Potential RM Officers. Latest AIB briefing notes/guide.

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Jul 10, 2007
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Aim of AIB. The aim of the AIB is to assess the suitability of applicants to be trained as Officers, and to make recommendations accordingly for the granting of Scholarships, Reserved Places, Cadetships, Bursaries and Commissions.

Composition and Duration.

Candidates for all Officer specialisations attend the AIB in HMS SULTAN. Each Board is under the presidency of a Commander RN or a Lieutenant Colonel RM, assisted by a Lieutenant Commander RN and a Lieutenant RN The Board takes account of the results of psychometric and written tests, performance in practical exercises and at interview. Candidates attend the Board for 2 nights and 2 days. RM candidates will have completed a pre POC Medical Examination.

Final Board Mark (FBM).

The Board’s final assessment of candidates is expressed in terms of a Final Board Mark, which indicates whether the applicant has demonstrated a satisfactory level of evidence to undergo initial training.

Candidates will be told either that they have demonstrated potential or that they have not demonstrated potential at this time.


The decision to attend AIB should be a mutual one between the candidate and the ACLO, ie made when the candidate is: ready to commit to a career in the Naval Service; is confident of passing the Board; and when the ACLO is assured that this commitment is genuine and that the candidate is indeed prepared.

Application Forms.

The forms required to apply for a Commission in the Naval Service are:
a. AFCO Form 4 - Application Form for Service in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. b. AFCO Form 104.
c. MOD Form 1109 - Security Questionnaire.
d. MOD Form 493 - Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. 1974
e. The Royal Naval Medical & Health Questionnaire and Consent to Release Personal Medical Information These forms are collectively known as the Application Forms (AFs).

Issuing of Application Forms. When ready to attend AIB, the enquirer will be issued the Application Forms.

On issuing the Application Forms, the candidate must aware of the commitment he is about to make and that he fully understands the Terms and Conditions of Service under which he will be joining.

The candidate is to complete all these forms and return them by post to the Officer Careers Liaison Centre (OCLC) for processing. The hardcopy Application Forms are sent along with verified photocopies of the candidate’s original birth and educational certificates. passport and the completed Basic Check.

Candidates will not be awarded a Board Date until the medical questionnaire has been screened. Completed questionnaires which raise medical issues are to be returned for screening before a Board Date is awarded.


An acknowledgement letter will be forwarded to the candidate.

Educational Qualifications.

If eligibility is in doubt the file will be referred to OES who will seek advice from Col RM as necessary. Candidates who do not meet the eligibility criteria will be forwarded a written explanation.

Notice for AIB

The candidate will usually be given a minimum of 6 weeks notice but this may not always be possible, particularly for late applicants. Candidates will be forwarded an invitation letter. This includes an annex which the candidate is to return to the Officer Entry Section (OES) to confirm attendance. Air travel is arranged by the OES for candidates travelling from the Channel Islands and Scotland if appropriate. In the case of RM candidates the OES will also issue POC Joining Instructions. OES will issue full joining instructions and notes on the aptitude testing to candidates who are able to attend the tests

Potential Officers’ Course.

Successful candidates will be allocated to the next available AIB in the usual way. Candidates will normally be given 6 weeks notice but this may not always be possible and they should be prepared to attend at short notice if required. This is particularly relevant in the 2 months prior to allocation Unsuccessful candidates should wait for 12 months before returning to the POC unless a 3 or 6 or 9 month comeback recommendation is given by the POC. OES will allocate a new date to candidates with a 3 or 6 month comeback recommendation. All other unsuccessful candidates will be advised by letter to contact their Liaison Officer unless the candidate will be overage for the next entry or the POC report specifically recommends that he is not to be encouraged.

Requests to return to the POC once the 9 or 12 month return period has expired should be forwarded to the AIB in writing.

Notification of an AIB Date.

Once OES have assigned the candidate to a Board, The candidate will be contacted to ensure that he is aware of the Board date and to arrange an AIB brief, preferably around four weeks beforehand. If the candidate is unable to attend AIB on the given dates, or decides to withdraw the application, he is to inform OES personally in writing

Booking an AIB Brief.

The AIB Brief will be scheduled and a letter sent,the candidate can then be assigned to the interview

The AIB Brief.

Candidates must be fully aware of the requirements of the selection process. It is important that candidates are aware of the intensive nature of the AIB, ACLOs are not, however, allowed to "coach" candidates for the AIB

Basic qualities, or the potential to develop them, which the Board are looking for can be grouped as follows:

Effective Intelligence. Leadership. Powers of Communication. Courage and Values. Motivation.

POST AIB- Notification of AIB Results.

The candidate will be informed of the result of their AIB in a verbal de-brief by the Board President before leaving HMS SULTAN. A letter confirming this result will then sent to the candidate. The ACLO will also be informed of the result.

The candidate is reminded that a pass at AIB does not guarantee selection and therefore entry into Officer training.

The candidate will normally be informed by the AIB at least 6 months before being appointed to CTCRM unless they are a late applicant.

Reimbursement of Earnings. Candidates in employment will not be reimbursed for loss of earnings. This also applies in respect of candidates attending the RM Potential Officers Course. 26


Jul 10, 2007
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Aim of the AIB

The aim of AIB is to assess you in five main areas:

Effective intellect (including Problem Solving).
Leadership potential.
Powers of Communication.
Courage and Values.


You should be doing a significant amount of work and research on Service Knowledge (SK) from books, handouts and the website. You should have also thought through your reasons for wanting to become a Royal Marines Officer.

Much of what the AIB wish to see will have been developed in you during the course of your life - skills such as communication ability, decision making, authority and effective intellect. These are skills learned in the classroom, in the family environment, on the sports or activities pitch and amongst friends.

By understanding the AIB process and feeling well prepared for it, you will find yourself ready and confident on the day. The aim is to ensure that you have all the information available, in order that you perform to the best of your ability at that time on the day. If the AIB deems you unsuitable for Royal Naval Officer entry, then at least you know you gave your all and that they made the best decision. If it means they believe you would be suitable for training, you have a vote of confidence that you will not find the going so tough that your career in the Royal Navy is a struggle, owing to being at your limit and occasionally out of your depth.

Preparation Procedure

Step One. Read and re read this document.

Step Two. Watch the AIB DVD.

This is available from your local Armed Forces Careers Office. Call in whenever you wish to watch it.

Step Three. Develop your Service knowledge, using the following:
i. Navy News (www.navynews.co.uk).
ii. Royal Navy and Royal Marines (www.royalnavy.mod.uk).
iii. Janes Defence Group (www.janes.com) - VERY GOOD for technical detail. *text deleted*. www.naval-technology.com.
v. Find out the political background to current RN operations - know why we are there and what we are doing?
vi. Go on line for Psychometric Tests (any Search Engine will give you plenty of websites).

Step Four. Think through your motivation for wanting to be a Royal Marines Officer and prepare a realistic answer to "Why do you want to join the Navy/Marines?".

Step Five. Phone or Email your ACLO with any questions you have.

Step Six. Speak to the ACLO before going to AIB.


You will receive a letter from the AIB informing you of your date for interview. You need to confirm that you are able to attend. The OCLC receives a copy and will call you in for a presentation (but let your ACLO know when you hear from AIB so we don’t miss you).

Day Zero: Travel down in good time - this will allow you to settle in, meet the other candidates, complete the questionnaire, relax and prepare mentally. Take some sports kit for a run in case you feel nervous and wish to burn off some energy.

Day One: Examination Day - Psychometric (written) Tests, Practice of Command Tasks in the Gym, Practice of Discussion Exercise.

Day Two: Leadership Day - Command Tasks in the Gym, Discussion Exercise, Main Board Interview, Final Debrief. If successful medicals are conducted for all non Aircrew, except RM POCs, who have already done a FEMO medical, and therefore do not require to do a post AIB medical. You should finish and be free to depart at around 1400.


Dress to impress. You should have an interview suit for during the day and then smart wear (for example, jacket and tie) for the evenings. Make sure you are clean and well presented. Choose sensible clothes - be conservative. If you only have a suit, then wear that for your evening meal, but you should take sufficient shirts to be able to change your shirt a couple of times each day. If you are unsure then call your ACLO for advice.

Remember that you will be perspiring through the effort, stress and pressure. You will be observed, even in your relaxation time and you will be staying in a Royal Navy establishment, so inappropriate behaviour will be noticed. You may find time to go out for a run, and there is a pub just down the road, and you do have opportunities for privacy, if you desire.


Take time to fill it out, as this is your chance to provide up to date and extra information about yourself. It may be that you have achieved more or received exam results since filling out your application and you should rightly wish to bring those things to the attention of the AIB. They will look through this information and use it as a basis for your interview. Be honest - usual interview skills apply - do not exaggerate claims. The Board has seen lots of candidates and they go into depth with everything.

The other Candidates at AIB:

Firstly, they are not your enemies. Of course, in the bigger scheme of things, you are competing against them, despite what everyone seems to be telling you, but you can all pass if you work together and you can all fail if you don’t. Ensure you introduce yourself to the other team members beforehand and find out their skills, talents and any specialist expertise they may be able to offer. You share a common bond - you want to become a Naval Officer, so make sure you work with them to build a good team in the short time available. Working well together will enhance your overall performance and the Board may decide that all of you may pass - this really does happen.

Administrative staff:

Obviously you should be courteous at all times. Since the staff there has served for a long time, use the opportunity to speak with them about it. They will be more than happy to speak to you. Be aware and remain polite and courteous at all times. Psychometric tests. 5. The tests: Verbal Reasoning; Non-Verbal Reasoning (shapes/sequences); Numerical Fluency; Clerical Speed & Accuracy; Spatial Awareness; Written Communication Skills (one Essay and one Summary). It is not good enough to consider past academic performance, although this may provide an indication. With the advent of more coursework and modules, exams results are more likely to show whether you can work well over time. What is required here is to work quickly and accurately under time pressure.


Timings are strictly adhered to. You have to work very quickly if you are going to finish the tests. They are very tiring as a result. If you do not finish, do not worry, since no single test will cause failure. Some are multiple choice.

You are given several essay titles to choose from - these may be current affairs based on an event (e.g. Peace Support Operations in Kosovo) or an issue (e.g. GM foods; abortion; Europe). The Summary is a text that you have to summarise down to a given number of words.

Command Tasks

The Test:

You are given a task (i.e. take your team and an oil drum from A to B) and a number of constraints. You have 15 minutes to consider your solution. You then enter the gym and each of you has 8 minutes to complete your task. Once all have led a task, there is a leaderless task.


You will have had the opportunity the day before to familiarise yourself with the equipment and certain procedures (e.g. for having a bowline tied by the staff). The Selection Board is present to monitor your performance. This is the first time you see them. Project your voice at all times. Remember that in order to assess you, the Board must be able to hear what you are saying.

The aim is to see what your command skills are like.

Can you make decisions? Can you think on your feet when things go wrong? Do your team listen to you? What do you do to control them if they are too far ahead? Are you confident? What support do you give the other team members? Do you have a sense of humour? These are all considerations. If things go horribly wrong and your plan fails, fear not - the Board will be looking at how you deal with the situation. Can you remain calm and regain control? Are you flexible and able to adjust your plan to make it work? Can you motivate your team to meet the deadline? Of course it is good to finish, but the Board are more interested in how you operate as a leader, to assess your potential. Be enthusiastic at all times - so much so that you would be rather embarrassed if you saw yourself again on video.

Discussion Exercise

The Test:

15 minutes individual preparation & note-taking. Into the Boardroom. Given additional problem and 15 mins to discuss it and come up with a team solution. 5 mins to present it (1 person chosen or volunteers). Approx 4-5 mins of questions for each candidate by the PSO. All exit & return individually to give 2 min summary of plan. You are being assessed on your problem-solving ability, communication skills, character, powers of judgement, memory and confidence, to name a few areas.


Confidence is important, but do not be too pushy and annoy the other candidates. At the same time, you can only be marked on what you say. If you have an idea, then present it, or someone else may think of it a minute later and gain credit. Use your preparation time wisely - you are expected to be able to remember a lot of information. Although you may take notes, you will not have time in the Q&A session to refer to them. Speed / Times / Distance practice is especially useful for this test. Practice them for half an hour using a pen and piece of paper, rearranging the formula and doing some problems yourself.

You do not have to agree with everything the PSO says. He/She is testing your plan and so may mislead you if you blindly follow her prompts. Or they may be helping you. That is for you to figure out. If you are adamant about the advantages of your plan, then by all means stick to it if you can justify it. Do take on any good ideas they give you and incorporate them into your plan, if you see fit. Be prepared to present your plan in 2 minutes exactly - do not go into too much detail - you will be stopped at 2 minutes. Speak clearly - the Board have to hear you to judge what you are saying.

Main Board Interview

You have 8 minutes of questioning with each member of the Board. Firstly the PSO will ask you questions about your risk taking and your views on courage. Then you will be asked about Service knowledge, sporting activities and group activities by a senior officer (probably a member of your branch of choice). Finally, the Board President will ask about leadership and your experiences of it filling in any gaps that remain in their knowledge about you. They also want to know you better and the interview is conducted in a very friendly, relaxed manner.

They have already seen you perform and have a good indication of what kind of person you are, so that should allow you to relax more. This is the time to sell yourself, as you would in any interview. You could practice your interview skills in preparation for this. Remember the timings - speak too much and you may be marked down for not being concise and for waffling and they will not be able to ask you the rest of their questions, for which you may have produced excellent answers for. Be honest and be yourself.


You will be put out of your misery and told the good or bad news. Then try to listen to what the President has to say. Most people hear a bit of it, but miss a lot. That is why we are sent a report and I, as your Liaison Officer, will be able to go through it with you in more depth later, when you are more ready to take note.

The likely outcomes are as follows:

a. Pass. Well done. Only the final selection meeting to achieve.

b. Narrow fail. If it is your second time, then it may be a good idea for you to look at another career or to try for Rating Entry. Otherwise if the Board feels that you might improve on a second attempt, you might consider having another go when you are older or better prepared. Those going for sponsorship are often advised to come back after University and apply for DGE.

c. Fail with weak score. Considering the number of higher quality candidates that are trying for Officer Entry, you should really not be thinking about applying again, unless considerable improvement has taken place. This might mean waiting a long time (not just 12 months). You may need to consider ther Rank Entry.

ALWAYS keep both the OCLC and AIB informed of any changes in your circumstances

Be yourself

Be Positive


Jul 10, 2007
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The AIB will conduct the Psychometric and Service Knowledge testing for candidates using a computerised system, with a breakdown as follows:


Naval Service knowledge questions (80) and Defence Knowledge questions (20). Candidates will find that all the information required is freely available in the RN recruiting literature or the t'internet. Thorough study of the Official RN web-site and a good understanding of the down-loadable literature or hard copy literature available from your AFCO will provide most of the background information.

You will be given 25 minutes to complete the test which is in multiple choice format, your answers are marked as you progress. There will only be one correct answer for each question.


The psychometric testing for candidates will consist of the following elements :

o Verbal
o Numerical
o Abstract

Verbal Reasoning is a 15 minute test consisting of 40 questions

Numerical Reasoning is a 30 minute test consisting of 36 questions

Abstract Reasoning is a 12 minute test with 70 questions. Abstract Reasoning test provide a measure of reasoning which is only minimally influenced by verbal aptitude and formal educational background.

Scores from these three tests are combined into a Composite Test Score out of 15.

The practice test booklets will be given to you after passing your Sift interview, prior to POC. As the booklets are Copyright, they cannot be reproduced here until this site becomes part of the official RM website.


Jul 10, 2007
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For further AIB research:

The MoD Defence Factsheet gives an accurate appraisal of recent historical data with regard ongoing operations.

There is also some good briefings regarding operations in Afghanistan: such as Why we are in Afghanistan & The role of UK and Coalition forces in Afghanistan.


Jul 10, 2007
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AIB Research & References

On the Royal Navy website, there is a Reference Library of Official Naval publications available online.

Of particular interest to potential Officers, is the Broadsheet, comprehensiveRN Basic Facts, an individual breakdown of capabilities including amphibious, joint ops, maritime air power, submarines & ships, together with all elements of RN & RM Training.

Essential reading for Officers, so get stuck-in.
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