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What if I fail AOSB

Ensure you get detailed feedback

Shortly after your attempt at AOSB, feedback on your performance will be sent to your ACA or the Regiment or Corps from whom you have accepted an offer of Sponsorship. In either case you will not usually have the opportunity to see the report yourself (unless you make an official request under the Freedom of Information Act), however, you will receive a letter of debrief which should provide you with a detailed explanation of the reason why you have not been successful. Do not be afraid to request another interview with your ACA, or contact your Sponsoring Regiment/Corps if you are under any doubt as to the reason why you were unsuccessful. Make sure you get constructive feedback to enable you to take specific remedial action before your next attempt at AOSB.

Addressing the Issues

Once you are clear on the areas in which you need to improve you will be able to take action to prepare you for you next attempt. Depending on the issues raised by the board you may be surprised by how easy it can be to take simple steps to get yourself back on track. For example, if you were let down by your personal fitness you can begin to take action immediately. You can find guidance on how to improve your fitness and physically prepare yourself for Officer selection here.

If doubts have been raised about your leadership skills then you will need explore methods of building your confidence and command presence. You will find several ideas and suggestions of how you can achieve this, no matter what situation you currently find yourself in by reading my guide to the practical methods of developing leadership.

Alternative Options

There is no official limit to the number of times you can attempt AOSB, however, should you have failed after a second attempt you must be realistic about your options. The fact is that not everyone is cut out to be an Army Officer. Those who have assessed you will not have taken the decision to turn you away without serious consideration and as harsh as it may sound, you will need to respect their judgement.  

Joining as a Soldier

You may also consider joining the Army as a Soldier and work towards gaining a recommendation for Officer Conversion in a couple of years. An increasing number of soldiers are being selected for Officer training, however, if your ultimate ambition is to become an Officer this option can be a huge gamble. You will need to significantly stand out from your peers as a truly exceptional Soldier to gain recognition as a Potential Officer - with stiff competition this can be extremely difficult.

You may find a career as a Solder in one of the Technical Corps can be just as rewarding as going down the Commissioned route. There are hundreds of soldiers in the Royal Engineers, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Signals who have gained degrees and earned accelerated promotion . Whether you have a degree or not, all of these Corps offer accelerated promotion schemes for those Soldiers who demonstrate technical competence together with leadership potential. If you want to get your hands dirty, and combine your practical technical skills at the same time as developing your leadership, this may be the option for you. I personally know several individuals who, having failed to make it through AOSB, have gone on to join the Army as Soldiers and enjoy huge success; some arriving at Sandhurst a couple of years down the line and others bounding up the ladder as Non-Commissioned Officers. Some of the Technical Corps will even provide the option of going to University while continuing to be paid, accommodated by the Army throughout your course - a great way of getting round the issue of increasing student fees.

Late Entry Officers

Having received several enquiries as to whether it is possible to become a Late Entry (LE) Officer, it may be useful that you understand exactly what an LE officer is. LE Officers will have worked their way up through the ranks as a Non-Commissioned Officer. Having proven themselves to be particularly outstanding Solders they are specially selected to for Commission and are promoted straight to Captain after a short period at RMAS.

If your ambition is to become an Army Officer this is not a route that I would recommend considering. The process of working your way up the ranks from Private to WO1 can take over 20 years and even then, competition is fierce.