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2013 PRMC Briefing Notes - Reference only

Discussion in 'Stickies/Frequently Asked Questions' started by Ninja_Stoker, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

    Jul 10, 2007
    UPDATED 09 September 2013
    A Message from the PRMC Team

    The PRMC is a tough assessment. Royal Marines Recruit training is probably the hardest of its type in the world and our selection process needs to be hard so we don’t waste people’s time.

    Thorough physical and mental preparation will give you the best chance of success and, be in no doubt, your ability to pass lies with you. You'll maximise this chance if you prepare seriously and follow your Careers Advisor's advice.

    We'll encourage and coach you through every stage of the course, but you've got to do the work and give 100%. We'll be actively looking for evidence of your potential and we want you to pass. We'll encourage you to perform to your maximum. Above all, we want you to enjoy your PRMC experience. Good luck with your preparation!
    The next step on your journey to become a Royal Marines Commando is the Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC), held at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines at Lympstone, in Devon.

    The course lasts 3 days and it may be the most intense and demanding thing you have ever undertaken. It's an opportunity for the Royal Marines to look at you, for you to look at the Royal Marines and also for you to look at yourself.

    Through a range of demanding physical assessments and mental challenges, we’ll discover whether you have the physical potential and necessary 'State Of Mind' to be successful in Commando training. In addition, you'll find out more about the Royal Marines, including the career opportunities that will be available to you and you'll get a good insight into what life at Lympstone during the 32 weeks Recruit Training Course might be like for you.

    Competition is stiff and to maximise your chances of PRMC success you must prepare yourself thoroughly, both physically and mentally. The course instructors are not looking for supermen' at PRMC, but they will make a comprehensive assessment of your performance across a range of attributes that are necessary to be successful in Commando training. Here's what we're looking for:








    You'll receive a letter confirming your dates and introducing the course. This will include a kit list, travel instructions and a rail ticket for your travel if required.

    You are expected to arrive in smart civilian clothing e.g. trousers, shirt and tie (a jacket is not required) and you should check your travel arrangements to ensure that you arrive on time. You will be released from the course on the Friday, early enough to ensure that you can get home that day.


    The PRMC might be the toughest physical challenge of your life so far and you must not underestimate the physical requirements of the course; if you haven't prepared sufficiently you'll find the going extremely tough.

    Most young men don't fail the PRMC, but many admit to arriving physically unprepared. You should bear in mind the following as you to train to pass PRMC:

    The Royal Marines warm-up is rigorous don't kid yourself, you will not start any physical test completely fresh from a standing start.

    You may be able to complete the various physical elements individually e.g. pull-ups, but can you do them back-to-back, with minimum rest’

    Don't forget that your performance may be affected by nerves, lack of sleep, a long journey, the weather, or a range of other factors beyond your control.

    Guidance on physical preparation is provided online and by your Careers Advisor, based around the PRMC Fitness Schedule, which also gives some examples of suggested training regimes. It's imperative that your training routine is spread over each week with consecutive training days that will help to build your strength and endurance. Your training sessions should be hard and you should push yourself to your limits in an effort to replicate the intensity of the PRMC conditions.

    After particularly hard sessions re-fuel properly and give yourself some rest time for your body to recover.

    Do your training in all weather conditions so you build up your physical robustness and mental stamina. Where possible, mix your training up e.g. with swimming, circuit training and cycling, in order to give some variety. Whatever training regime you decide to use, look at what's required on PRMC and adapt your training accordingly.

    Above all, when it's raining and cold and you just don't feel like getting out the door for today's training session, remember that theres another young man in your position who's already out there putting in the miles, head up and focussed on his green beret ‘ are you going out now’

    If you have an injury talk to your Careers Advisor immediately and discuss rescheduling your PRMC. You are unlikely to pass PRMC if you are carrying an injury and it may make it worse.

    We won't penalise you for being sensible about managing an injury and delaying your attendance.


    It's important that you arrive at Lympstone in the right frame of mind and psyched up. You must prepare yourself mentally for the challenge ahead. You'll be away from home for 3 nights living with up to 50 other young men in an unfamiliar environment that may feel a bit daunting. Don't worry, others will be feeling the same way. The instructors will make a positive effort to soften the culture shock of being in the military environment, but you should make a positive effort to get to know your fellow candidates before the start of the assessments.

    You must get into a positive 'State Of Mind' and overcome your nerves. Be confident with your preparation and the fact that you have got this far.

    Talk to other candidates and see how they're coping; start to generate a bit of team spirit. To be successful you will need to push yourself to your limits and beyond. Be absolutely clear in your mind that every activity will end eventually and most are actually pretty short. Think about how you'll feel if you push through the pain and complete the task, compared to how you'll feel walking away defeated.

    Maintain your motivation throughout the course and don't judge yourself ‘ that's the instructors job. If something doesn't go too well, immediately pick yourself up and focus on making up lost ground.

    Remember, we are looking for potential, not the finished product. All we expect is that you give 100% at all times and you’ll get credit for digging deep to achieve your maximum performance, regardless of your level of fitness.


    On arrival at Lympstone Commando station you’ll be met and taken to the PRMC accommodation. You’ll have some time to settle in and meet the other candidates; you may end up in training with some of these men so it'll pay to get to know them even at this early stage. You'll receive course briefings and be issued clothing, 'field kit' and boots during the afternoon and evening. You'll also be fed; you need to fuel up, eat sensibly and drink plenty of water.

    Depending on your educational qualifications, you may be required to sit a computer-based Basic Skills test to assess your Maths and English ability. This requires no preparation and is actually a great opportunity to see the superb Learning Centre facilities that would be available to you at Lympstone during Recruit Training.

    You'll appreciate an early night and a good sleep before an early start on Day1.

    In the morning you'll be expected to wash and shave and square-away your accommodation, before having breakfast.
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    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  2. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

    Jul 10, 2007

    In addition to physical assessments you’ll spend a night under canvas, normally on the local Woodbury Common Training Area. The programme is intense, with little time for recovery and you will become progressively more tired as the course unfolds. Some activities are ‘must pass’ Criteria Tests where a certain level of performance is required; these are annotated *.

    DAY -1

    Tuesday is usually the day you travel to CTC. There are no physical assessments on this day, you should aim to arrive between 14:00-16:00 unless told otherwise by your AFCO. First impressions count - as you step off the train at Lympstone Commando, make sure you are immaculately dressed. You'll be allocated a bunk bed, issued kit and settle-in, there are no briefs or formal lectures scheduled. Make sure you get to sleep early because you will be up very early the next morning.

    DAY 1

    The assessment emphasis on Day 1 is physical fitness and strength.

    3 MILE RUN*

    This is the first physical test on Day 1, which is in 2 parts. The test is conducted on local roads in combat trousers, sports top and trainers, following a vigorous warm up. The first 1 ‘ miles is a steady run as a squad in 12 min 30 sec. The 2nd part is run individually as a best effort following the same route in reverse.

    Your target is to complete the 2nd part as fast as possible. The faster your time, the better chance you will have of passing PRMC and you must achieve at least 10m 30 sec.

    Top Tip: after this test you must refuel and re-hydrate, regardless of the weather.


    These tests take place in the afternoon of Day 1 in the Main Gym, in PT kit. You will receive a comprehensive brief from the course Physical Training Instructor (PTI) on the tests and gym etiquette. Top Tips for the gym:

    If you don’t observe gym etiquette e.g. no scratching or standing still, you’ll be invited to do extra ‘correctional’ exercises, which will further sap your energy. It pays to be attentive and follow the rules!

    Use the correct technique as demonstrated by the PTI. You will be closely scrutinised and the quality of your reps will drop as you get fatigued. Poor reps will not be counted and you’ll get frustrated. Very few candidates achieve their personal best, as the tests follow each other in quick succession.

    Train to get as close as possible to the target for maximum points.

    In the gym you will complete the following tests:


    You’ll run between 2 lines, 20 metres apart, at a pace dictated by bleeps, beginning at ‘level 1’. Each level has several ‘shuttles’ at the same pace and the pace progressively quickens at each level. The first few levels serve as the warm-up for the Shuttle Run itself. The test is progressive and maximal. You should wear decent non-slip trainers to aid turning at the end of each shuttle.

    Your target is Level 13.


    You’ll have 2 minutes to do as many press-ups as you can (up to the maximum). You’ll be shown how to do ‘Royal Marines’ style press-ups’ ‘ straight body, hands shoulder-width apart, chest down to another candidate’s clenched fist on the floor, arms fully locked out and elbows in. You must not rest your knees.

    60 repetitions will earn you maximum points.


    You’ll have 2 minutes to do as many sit-ups as you can (up to the maximum). You’ll be shown how to do ‘Royal Marines’ style sit-ups’ ‘ feet held by a partner, elbows, head and shoulders making contact with the mat on the rearward motion and elbows touching the knees on the upward motion, knees together at all times and fingertips staying in contact with the temple.

    80 repetitions will earn you maximum points.


    This exercise will be carried out on a wooden beam. You’ll use an ‘overhand grasp’ (palms facing away from you) and your body will hang straight, legs uncrossed. You’ll bring your chin above the beam to achieve 1 rep. The exercise will be conducted to bleeps for both the upward and downward movements of the pull-up, with about 1 second between bleeps. You’ll be told to ‘drop off’ by the PTI if you don’t stay in time with the commands or for poor technique.

    8 repetitions will earn you maximum points. This is a criteria test and you must complete at least 3 reps.


    The Swimming Test is a change to PRMC. Wearing normal swimming kit, you’ll jump off the high diving board (3m) and swim a maximum of 4 lengths (approx 100m) of breast stroke.

    This is a criteria test and you must complete at least 1 length. If you complete 1 but less than 4 lengths you will be graded as a WEAK SWIMMER and this will affect your overall PRMC score.
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  3. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

    Jul 10, 2007
    DAY 2

    The assessment emphasis on Day 2 is physical fitness, strength and determination. All activities are conducted in boots and combat clothing.


    This comprises 2 elements:

    (1) The High Obstacle Course* will determine if you have a head for heights and the courage to overcome your fears. You will climb ladders, traverse ropes and negotiate obstacles at heights up to 10m.

    This is a criteria test.

    (2) Bottom Field work-out (Determination Test includes sprints, crawls, carrys & drags ) Pass/Fail

    Top Tips for these 2 activities:

    Listen carefully and pay attention to the demonstrations. Correct technique will help you achieve your best time and keep you safe.

    You’ll be outside and on the go for over two hours. You will need to be determined and show a great deal of stamina.


    This takes place in the afternoon of Day 2 and is the final physical test of the day. You’ll travel a short distance from Lympstone to Woodbury Common, where the Endurance Course ‘ unique to the Royal Marines ‘ runs over 2 ‘ miles of heath land. You’ll negotiate a series of tunnels and water obstacles, including the infamous ‘sheep dip’ (submerged tunnel) before running through the lanes of Woodbury Common. You’ll get soaking wet and extremely muddy virtually from the start and on the way round you’ll undergo a series of small determination exercises to test your commitment, resolve and, above all, sense of humour. The course is deliberately arduous, dirty and uncomfortable and you’ll be expected to keep going and keep smiling despite your fatigue. The test lasts for approx 90 minutes. You will then run-back to camp - distance is approx 4 miles, the pace is around 9 minute/mile. Around 50% of PRMC failures occur on this element - keep-up with the pack!
    This is a criteria test and you must stay together with the group and not fall behind.


    On completion of the Endurance Course you’ll move to a location for your ‘night out’ and pick up your dry set of clothing and ‘field kit’.

    This will either be on Woodbury Common Training Area or back at Lympstone, depending on the time of year and weather. You’ll spend the rest of the afternoon and the night gaining an important introduction into a side of Recruit life that is less about fitness and more about State Of Mind’ and the business of learning to become a Commando soldier.

    Through a series of activities you need to prove you have the ability to learn new skills and put them into practise, working with your fellow candidates in an unfamiliar environment when fatigued.

    You’ll cook and eat military rations and erect shelters to sleep under. You’ll participate in a watch (sentry) routine to ensure your area remains secure during the quiet hours. You’ll practise military activities such as stripping and assembling a rifle used by Royal Marines in combat and you’ll gain an insight into how to look after yourself and your equipment in the field. In the morning you and your equipment will be inspected to see how well you have taken in the new information.

    Top Tips for the Night Out:

    This activity is designed to take you outside your comfort zone to see how well you cope, as an individual and as a member of a team. Helping others, particularly if you have relevant experience e.g. through cadets or scouts, will earn you credit.

    At an unexpected point during this activity you will be tested on a military task e.g. stripping and assembling a weapon, that you will have been shown earlier in the course, to see if you can think when you’re tired and under pressure.


    Interview. Your PRMC Section Corporal will interview you during the course, to find out a bit more about you and see whether you have done your homework on the Royal Marines. If you really are serious, determined and motivated to join our Corps we would expect you to know quite a bit about the job, the training, where we are currently serving in the world and our history. You should study all your careers literature, our Regimental magazine ‘ the Globe & Laurel ‘ as well as the online resources, especially www.royalnavy.mod.uk, to ensure you are properly prepared.

    There are a number of information boards around the PRMC accommodation to help you brush up on your RM knowledge.

    Interest Lectures. At PRMC you’ll receive information on various aspects of the Royal

    Marines including weapons acquaints, career opportunities, realities of training and you’ll have the chance to talk with some RM Recruits about what life’s really like in training.

    Take this opportunity to ask questions before you make what could quite literally be a life-changing commitment.


    You can withdraw yourself from the course at any time and this is discussed below. Conversely, a course instructor may withdraw you in the following circumstances:

    If you do not achieve at least 10 min 30 sec for the 2nd part of the 3 mile run assessment.

    If your physical performance at the end of the Endurance Course is such that you are unlikely to pass the PRMC on physical grounds.


    As you’ll be briefed on Day 1, you can withdraw yourself from the PRMC at any time and there may very well come a time when you feel like quitting. If you do withdraw, regardless of the circumstances, you will be counselled by an instructor, and you will travel home early.

    You may be recommended to return in the future; this is not a given and advice will be based on your performance at the point of withdrawal.


    We’ll look at your whole performance when considering your result and you will be told this before you leave Lympstone. In simple terms you will either PASS or FAIL, as follows:

    PRMC Pass ’Ready for RM Recruit Training now. We’ll pass your name and performance details to Captain Naval Recruiting for final selection and allocation to a Recruit Troop to start training.

    PRMC Fail’ Not yet ready for RM Recruit Training. You’ll be advised why and whether a subsequent PRMC would be appropriate. If so, you’ll be given recommendations on how best to prepare and a suggested return timeframe

    We’ll also send details of your performance to your Careers Advisor. When you get home you should continue to work closely with them to make all the necessary arrangements for either your entry into RM Recruit Training or another crack at PRMC. Good Luck!

    Key message ‘ PRMC will be smarter, not harder.

    The change is fundamentally about the candidate getting a more comprehensive insight into what life in Commando training will be like, especially that it’s not just about doing phys!
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  4. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

    Jul 10, 2007
    Just to update a few subtle changes:

    • Those attending PRMC are advised the bottom field element now, once again includes undertaking the Assault Course (a talk & walk through, followed by the run).
    • Watches and Jewelry cannot be worn during PRMC. This includes wristbands (H4H etc). Watches maybe worn during non-physical evolutions as determined by staff.
    • All those attending PRMC are advised to bring a notebook and pen.
    • You are required to have a clean, wet shave every morning on course with a manual razor not an electric one. You are also required to arrive on course clean shaven.
    • Make sure you revise your Corps Knowledge - you will be tested!
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  5. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker Admin

    Jul 10, 2007
    ...just to add - learn the details of at least three or four RM VC holders.
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  6. Mudlarker

    Mudlarker Active Member

    Jan 30, 2017
    App Stage:
    Hi Ninja - I was just wondering whether your notes in this thread of a couple of yrs ago are still pretty much the case. Also - with so much prmc stuff on the forum, is there a favourite diary of yours that sums up pre-prmc training programmes better than others?
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