info to the front of your mind and other stuff to the back when it was probably all in perfect order beforehand. You need to relax and maybe playing pool or watching TV and having a Shandy or something will help you do this. It’s all about your mental state now, not last minute cramming.

So when I arrived we were all given the brief about what was going to happen and then I went to my room and unpacked all my stuff and made it as homely as possible (the beds are terrible if your anything over 5’10”, so you may need to put your mattress on the floor which helped a lot of people) then it was dinner time and this is when you start to get to know the guys and gals who are in the same boat as you. There were 18 of us in total, which included 4 girls and 14 blokes. Generally all of a good sort. Here you chat about the usual and ask questions like ‘what branch you going for’ and stuff like that. If there is someone there who has been before then it might be worth having a chat about his or her experience of it and gleaning any info you can or want about it. I got a fairly early night, about 10pm and had a pretty good sleep.

31st of Aug
I set my alarm for about 6am as the bell goes off at 6.15, so its better to get up and jump in the showers before everyone else does (don’t worry girls, your separated from the blokes!). Then it was off to breakfast and across the road to the Adastral hall for the aptitude testing. Here you will be briefed by a very nice woman on what it’s all about. Don’t be nervous or worried about it, as there really isn’t much you can do in the terms of preparation, its just natural innate skills, and I actually quite enjoyed it, as did everyone else. Make sure you take on plenty of fluids and a tip I’ve been told is to chew gum as it helps you concentrate and can help memory. Not sure whether it is true but worth a go. Take as much time as you need here when not being timed but try not to let the timed tasks pressure you too much either. You do the tests at a kind of desk cubicle with a monitor, keyboard, joystick and foot pedals which you actually only use once (foot pedals, that is). Try and see these as fun, because the more relaxed you are, the better you will perform. You should finish just before lunch and then off for some food you go. I came out with passes in all the trades except air load master, which was strange but was generally pleased with that, even though the branches that I had chosen were not aptitude tested.

Then came the medical. This is completely out of you hands so don’t worry about it. They test your hearing, vision, weigh and measure you etc. I was cleared for everything, which was a big relief that’s for sure. I’d recommend taking a pair of flip flops otherwise you will have to wear your nice black polished shoes with the dressing gown your given (and u look a total nonce if u do this, I did!), which by the way the dressing gowns have changed and are actually quite nice, so no need to worry about bringing your own, unless your attached to wearing your own dressing gown that is! These take you till about 4ish, and then it’s off to get changed back across the road and to the sports hall for the fitness test.

The fitness test consists of the bleep test; the maximal press up test in a minute and the maximal sit up test in a minute. There are 2, 5 a side football areas side by side here and you will probably be split into 2 groups for the bleep test. The bleep test is where you have to run 20 metres back and forth for as long as you possibly can but making sure you make it to the end in time with the bleep, you cant go too fast or too slow. A technique I had learned from my father, who was a very good long distance runner, was to get your breathing under control before you start, to make sure there is plenty of oxygen in the muscles to be able to work properly. I did this by taking big, deep breaths and holding it for a few seconds then slowly releasing it. I did this for about 5 minutes before it started. Another tip I was given was to keep your arms low so that your not using extra energy to hold them up and pump them and it also opens up your diaphragm, which controls your breathing. It worked for me, and with the added help of adrenaline I managed to get 14.1, which I was ecstatic about. Even the PTI’s said they were impressed which definitely helped boost my confidence. Next (after about 3-4 minutes rest) it was the press up’s (arms shoulder width apart) and here you have a partner who makes a fist and places it on the floor and your chest has to hit his or her fist on the way down to make a press up count (try and get a guy with huge hands, as every millimetre helps hahaha). I managed to reach 53 in a minute which wasn’t my best but I was quite pleased with it as I was shattered after the bleep test. Lastly it’s the sit up test and here you have a partner who holds your feet down and your shoulder blades have to hit the floor and your hands have to touch your temples at all times, and on the way up your elbows have to touch the tops of your knee’s. I scored 52 and once again was quite pleased. I’d advice taking a drink with you (non fizzy energy drink) and to keep taking small sips as often as possible between tests.

Once we did this it was back to the accommodation and showers’ knowing our first day was over with. Then onto dinner and once again I tried to chill out and just socialise with everyone as we all had quite a lot in common (highly motivated people who want to be a part of the RAF). Once again had a couple of shandy’s and had an early night.

1st of Sept
Unfortunately I didn’t get as good as night sleep as the night before and woke up feeling a bit sick with apprehension as I knew it was make or break time for getting onto part 2 because it was interviews in the morning. Breakfast was a quiet affair as I was not the only one nervous. We all went over to the Adastral hall were it all happens and found out who was going to have the interview straight away and those who were going to finish there medicals. I really wanted to have the interview first and get it out of the way but unfortunately that was not meant to be and found out I was in the 2nd group of interviews. The rest of the medical consists of seeing a doctor who checks your heart and blood pressure etc, and if your bloke, the crown jewels.

Then it’s on to the interview. A woman came and met me at the waiting area that was fantastic at calming me down and put me at ease. She took me to the interview room where another elderly male officer was sitting. Make sure you smile lots and seem confident and a good firm handshake makes a big difference. The room I had wasn’t too large so you don’t have to shout but make sure you make an impact when you speak. The first part of the interview was very similar to the filter as he just went over my background, and once again its here that you have to sell yourself in short, sharp concise answers as they speed you through the questions. Make sure you know your dates and be able to throw in as many achievements as possible without it sounding unnatural. Try not to be put off with the other officer writing or the CCTV, just focus on the person who is asking the questions. Remember lots of eye contact, smiling and try not to fidget or mess with your hands or scratch anything! Then the other officer took over and moved on to why I wanted to join the RAF and why as an officer. Make sure you have a clear and confident answer ready in your head. Then she moved onto RAF equipment and they will delve deeper and deeper into your knowledge to see how much you know. They are not trying to trick you; they are just trying to find out if you’re going to blag. Whatever you do don’t blag as they will see right through it, just say ‘I’m afraid I don’t know’, as simple as that. She also made me cover RAF operations and stations and asked a bit about NATO and the difference between a leader and a manager etc.

Then it was onto the current affairs and for some reason everyone including myself absolutely cacked our pants about this part beforehand but it really isn’t that bad. The interview lasts about 45 minutes and the current affairs part lasts about 5 at the most. Like I said previously she asked me about Columbia and shortly after I had started she cut me off, as it was obvious I knew about it (don’t be put off if the interviewer does cut you off, it’s just obvious to them that you know it, so they want to move onto other stuff you may not know). So then she just asked questions of her own which generally meant having an opinion on it and being able to put your point across. So don’t worry about knowing dates and names too much, just having a good general knowledge is more important and an understanding of the subject, but also an opinion. After this she asked me what had caught my interest at home with regards to current affairs and I named the topics I had chosen and she asked me a few questions about the London bombings and that was it, all over. Then she moved onto the usual questions, which include drugs use and the RAF laws etc. No need to worry here either. Then it’s all over and you have just completed part 1.

Then comes the most horrific part of the ordeal, the waiting to find out if you have made it onto part 2.

Let me try and paint a picture here for you. All of the guys and gals you have been getting on with, who you could even start considering as friends are now all down with you in the waiting room and you know that if the phone rings at reception, which is right in front of you, it will probably mean someone is going home. If your name is called out then that is it, you’re off, no more, end of the road, get the picture. It’s absolutely horrible. You’re all chatting and then the phone goes, and it goes deadly silent. You all look at each other, quite literally seeing the fear in each other’s eyes. A name is called and its not you, there is so much relief but at the same time it was Joe Bloggs who you were sitting next to, chatting to him and you thought ‘what a great guy, he’s definitely a contender’, and the next minute he’s gone, BAM! You can’t help but feel sorry and gutted for him. There is such conflicting emotions flying around, it’s crazy. Saw a couple of people break down and cry when they didn’t make it, it meant that much to them. Unfortunately, I was the first to finish my interview and medical so I had the longest wait, but on the plus side, I felt like the interview had gone well, but you just never know. All I can say to the people, who go through this, is good luck and expect to go through a harrowing experience. I take my hat off to anyone who goes through it.

Finally when 8 people had been called out and told to go home, and only 10 remained, a woman came over to those of us who were left and congratulated us on getting through to part 2. The relief is immense! I had made it to the final stage. We were then told to follow a guy to collect our very sexy overalls and bibs, and its here you find out what syndicate your in, I was in alpha syndicate as ALPHA 1 (the number your given means nothing by the way). Once given these, we then headed off to lunch and then got changed into sports kit and overalls and went back to the waiting area in the Adastral hall. Here you get your picture taken and briefed on what is about to happen. Then you’re marched (not literally) off to the exercise hangars for the familiarisation part of the exercises, and you’re shown the basics of the exercises and the general rules. Pay close attention to this as it’s very important.

After this you’re rushed off to your syndicate room and the group discussion begins. The officers will throw in all sorts of topics. We were given ‘do footballers get paid to much’ and ‘do you think the new licensing laws will make a difference’ and another one that I cant really remember (sorry). Here you have to make sure you make a positive contribution and say something that is worthwhile. Whatever you do don’t just sit there and stay quiet but on the other hand don’t over power the debate by not letting other people speak or say something that has no relevance to the debate just to say something. Reach a happy medium and you will do fine. Remember your manners and don’t interrupt people but at the same time don’t be timid. Pay attention to what everyone is saying and be interested in what they say. Just try and forget about the officers assessing you. This will just fly by, so make sure you make your mark.

Next came the group exercise. This is where your syndicate is taken to a large hangar where there are a few tasks that need to be accomplished in a certain amount of time. There is no leader appointed here but I do think they are looking at whom the syndicate will accept as the natural leader. This does not always happen as there may be more than 1 strong character in the syndicate, so teamwork and making a vital contribution is of the up most importance. Try to make your self heard but once again don’t be over bearing. Try to keep your syndicate motivated and be aware of your time. Our syndicate almost completed the task but I think we talked too much about possible ways of doing things when we should have just gone and given it a go. Even if you get penalised then it really doesn’t matter too much as they will make your penalty a fairly small one, so just give your idea a go.

Then we had to head back to our syndicate room for the group problem solving task. Here you are given I think 20 minutes to try to work out the problem on your own first and then your given some more time to discuss with the rest of the syndicate your plan and possible others if you haven’t come up with something. Don’t worry too much if you haven’t thought of a plan during the individual time, as that happened to the other syndicate and they came up with one together. I was fortunate enough to think of a solution, which our syndicate eventually used, but it could have been better. My suggestion here is to try and stick to a plan you think you should logically follow instead of trying lots of different options, as you will run out of time and have no solution where as if you just stick to a plan, it may not be the best but at least you will have a finished article which you can then put forward to the rest of the group. Try and come up with ideas and also make sure you know your speed distance time calculations, I found it useful to write these down as soon as I could start writing. Once this is over then that is your tasks over for the day. You will be mentally and physically exhausted so once again, make sure you eat and drink well and just relax in the evening. Had a really pleasant night with the rest of the candidates and generally felt at ease. However, had a terrible night sleep as I think I was very nervous about the leadership task and performing well.

2nd of Sept
It was a strange feeling knowing it was the last day that morning and that we were going to leave and maybe never see each other again as we had certainly bonded a lot since the start. Once again we were in our overalls and this time it was the individual problem solving task, where you are taken to a room and are given a set amount of time to crack the problem and come up with a solution, these are generally a bit more simple than the group ones (in other words, less information to digest). Then you are taken to the syndicate room and have to explain your solution to the boarding officers without your notes and a large map (here you just have to give a very simple account of your plan). That part wasn’t as daunting as I thought because I felt I had a decent plan. However, the next part was tough as you then have to sit down in front of them and they will hammer you with all sorts of questions, such as ‘what group are you part of’ and ‘how far could the bike go if you used that’ etc. Here I feel I didn’t manage to put enough information on my notes so that I could answer the questions quickly, so I stumbled once or twice with a couple of questions they threw at me. So make sure you get as much information as possible down on paper so that you don’t trip up on any the questions they ask. Try and get into the habit of writing down as much information as possible as quick as possible, but remember be neat in what you write so it’s easy to read and get your information from. Once you’re done here you head down to the waiting room again and wait for the rest of the guys and gals to finish.

Once everyone is done then it’s onto the leadership task. This is definitely the grand finale. Here you are given command and you get a couple of minutes to look over your task while the others are in a small enclosure waiting for you to call them. I’d seriously recommend using all of this time to test things out, like does that piece of wood reach to the barrel and how heavy is that item etc, as there is nothing worse than basing your plan on something that doesn’t work, that’s when you begin to flap. Next you have to stand at the other end of the task and brief your team on it all. It goes like this: what the task is, what equipment you have, what rules and special rules apply and how you’re going to execute your plan. After doing this I ran over to my syndicate and asked them if they understood what I had said and then asked a couple of them questions to make sure they really did understand. Then it’s down to your leadership. I delegated the jobs and gave everyone something to do while I watched and made sure it was being done correctly but also constantly motivating. I found being quite vocal and praising people a good way to go about it, especially when they had thought or done something of value, but always remain the leader and make sure that no one tries to take that from you. Try and take your time when explaining what you want done as it is easy in the heat of the moment with the adrenaline pumping to miss out important information and get it wrong.

I think the key to this exercise is to show good leadership qualities, which involves staying at all times in control of your syndicate and motivating as much as possible to keep them revved up for the job at hand (not so much on completing the task). Make sure your voice can be heard easily but without shouting also. I felt my lead went really well as I had a good group of guys and gals who worked really well for me and each other, which helps massively, and if you do manage to do well in this it will leave you on a major high and make you work extra hard in the tasks when you are not leader. When you’re a team member and someone else is leading then make sure you are the god damn best team member you can be and do anything your leader says, because if you haven’t led yet, then you want them to do the same for you as you did for them, whereas if you don’t listen or try and take over their lead then they will certainly not want to help you when it comes to your turn. It’s all about working for each other here and giving the guy or girl who is leading the best chance to actually lead. If you don’t you will also be marked down for certain by the boarding officers for not being a good team member which is equally if not more important. Just use common sense! Once this is all over, you will probably be shattered but there is one last very brief interview, where they ask you about your branch choices to make sure they are in the correct order of preference, and stuff like ‘ what did you find the most difficult’ or ‘ what if anything did you learn about yourself here’. So there is nothing to worry about here, they aren’t suddenly going to barrage you with questions again about RAF equipment or anything like that!

Once this is completed then that’s it, its all over, you have probably just finished the most challenging 4 days of your life. It’s a very weird feeling knowing it’s all over. I for one was quite saddened by it as I had also enjoyed myself a lot and made some good friends even though it being such a short time. We all then got changed and had lunch together and said our goodbyes and then head off in our different directions, back to normality. Like I’ve said before, anyone who is thinking of going through that or is about to go through it or even more so, been through it, then I take my hat off to you as it was an incredible experience which requires dedication, training and motivation like nothing else I had crossed before. I certainly felt slightly different from that experience. In a way more experienced and more confident, knowing that even if I didn’t get in and had to follow another career, I would never have to go through anything as tough as OASC. Good luck.

Possible Improvements
Although I worked extremely hard in preparation for both filter interview and OASC, I still feel I could have improved on a few things. I could have got in a couple more station visits, as I think especially in the interview this shows great commitment, and these visits can be very useful and informative.

I also could have joined the ATC as a civilian instructor earlier, it just came to as a brainwave one day, just wish I could have thought of it earlier, as once again it’s looked upon as commitment and a contribution to the community and to the RAF and its great fun and an excellent experience.

In the interview my sporting and adventurous activities were extensive but I feel I lacked slightly in other areas, such as being able to play a musical instrument or other certain hobbies that don’t come under sport. If you do something like this then it makes you seem a much more rounded person and therefore much more desirable for selection. Try and take something like this up if it’s possible, if you don’t already.

Even though I felt that my group discussion went well, and I got my point across fairly well, I still believe that if I had practiced a bit more debating at home or with friends then I would of come across even better, which is always the aim.

Also, like I said before, in the group leaderless task, I wish that instead of chatting and trying to work out possible ways round problems, we should have just got on with giving it a go. So don’t pussy foot around it, if you have got an idea then just say’ right gang, lets give this a go’.

Lastly, in the individual problems solving I could of got down a lot more important information, so that when the boarding officers do ask the questions, you can readily answer them which always feels good.

Other than the things I mentioned, I do feel it went really well and was told so by some of the guys there, which was nice and a great confidence booster, but there is always room for improvement, so you should always look at what you are doing and think how could I improve on it or make it better, I feel that doing that, confidence and preparation is the key to success, especially when it comes to trying to get into the wonderful world of the Royal Air Force.

Good Luck Again!

I’ll keep everyone updated on how I get on as I’m now in for the big wait.

The Result of my waiting !
Well I waited for 2 weeks exactly and didn’t get the news I was hoping for to be honest. I wasn’t at home when the letter arrived but knew it wasn’t a straight yes as I asked what size was the envelope and it was a normal small one (if it’s a large one like an A4 then its good news, as it has all the forms you need to fill in). I was gutted and was really down and angry with myself when I was on my way to pick up the letter. I felt like I had put my heart and soul into it and it wasn’t good enough for the RAF. I didn’t like failure, never have!

Anyway when I had the letter my hand was shaking even though I kind of knew it wasn’t the news I was dreaming of. So I read the letter and it said I had been put into competition for the October review and will be notified on the outcome. Along with it came the debrief of my OASC performance. The selection president was ok in his comments but the selection board gave me a glowing report and said things like ‘emerged as the natural leader’ and ‘ his physical ability and contribution was commendable’ etc, so I was very pleased with all that but still didn’t change the fact that I wasn’t being given a date for IOT which I had been so excited about. I honestly thought I had done enough. I know that may seem big headed but I just thought things had gone my way and worked out well and all the other candidates kept saying things that really boosted my confidence.

So I was quite down about it all and analysed the letter time and time again trying to find all different types of meanings to it. Whatever you do don’t do this, as it will drive you potty! Im sure I drove everyone around me mad going over it again and again. What I didn’t realise that when your in competition, they have actually accepted you and want you to become a commissioned officer but just need to find a job for you as there are so few (or something like that) I was even told by a source that there are branches that they will either say NO, come back in 12 months, or your in competition. They don’t seem to want to give out right yes’s because if you think about it logically, they want as many people as possible to pick from so they can get the best of that bunch so they put candidates in the competition pool and so the numbers grow, see where I’m going with that one. Makes sense to me.

Anyway, after about a week or so of being a moody bugger I finally convinced myself that I wasn’t going to make it this time and was going to have to reapply next year. I’m not usually a pessimist at all I just really didn’t want to be let down again. So I kind of forgot about the whole thing apart from around the end of October when I knew the review was going to be, that’s when the niggling thoughts kept creeping back.

Then whilst away working in America for a friend, I received a txt from my girlfriend saying ‘ I’m going to ring you…… pick up the phone!’, now that scared the crap out of me as I thought it was 1 of 2 things. Either a death or something like that within the family or the RAF had got back to me! My heart was going like the clappers! Anyway after waiting…. Oh at least 20 seconds I decided I would ring her (on my mobile, ouch!) and after much ringing I got thru but on a terrible signal and I could hardly hear a word she was saying. However, I manage to pick up that I had a letter from the RAF (OH MY GOD! But also phew lol) and I immediately asked was a big or a small letter…….. The line went dead!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could not believe it. It was like out of a bloody movie. After that I couldn’t get a signal for ages! I could not believe my luck! Eventually after about 20 minutes of cursing and very close to losing my insanity I got thru. Straight away I asked ‘ what size is the letter?’ she replies (and please no laughing or take this the wrong way lol) ‘ it’s humungous!’ YES YES YES! I couldn’t believe it. This was honestly the last thing I was expecting as I had just set my mind for a long wait and then having to go thru it all again. I had even been planning what I was going to do in the year wait to make myself more attractive to the RAF and how I could improve on my performance at OASC! Crazy eh?! Then my girlfriend asked ‘shall I open it?’ Now don’t get me wrong here, I love my girlfriend very much, but what kind of question is that?! It’s like saying ‘ you have got a winning lottery ticket, shall I cash it in or not? Hahahaha. I very quickly replied ‘ please’ in my most polite and calm voice I could possibly do at the moment. Then after a few moments which felt like time had stopped, she finally read out to me ‘ dear rogue (didn’t really say rogue! lol) we are delighted to inform you blah blah blah that you have been selected for commissioned service with the RAF’ I went absolutely nuts! I couldn’t talk for about a minute, and I have to admit that there was a tear or two running down my cheek at the time. What a feeling, what a rush!

My start date is in May 2006 so im on the 3rd new IOT. I can’t wait for it. It has been 4 days since I found out and im still in America and it definitely hasn’t sunk in, probably because im not at home and I haven’t even seen the letter yet! Could all be a major wind up lol! Now that wouldn’t be funny, I think there would be murder done hehehe. Well got back from the states and it’s definitely not a wind up so that’s a relief lol!

Anyway I suppose there is a moral to the whole of this story and that is, if you give it absolutely everything and I mean everything, the lot, blood, sweat, tears then your in with a fighting chance, in fact more than, because a lot of what there looking for is commitment and if you have done that then it will show and they will see it, believe me, those guys are the best at there job and the British armed forces selection boards are known throughout the world as been the best and toughest selection processes in the world! Remember, if it’s your dream and you want it bad enough then go out and get it as it certainly won’t come and get you!

Well done to all who have made throughout my whole time thru it and good luck to those who are going for it, whether it is your 1st, 2nd or 3rd time. Take care guys

Over and out

Rogue
Last edited by rogue0809 on Tue 29 Nov, 2005 11:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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rogue0809
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#2 Post by rogue0809 » Sat 17 Sep, 2005 12:49 pm

hi there, i really hope that this is of some use to people out there. i think it will be because ive written something that i wished id had before i went and did the whole selection process. i would really appreciate any feed back, good or bad and if there is anything anyone can think i can add to it or improve on it please let me know.
good luck to all who want to go through the selection process. its a amazing experience!
rogue

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#3 Post by Jeremy » Sat 17 Sep, 2005 3:37 pm

Reading this has been a great help. I'm currently in the RAF as a airman, and I'm looking at going for my commision. Reading this has helped me in knowing what to expect and what I will need to prepare for. Thanks! :D

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#4 Post by Macdui » Sun 18 Sep, 2005 4:53 pm

Well done mate!

Interesting and useful to read your comments and advice. Best of luck in your career.

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#5 Post by rogue0809 » Tue 20 Sep, 2005 3:23 pm

thanx guys for your replies already. if you do happen to come in hear and give it a quick read , i would greatly appreciate just a v v short post saying what u thought.. thanx again
rogue

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#6 Post by letsrole » Tue 20 Sep, 2005 3:32 pm

I'm not even going RAF but I thought it was interesting and a good read

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#7 Post by Anna » Wed 21 Sep, 2005 9:32 am

Just wanted to say thanks for so much information! I go to oasc this Sunday (25/09) and am a little nervous to say the least. Really good of you to take the time to go into so much detail. I had been told they were changing the fitness test to a pass/fail system rather than a graded one. ie they now stop you as soon as you have reached the required level - obviously you didn't have this, but I wondered if you had heard anything similar while you were there? Also, could you give me an idea what levels the girls in your group were reaching on the bleep test and whether we have to do full press-ups or the 'girly' ones?!

Cheers,
Anna

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#8 Post by rockapemk1 » Wed 21 Sep, 2005 9:56 am

Do they run OASC every month?

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#9 Post by Anna » Wed 21 Sep, 2005 10:51 am

2 times a week!

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#10 Post by rogue0809 » Wed 21 Sep, 2005 12:31 pm

i actually believe they run oasc either once or twice a week too, dependant on numbers etc.
as for the fitness test , i peronally dont think they will stop u ever in the bleep test as it also shows commitment and if u do get into iot then it will show improvemnet or slips in fitness too, acts as a guide line as it were. anyway the girls mixed between late level 6 and mid to late level 8. there were only 3 girls doin the fitness test as one said she had a respiratory infection and couldnt participate. if u can reach level 9 then id say ur prob gonna be one of the last if not the last girl goin which i can imagine would be a v good feeling. as for the press upu get the use of a bench to do them which only makes them slightly easier. good luck and if u have anymore questions then ask away
rogue

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#11 Post by B_H100 » Thu 22 Sep, 2005 9:27 am

Great account, I've been through OASC myself and reading that brought back a few memories! Good luck in your career!

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#12 Post by mathilda » Thu 22 Sep, 2005 10:55 pm

Anna wrote:Just wanted to say thanks for so much information! I go to oasc this Sunday (25/09) and am a little nervous to say the least. Really good of you to take the time to go into so much detail. I had been told they were changing the fitness test to a pass/fail system rather than a graded one. ie they now stop you as soon as you have reached the required level - obviously you didn't have this, but I wondered if you had heard anything similar while you were there? Also, could you give me an idea what levels the girls in your group were reaching on the bleep test and whether we have to do full press-ups or the 'girly' ones?!

Cheers,
Anna
I've just been to OASC and the press ups are done as per the instructions in the RAF fitness leaflet you should have been given at AFCO. The womens press ups are done using a bench which is 60cms off the ground.. not a box press up but the same as the full style (but at an angle so they are easier). It depends on how old you are as to how many press ups etc you have to do. All the info is given in the sheets about OASC. Good luck and remember to smile!

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#13 Post by Rizzarazzu » Sun 09 Oct, 2005 10:09 pm

Spot on rogue,

Fair play to you for taking the time to type that out and share your thoughts.

I did OASC a week or 2 before you - i was applying for WSOp.

Those of you that are going to OASC in the future, take serious note of everything he said - it is spot on. It sounds exactly the same as mine, to the letter.

The tests themselves fly by, i can't believe how quickly everything went. The pain in the butt (as rogue mentioned) is all the waiting around. It's hellish - they do it on purpose - it's a test in itself. We waited 2 hours after the day 3 medicals / interviews in the reception area - every time the phone rang everyone cringed. It was funny actually as after the phone rang one guy (who i knew already thru' air cadets) was called and my heart sunk for him. He looked gutted and we all went into 'sad' mode for him, until the Cpl. on the desk (a scouser) lightened up and said "You got yer key for yer locker, mate ? " He only kept his key for his locker after the meds ! He got through to phase 2, along with 19 out of an original 22 (the 3 failures were all medical, too, so that was morale boosting) but i found out a few weeks later that he got turned away for a year and will apply again next year, shame really, because he's a really nice, down-to-earth and switched on geezer.

Anyway, the best advice i can give is relax - don't get too het up about it. The whole experience flies by, you meet good people up there (well, i did and i'm sure you will) - interact with them and socialise with them - you can all help yourselves thru' this - a little bit of teamwork starts you off. DO NOT swot while there - if you don't know anything before you get there, you never will. As rogue said, swotting just muddles your brain up.

Rogue actually did EXCEPTIONALLY well for the fitness and fair play to him. I got 10.5 bleep, 26 press-ups and 31 set ups, i'm 27 and just scraped it.

2 weeks (-ish) later i got my letter - i've been accepted and providing i pass P2 Medical on 24-25 Oct. i start RTS / NCAITC on 4th Jan 06. Fingers crossed !

Seriously though - read all the stuff in here and on other sites about what to expect, what you do - revise your maths, RAF info. and get up to scratch on your current affairs beforehand, then read this post by rogue a fair bit before you go and take the advice seriously - it really is exactly like this.

Well done rogue, and good luck to all you budding RAFFERS.

Per ardua ad astra etc, etc...


Rizza.

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#14 Post by rogue0809 » Sat 22 Oct, 2005 7:12 pm

hey guys, just wanted to say thank you so much for all your replies and your compliments about the article. im so pleased it has actually helped people. as most of u know im in competition so fingers are very tightly crossed! i wish u all the best of luck and if anyone has any queries and questions then please feel free to ask away.
cheers guys

rogue

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#15 Post by gr4pilot » Mon 31 Oct, 2005 9:34 am

I'm back! And I've had four of the most fun days of my life. I'm not going to go into great detail on what happened as it's been done, and done well, by those who have gone before me. I will however give a general run through and pick out the highlights/give any tips I can.

Day One
Got there unpacked met everyone (and they were a great set of people) One of which was going for PEdO and was on the Leeming Trip with Blackhawk last week. Don't have a beer tonight! From my nursing days I can tell you that even the slightest alcohol will affect the rhythmic nature of your sleep patens and make for a less restful sleep. Make sure you get to bed (as in bed) by 9.30 so you have 30 mins to get to sleep and 8hrs sleep thereafter.

Day Two
Aptitude tests, great piece of advice and I beg everyone to take it: approach them like you're going to spend the morning playing computer games, not tests. Everyone who went in thinking they mattered got lower scores than those of us who were thinking 'DAGER, DAGER, DAGER TAKE THAT FRITZY' on the CVT. Ok so an exaggeration but you get my point. Take in a bottle of still Energy drink and a large energy bar make sure you put these on the floor next to the comp cause otherwise you look a numpty having to take your suit jacket off the partition wall every time you want a bite during a break…just like I did. Try and space out eating/drinking so you have plenty of energy, don’t run out of either and don’t need to pee when you’re trying to concentrate on making bearings on a radar screen (note this as I failed the ATC tests).

First part med speaks for itself, those going for Pilot/WSO/p make sure you sit up properly; they had to re-take my sitting measurement because I was slightly slouched and recorded as being too small.

Fitness, just go for it, so people know: I got the best grading for fitness for a male 18-24 with 12-2 on the bleep, 45 pushups 47 sit-ups. Don’t kill yourself on the bleep one guy did incredibly and got 15-1 on the bleep and fluffed his sits/pushes

Relax

Day Three
Interview at 0730, which was good because it meant that there was no time to start worrying about info. I got asked… wait for it. What’s different about the Merlin  as a smile spread across my face I came out with everything we’d put up on the forums. Again, relax and if you don’t know say it. They will keep pushing you and pushing you till you don’t know something. They got to the point with me when they asked how many hours ground school was on 208 Sqn when I gave them the answer they asked what was taught there. Blank expression, followed by an ‘I don’t know Ma’am but at best guess something like……’ It was a bad idea, I should’ve just left it at an ‘I don’t know!’

Med pt2
What it says on the tin. By the way guys the Wg Com gave me the all clear on my migraine history! Marked me fit all air/all ground.

During the chop we played hacky sac in the waiting area, nearly bust some of the fancy windows but hey ho. I was talking the SAC behind the desk when the phone rang and told him not to answer it lol. Overall 2 chopped here 4 during aptitudes, leaving 12 in pt 2.

Pt 2
The greens were so sexy I wanted to take them home. I can’t believe my bib covered the blue/yellow OASC badge!

Planning, for both the individual and the group, Read it through twice before you put pen to paper; Once to orientate yourself with the situation, twice to get an understanding of the task and the facilities. Then you can start to see plans emerging and work out the S/T/Ds for them. Me and one other did that, everyone else wrote right away and we were the only ones who had seen ways round the problem. Major thing here if you believe that you have the right answer and you’re going with the wrong one say it. I didn’t push mine cause I didn’t want to seem cocky and the boarding officer tore it to shreds before telling the group that I had the right one and that they should’ve listened to it.

When doing them write your thoughts in this order, especially for the individual as they inspect your notes after.

Priorities:
1. …….
2. …….
3. ……

Thoughts
1. Shark infested custard is a dangerous route
2. Police at X town
3. Time now is xx:yy

Facilities/Equipment:
1. Car (X MPH)
2. Ferry (Leaves X, Y, & Z/ returns X, Y & Z)
3. Blah, blah blah

Possible Actions:
1. This way, that way followed by that way and this way –
- start to this way (X Miles) Y time
- Etc
- Etc

2. That way, followed by up the creek etc

If you discount an option, at the point of discounting it put a single line through it (so you can still read it when they ask you about it) and write clearly why you discounted it. This is a well ordered approach and makes the information very clear when you get asked an unexpected question.

Group Ex
So much fun, just think it through and make sure that even if you mess it up it brings up the holes in your team so you can fix them over a beer in the bar that night.

Swimming
Practice, this is hard and I failed it! If you don’t swim as part of your training, start right now, TODAY!

Day Four
Don’t worry about s/t/d calcs for this, they’re provided on the card.

Leader ex
Best advice is to be clear concise and speak up. Control your team and be seen to be using individuals specifically for their inherent abilities – i.e. I was always point man because I was the lightest and they could take the strain of the plank as I ran along it and jumped off. Use tall people to bridge gaps/stretch distances and the fittest to take on long jumps.

Give 120% on everybody’s if you think you’ve got the idea shout ‘leader’ once and then keep your hand up (if you’re not hanging off a rope) they will get to you when they can, they’ve got other things to think about and if everyone’s screaming it suddenly makes an easy decision into a very hard task.

Have fun, it’s like an adults playground in there and anyone who has the mentality for it will love every second of it.
Jx ;)

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