Morning Lads, Thought I’d write a diary type thing for the POC which I did a few weeks ago (29/4 – 2/5/2018). I won’t go into loads of detail on all the parts as the other accounts on here give a pretty accurate insight, so have a read through these and there shouldn’t be any surprises. I will try and add some hints and tips for parts where I think it could help. So I arrived on Sunday at about 5:30, there were a few people there already, just use this opportunity to relax and get to know everyone else. I was with a top group of blokes so it was nice to have bit of a chat to try and ease any nerves. They serve a meal in the evening, so eat as much of that as you can, then drink lots of water and try to get a good nights sleep. Monday Up fairly early, I’d suggest getting to breakfast as early as possible as this gives you plenty of time before the BFT. We were then issued kit which took a while, so all the food had gone down anyway… BFT was next, it is what it is really. If you’ve practiced it you’ll be fine, the route is pretty flat so just get it done. I think the quickest time was around 8:00 and slowest 9:20, it’s the first assessment so make a good impression. Then very little time to shower and change before going into the essay/ interview/ planning exercises. Essay questions were pretty straightforward; if you’ve done any semblance of current affairs you’ll be fine. The chances are you’re not Shakespeare so don’t over complicate it, just give an introduction, a couple of arguments for and a couple against, then do a conclusion, 2 sides of A4 should be enough. I thought was quite a good opportunity to pick up marks. The interview was pretty laid back, similar questions to the ones you will have already been asked in the ‘careers discussion’. The planning exercise is fine, its based around structure/ capabilities and future of the corps, just make sure everyone knows what they’re going to say and have a little run through if you have time. After that it was lunch, as a general rule about food over the few days, just eat everything you can see. Don’t be tempted to go light because you’re worried about blowing chunks later on. Afternoon RMFA was next, like with the BFT, you know what to expect, so make sure you’ve practiced the exercises with good technique and to the bleeps – they’re all available on YouTube. Have a run through of the bleep test as well; this was where we lost our first man. Don’t get caught out here, as there is absolutely no excuse for failing this part. Another quick turnaround and we presented what we’d prepared in the planning exercise, speak clearly and confidently and don’t panic. After that the rest of the day is your own. Throughout the evening make sure you keep eating and drinking, it’s worth buying flapjacks and stuff like that for your room, you will need it. Tuesday Again, get into breakfast as early as possible, go for the high-energy food and make sure you keep drinking. Bottom field was hard work, the warm up is not a warm up, it’s disgusting. Lots of drags, crawls and carries, think we lost another man somewhere here, make sure you’re giving 100% at all times, the officers and PTIs will notice it. Don’t be worried about throwing up either, just don’t do it anywhere weird. I reckon that lasted for about 90 minutes, we were then taken round the assault course, listen to the instructions and watch the demonstrations carefully, if you do it wrong you will have to do it again, which is just a waste of energy. Then we did the leadership tasks, make sure you listen to the instructions carefully, my team (and I) were not good at this and it made us look ridiculous. It’s a good opportunity to pick up some more points. After that I think we did a best effort at the assault course, its actually pretty fun so give it a good crack, but make sure you do each obstacle correctly. Around this point was the fireman’s carry, practice this if you can, as it’s another opportunity to gain recognition. To finish the morning off we had a crack at the regain, most people managed the first attempt, but we were then made to do five pull ups and do it again… only two people remained dry. Lunch – eat and drink as much as you physically can. After that you’ll be split into two groups for the presentations, if you know what you’re going to say it’ll be fine. Most of my groups were pretty light-hearted; I think they’re looking more at how capable you are at public speaking, not what you actually say. When this is done it’s another quick change and off to the endurance course, eat and drink a bit more in this time. For me, the endurance course was entirely a mental game; just push the pain, fatigue and cramp to the back of your mind. Focus on why you are there; if you want it badly enough, you will make it. I don’t remember the exact order of everything, but it’s lots more crawling and carrying, broken up with some ‘pays to be a winner’ hill sprints. For the parts like this, it really does pay to be a winner, as you will get more of a break. I was fairly quick on the hill sprints so didn’t have to keep doing them over and over. I’d suggest incorporating some of these into your training, as otherwise it’ll be a shock and will knacker your legs even more. Eventually we made it back to the start where we began the hare and hounds… For this we were told that if we made it within 2 minutes of the PTI we would not have to run back to camp. For the first part we were told to run as a team, so do this and make sure you are encouraging anyone who is lagging. However we were then told that it was now everyman for himself, so run as fast as you can. Its only a mile or so but you’re by no means fresh - I wasn’t in great shape at this point, my eyes were pretty much looking in different directions, but hold on, (hopefully) you’re nearly there. Thankfully we didn’t have to run back, it could have been interesting if we had, I think a few more would have dropped. Bit of advice for the afternoon – just keep going, everyone is tired and in pain, but that’s what you’re being tested on, so keep smiling, push any doubts you have to the back of your mind and crack on. I think we lost 4 or 5 over the course of the afternoon. After that it was into the discussion exercise, make sure you contribute enough in this, I didn’t and got picked up on it in my feedback. Don’t be the one who’s really condescending or anything like that; just be respectful and back up what you say. The topics were fairly open so there was an argument for each side. Wednesday I’d heard lots of different things about the swim test so wasn’t sure what to expect; in reality ours wasn’t massively exhausting, although at times it was more semi-controlled drowning. We jumped in off the board with combat/ webbing/ rifle swum a bit then had to pass it off to someone on the side before treading water for 3 minutes. Big tip here would be conserve your energy on the swim to make sure you don’t completely sink when you’re handing off the kit, as a couple of the lads were made to do this again. When it comes to treading water, try and tilt your head back as much as you can and keep lots of air in your lungs, it helps you float a bit more. After that we had to push a brick along the bottom of the pool. If you’re not a confident swimmer I’d suggest doing something about it, at this point you’ve achieved so much that you don’t want to start having major issues. The rest of the time was admin/ cleaning and packing. Somewhere during this 3 of the guys were pulled off to be told they had PRMC passes, so don’t think that just because you got to the end you will have passed… The rest of us (8 I think) were told to relax as we’d passed and given a brief about what to expect from here, then a bit about the training pipeline and the Captain talked about his career so far. Take some notes as its pretty useful, some of the info is pretty hard to find on the Internet etc. Before we left we were given feedback, its pretty useful actually, we were told how we’d performed in each task, what we need to improve on and how our personalities linked to the commando values. All in all it was a pretty tiring few days, but very rewarding and I've certainly taken a lot from it. It’s very eye opening regardless of if you pass or fail, you’ll learn a lot either way. Yes at times its not massively enjoyable, but its not meant to be and its only short term, if you wrap you may well regret it for far longer. If you prepare well physically and mentally and give 100% effort the whole time, you will pass. Focus on each task as it comes; don’t worry yourself over either how you have performed so far, or what you’ve still got left to do. Remember, it’s the POTENTIAL Officers Course, they want to see if you have what it takes, they are not expecting the finished product. If you have any questions etc. then please fire away, I’ll try and keep an eye on this thread, or if not drop me a message, good luck!