POC Diary January 18th-20th

Westmoreland

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Hi lads, I just finished my POC last Wednesday and I thought I'd put up a quick diary to give you guys an idea of what to expect. There were 15 guys on my course of whom 6 passed, and we had quite a strong course. I did well overall but didn't pass. I'm hoping that if you have a better idea of what to expect you won't get caught out like I did:

Sunday night:
Everyone arrived and spent some time getting to know each other in the Officers' Mess. We didn't see any of the selection staff when we arrived, we were only told that our first briefing was 8:15 the next morning.

Monday:
After the morning brief we drew kit from the stores - it will be a rush but make sure you take the time to try on your boots for a good fit. A couple of guys got stuck with uncomfortable boots, which is just not helpful. Then we went straight into the run. The conditions were quite wet but everyone got the required time. The adrenaline of running against the other candidates meant that I ran a PB of 8:36 despite the poor conditions, which placed me 4th in the course.

During the rest of the morning we prepared for the 'planning exercise', which turned out to be a group presentation on the structure of 3 Commando Brigade, and wrote the 45 minute essays. They were big on the "five paragraph essay" structure - Intro, arguments for, arguments against, personal opinion, conclusion. The prompts covered all the major current defence topics though, so as long as you've done your reading you'll be fine. At this point they also pulled candidates out of the group exercise for individual interviews, which examined your understanding of the roles of a troop commander and your knowledge of the Royal Marines as a whole, although no one was quizzed on Corps knowledge and history.

After lunch we did the RMFA. We did the bleep test in the drill shed to stop everyone slipping in the gym on wet trainers. Apart from that everyone knew exactly what to expect. If you've prepared well you will be fine, and again, everyone passed. The last task of the day was to deliver group presentations, then we had the rest of the evening to ourselves.

Tuesday:
Most guys said they felt surprisingly sore on Tuesday morning. Make sure you train twice a day on some days to prepare because Tuesday was the toughest day of my life so far.

We spent the morning on the bottom field. The Tarzan course was off limits because of maintenance so we did the confidence tests on some of the higher ropes next to the assault course. Then we had an hour long 'extra phys' that consisted of sprints, small circuits, and determination exercises, e.g. dragging a partner up a hill by your belt while bear crawling. The conditions were cold and muddy, and everyone was miserable but all you've got to do is keep going.

Then we moved onto the assault course. Pay attention to the instructions because we had a few guys do an obstacle wrong and almost take themselves out. Next we did the leadership task, which involved getting a log around the course as a team. Again, pay attention to the instructions they give you. After some team log exercises we did the fireman's carry, which really caught me out. I hadn't practised for it and it drained my energy in a big way. Good technique makes it much easier.

Lastly we attempted the rope regain over the tank. They weren't expecting us to complete the regain, but they wanted us to do 5 pull ups hanging off the rope before falling in. By the end of the morning we'd been going for 3 hours and although everyone was still present, a lot of us were struggling.

After lunch we delivered lecturettes. The psychological fear of the afternoon's activities was playing on everyone's minds, so mental resilience is important here. Next we got on a coach to Woodbury Common for the endurance course.

This is where most of my course failed, including myself. Unless you've trained hard for it, your legs will be gone after the morning. The warm up alone was fairly strenuous, and had me sweating despite the cold temperature. Then it was off round the course, doing most tunnels twice then doing sets of press ups, sit ups, and burpees at the end of each. At two of the hills we stopped and got beasted with various circuits and 'pays to be a winner' races. It really does pay to win, since you will get more rest while everyone else is doing more hill sprints. Again, it's miserable but all you've got to do is hang in there and don't fall behind.

By the end of the second hill 'extra phys' about seven guys had withdrawn from the course. We did another round of carries, which ended being the thing that wiped me out. I was close to passing out and got on the minibus with the others. The seven or eight guys who stuck it out told me that after I withdrew they didn't get any more beastings and just did the remaining tunnels before the 3 mile run back. Apparently the hare and hounds didn't really happen. The afternoon is a massive test of endurance but all you've got to do to pass is make it to the end.

Finally we returned for the discussion exercise. Be up to date on defence issues, particular the Navy's new carriers and Trident, and make sure you contribute.

Wednesday:
The swim test in the morning was more extensive than anyone expected. All those who had withdrawn from the endurance course yesterday couldn't take part so I was only watching. First they did the Battle Swim Test wearing combats, webbing, and rifle. Then they did lengths of breastroke and front crawl, two exercises diving for a brick, then an underwater length in as few breaths as possible. It wasn't easy but if you're a decent swimmer you'll be fine.

Next we had room inspections and handed back kit before receiving briefings on life in the Royal Marines and the AIB. Finally we had individual debriefs before heading home.

Results of POC January 18th-20th:
15 on course
6 pass
2 fail but offered PRMC pass
7 fail

I was gutted to fail, but I was told that if I'd finished the endurance course I would have passed. I got a 3 month return and I will be trying again in the future. Best of luck to all of you with upcoming POC's in the next few months.
 

JAMBO2511

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Sorry to hear you failed mate, best of luck with your training for next time!

Thanks alot for the diary, there's some really good advice in there, just out of curiosity, what was the route like for the BFT?
 

Pug

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Sounds like you had exactly the same thing I did, my legs cramped and just stopped just before the smartie tubes on the endurance course.I'm going back on 8th of feb.
Are you going to try again this year?
 

hurdles

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Sorry to hear, you got quite far. Next time you'll be ready no doubt.

Did the 2 people who got offered the PRMC pass finish the POC, but just weren't natural leaders?
 

Westmoreland

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Are you going to try again this year?

My situation right now means that I probably won't be able to try again in time for the '15 batch, but yes, I definitely plan on applying for the '16 batch.
 

Westmoreland

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Did the 2 people who got offered the PRMC pass finish the POC, but just weren't natural leaders?

Yeah something like that. They cracked the physical side of it alright, but they were much weaker when it came to the discussion and presentation side of things. They both seemed to accept the decision as fairly spot on, although I don't know if they'll take them up on the offer.
 

JAMBO2511

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After lunch we delivered lecturettes. The psychological fear of the afternoon's activities was playing on everyone's minds, so mental resilience is important here. Next we got on a coach to Woodbury Common for the endurance course.


I know this was over a month ago but what was the topic of everyone's lecturettes?

I recently received my POC JIs and it says the topic is the same for everyone: Why I am Interesting...was this the same for your course?
 

RunFatboyRun

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I know this was over a month ago but what was the topic of everyone's lecturettes?

I recently received my POC JIs and it says the topic is the same for everyone: Why I am Interesting...was this the same for your course?

From what I've read on all the other diaries, and the briefing notes, this seems to be the topic everyone is given. It would make sense for all courses to be equal in this respect.
 
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