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Over the last 7 years I have helped hundreds of people to successfully pass the selection process for the Army, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, both as regular service entrants and as Officers. In the following article I will explain the reasons for my success and the approach that I take when teaching people how to join the Army.

How To Join The Army

If you want to Join the Army then your preparation should predominantly focus on the assessable criteria that the recruitment staff will use during the initial stage of selection. The reasons for this are simple – the Armed Forces recruitment team want to be certain that you have the potential to pass the initial Army recruit training course at the first attempt. They will be spending literally thousands of £’s on your development, and they want to know that this money will be an investment worth spending.

In order to assess you the Army will use a number of different methods including an Armed Forces Careers Officer Interview, the Army BARB test and the Army Development and Selection Centre assessment.

In order to help you successfully pass the Army selection process, let’s take a quick look at the assessable qualities for joining the Army:

The marking sheet that is used to assess people like you who want to join the Armed Focres consists of a number of key elements. These include:

– Your personal appearance;

– How sociable your are as a person (can you interact with others);

– Your levels of stability and maturity;

– How keen you are to succeed in your Army career;

– Whether you are physically fit, robust and active;

– Are you capable of being self-reliant;

– Your experiences of a disciplined environment;

– How you react to routine and regimentation;

– Your experiences and knowledge of Army life;

– How motivated you are to join the Army.

This list is not exhaustive and there will be other areas that the Army will be assessing you on during the Army interview questions and the Army BARB test. However, having an understanding of the qualities you need to demonstrate throughout selection will improve your chances of success dramatically.

In order to provide you with a greater understanding of what is required I will now go into more detail about a number of specific assessable areas. This will give you a greater understanding of how you will be assessed.

Your personal appearance

The Army are looking for you to be smartly dressed when you attend the AFCO, the ADSC and during your interview. They also want to see that you have made an effort to present yourself positively. When you attend the careers office, whether it is for an interview or a careers presentation, always make sure you wear a formal outfit such as a suit or shirt and tie. Whilst this is not essential it will allow you to score higher in the area of ‘personal turnout’.

Many people will stroll into the careers office wearing jeans and trainers. Make an effort to stand out for the right reasons and this certainly will work in your favour. Those people who turn up to the Armed Forces Careers Office dressed untidy and unwashed will score poorly.

Tips for scoring high in personal appearance

– Make sure your shoes are clean and polished;

– Shirt, trousers and tie for males and a smart formal outfit for females;

– Ensure your clothes are ironed and not creased;

– Work on your personal hygiene and overall appearance. Make sure your nails are clean!

– Stand tall and be confident;

– Don’t slouch in the interview chair.


This section assesses your ability to mix well with people. The Army want to know that you are socially confident and outgoing. It is also important that you have a good sense of humour. They want to know that you can fit in well with the Army way of life and that you have no problems with communal living.

When you join the Army you will be required to live in accommodation that comprises of many people. As you progress up through the ranks the amount of people that you’ll be required to live with will decrease, until you eventually get a room on your own! Some people find it very difficult to socialise with others and these are not the type of people the Army want to recruit. They need people who will fit into the team spirit and whom have no problem with communicating with others. Those applicants who come across as quiet or shy will not score well in the area of sociability. At no point during selection should you be brash, abrasive or not a team player.

Tips for scoring high in sociability

– During the interviews provide examples of where you have mixed well with others. This may be through youth organisations such as the Scouts etc;

– If you have played team sports then this will be an advantage;

– Tell the interviewer that you will have no problem with communal living. Communal living is living with other people. You may be in a room of up to thirty other people whilst in your training, so they want to know that you are comfortable with this;

– Smile and laugh where appropriate – a sense of humour is a must but never be over bearing or over confident. Never ‘back chat’ or be disrespectful to the recruiting officers and staff.

Emotional maturity and stability

The Army want to see that you are mature for your age and that you are even tempered and well balanced. They don’t want people who are aggressive or who come across with a bad attitude. They want to see that you have coped well with the ups and downs of life so far and you may find that they ask you questions on any difficult areas of life that you have had to deal with. They want to know that you will adapt well to the change in lifestyle when you join the Army and that you can cope in highly stressful situations. The Army will also be looking for you to be mature for your age and that there are no signs of depression or anxiety. They will also be assessing your ability to cope well with unfamiliar surroundings and that you will not become homesick during training.

Tips for scoring high in emotional maturity and stability

– During the interviews and during discussions with the Armed Forces Careers  Officer advisor try to provide examples of where you have dealt well with difficult situations in your life in a positive and mature manner;

– Try to be upbeat and positive about the future;

– Don’t be overconfident or macho.

By following the above tips and advice you will be greatly increasing your chances of passing the Army selection process.

To get more information on how to join the army, including sample BARB test questions and Army interview questions, please click HERE.


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