RAF Officer

How To Become an RAF Officer - Insider tips for passing the RAF Officer OASC

This webpage will provide you with a series of powerful strategies for passing the RAF Officer Selection process and in particular the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre OASC.

You are advised to read the following information and your chances of passing the RAF Officer selection process will increase greatly.

Once you have read the information below, please visit my new website where you can obtain a copy of my insider's guide to becoming an RAF Officer.



The majority of people who will read this guide will have a thorough understanding of what the RAF Officer Selection process consists of. Before I get into each element of selection however, and more importantly how to pass them, it is important for me to briefly explain the different elements.

To begin with, applicants will need to contact their local Armed Forces Careers Office and explain that they wish to apply to become an Officer with the Royal Air Force. The most effective way to do this is to go along to your nearest centre for a brief chat. You will be supplied with an information pack and details on how to apply, providing you meet the minimum eligibility requirements. Alternatively, you can call the careers information line on 0845 605 5555. They will ask for you for your postcode and then they’ll do the rest. You can call from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, or 10am to 4pm on Sunday.


How To Pass The RAF Officer OASC Workbook

The RAF Officer filter interview

You will eventually be invited to attend what is called a ‘filter’ interview. This interview is designed to assess whether you or not you have the right qualities to become an RAF Officer. If you successfully pass the filter interview, which is usually held at the Armed Forces Careers Office, you will be recommended to attend the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC).

The filter interview is, in my opinion, relatively easy to pass. However, you will still need to put in plenty of preparation and I have provided you with a host of sample questions and responses during a later section of this guide.

The Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre

Those applicants who successfully pass the filter interview and preliminary checks will spend up to four days at the Officers and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC) which takes place at the RAF College Cranwell in Lincolnshire. The Royal Air Force has been assessing candidates for Officer Selection at Cranwell for many years now. In total there are approximately 95 ‘boards’ every year. 2400 candidates will go through selection, with approximately 500 places being offered. That effectively means that only 1 out of 5 people who attend the OASC are successful.

The important thing to remember is that you are going to be one of the successful five, as opposed to one of the unsuccessful four. How do you achieve this? Simple, you understand the selection process and the scoring criteria, and then you go all out to prepare fully for every different element of the OASC.

Whilst at the OASC you will undergo a series of tests and assessments as follows:


The first part of OASC is a series of aptitude tests. The career you’re interested in will determine what tests you need to pass before you can join. For example, in order to become a pilot you will be required to undergo a series of extended tests.

The aptitude tests are designed to assess your ability to carry out certain tasks, such as:

- how well you respond physically to visual information;
- your ability to interpret information in two dimensions and devise a three-dimensional solution;
- your ability to complete several tasks simultaneously;  
- deductive reasoning;  
- spatial reasoning;  
- work rate and concentration;  
- verbal and numerical reasoning.

In addition to aptitude testing, you will also be required to undergo a medical examination, pass a fitness test and an interview. Only candidates who successfully complete all elements of Part 1 can progress to the second part of the selection process.


Part 2 comprises five situational exercises; three classroom based (the Discussion exercise, the Group Planning exercise and the Individual Problem exercise) and two physical hangar based exercises (the Leaderless exercise and the Command Situation exercise). All of the exercises, with the exception of the Individual Problem, require candidates to work in syndicates of five or six.

The Discussion exercise entails a group discussion about different topics which are normally provided by the Board. The Group Planning exercise and the Individual Problem exercise involve a theoretical problem featuring time and distance calculations. As the names suggest the syndicate must work as a team in the Group Planning exercise while in the Individual Problem exercise each candidate works and is tested alone.

Both the Leaderless exercise and the Command Situation exercise involve the solution of a ‘practical’ problem over an ‘obstacle course’. In the Leaderless exercise there is no ‘appointed’ leader whereas in the Command Situation exercise each candidate takes a turn as leader and must direct the rest of the syndicate.

The assessments during the selection centre are carried out by ‘Selection Boards’. Each Board consists of a Board Chairman and a Board Member, and is presided over by a more experienced Board President. The President oversees no more than two Boards simultaneously and his final decision takes precedence over that of the Board.

In general, the aptitude testing and elements of the medical examination assess particular requirements for specific branch specialisations, such as pilot and navigator, whereas the Part 1 interview and the Part 2 exercises assess candidates’ personal qualities (PQs), i.e. their potential for Initial Officer Training (IOT) or the NCA Initial Training Course. The IOT and the NCA Initial Training courses are the first stages in an officer’s career in the RAF and include fitness development, military training and academic study as well as practical outdoor leadership challenge

The competencies required to demonstrate leadership potential as an RAF Officer are interpersonal, problem solving and character competencies and these will be explained in the next two sections of this guide.

You are a Leader and a Manager

RAF Officers are both leaders and managers. Therefore, it is important that you understand the difference between each of them and how they are interlinked.

In order to become a competent RAF Officer you will need to be effective at both. Here’s a brief explanation of how they differ:

Leader – A leader is someone who effectively takes a team of people from point A to point B. These two ‘points’ don’t have to be in terms of distance, but instead they could be a mission or a company or organisational goal. For example, it might be a football manager attempting to lead his or her team to promotion to a higher league. A leader should be a visionary. They should ‘see’ where they want their team to be and take steps to get them there.

Manager – A manager is someone who arranges and uses resources in order to achieve a companies or organisations goal. Examples of resources are:

  • People
  • Utilities such as water, gas and electricity
  • Vehicles and equipment
  • Paper and pencils
  • Fuel
  • Time

An effective manager will use his or her resources effectively. They will not waste resources and they will use them appropriately. A manager’s greatest asset is his/her people whom which they command. When you join the RAF as an Officer you will undoubtedly be responsible at some point in your career for a group or team of people. How you manage them is very important.


How To Pass The RAF Officer OASC Workbook

How do they work together?

During my time in the Fire Service I served as an Officer for many years. Without wishing to blow my own trumpet, I was a highly effective manager and leader. Managerial and leadership skills are interlinked and you will draw on each of these assets at different times during your career as an RAF Officer. For example, whilst attending severe fires and road traffic collisions in the Fire Service, I was required to use both leadership and managerial skills at the same time in order to achieve the required task. I would always have a plan that was discussed with my Junior Officers. I would assign people and equipment (resources) to carry out certain tasks at the incident. I would order equipment, fuel and refreshments (resources) well in advance of them running out. I would arrange many hours in advance for relief crews to attend the incident in order to replace my tiring firefighters. I would support my team and I would communicate effectively with them during every stage of the incident. At the end of the incident I would always hold an incident debrief. This would allow me to thank everyone for their efforts and allow us to identify any areas of improvement for future incidents.

All of these actions were using my ‘managerial’ skills. In terms of leadership skills, I would brief my team well in order to explain the plan and what it was that needed to be done. I would provide words of support and encouragement throughout the operation and I would listen carefully to my junior officer’s advice and suggestions during every stage of the incident.

Being an officer in the Royal Air Force is about drawing on different skills and assets in order to achieve a task or goal. That goal may take many years to achieve and may not necessarily be a short term objective. Always remember that in order to become a competent RAF Officer, you will need to be an effective leader and manager.


Before I go onto explain the scoring criteria, let us first of all take a look at the competencies required to successfully pass Initial Officer Training (IOT).

Competencies Required for Success during Initial Officer Training

Interpersonal Competencies


Communicates accurately and effectively, orally and in writing.


Works willingly with others to achieve common goals.


Persuades others to follow a certain course of action.

Problem Solving Competencies


Comprehends, identifies, extracts and assimilates information from a range of sources, quickly and accurately.


Thinks logically, practically and coherently to produce a successful or reasonable solution, quickly and accurately.


Determines priorities and allocates resources effectively and efficiently to a task(s).


Holds and processes multiple inputs whilst maintaining task performance.

Character Competencies


Makes sound appropriate decisions within time-scale demanded by the situation.


Demonstrates a high level of commitment and interest to tasks.


Monitors and objectively analyses own performance


Behaviour is guided by principles, morals and ethics appropriate to service life. Adheres to rules and regulations specific to RAF.

Now that we understand the competencies that are required to pass Initial Officer Training, we can explore the assessable qualities required in order to successfully pass Part 2 of the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre (OASC).

The competencies assessed during OASC Stage 2



Oral Communication

Delivery; effectiveness/understanding; listening.


Working with others; treatment of others; effort.


Impact on others; directing; persuasiveness.

Problem Solving

Judgment/reasoning; flexibility; comprehension; capacity; decisiveness.

Confidence and

Self assurance; composure; perseverance; assertion.

The RAF use what is known as a ‘Behavioural Anchored Rating Scale’ (BARS), which allows the assessors to rate a candidate’s performance on a scale linked to clearly defined observable behaviours.

An example of a BAR is as follows:


Standard - Grade 4 (Good)

Forceful projection, clear delivery.

Effectiveness / Understanding
Concise, succinct, articulate, lucid, easily understood, uses language/style appropriate to audience.


Listening to others’ views attentively, asks patient questions to clarify.

Standard - GRADE 3 (Acceptable)


Expresses self clearly, good pace, good projection.

Effectiveness / Understanding

Coherent, understandable, covers all points, comprehensive brief, speaks fluently.

Listening to others’ suggestions.


How To Pass The RAF Officer OASC Workbook

Standard - GRADE 2 (Requires development)


Makes himself/herself heard, projection varies, projection ok but drops, slight tendency to mumble, is quiet under pressure.

Effectiveness / Understanding

Covers most points, team didn’t always understand, not concise lengthy briefs, inappropriate language – sense of occasion, rapid delivery, slight ponderous speech, disjointed brief, sometimes had to repeat brief.


Listens to major contributors in the group only.

Standard - GRADE 1 (Weak)


Mumbles, mutters, monotonous, voice does not carry, whispers, barely audible, tends to slur words.

Effectiveness / Understanding

Monosyllabic, wooden, rambles, meaningless chatter, verbose, garrulous, struggles forming sentences, couldn’t understand what his/her point was.


Doesn’t listen to others’ views, talks over other and interrupts.

It is clear from the above BAR that you need to be aiming for 3’s and 4’s and should structure your communication around these areas. Look at Grade’s 1 and
2 and avoid these actions!

When the core competencies are assessed

The following information provides you with clear information as to when each area is assessed.

Confidence and Resilience – Assessed during every stage.

Oral Communication – Assessed during every stage.

Influence – Assessed during every stage with the exception of the Individual
Problem Solving exercise.

Problem Solving – Assessed during every stage with the exception of the discussion exercise.

Teamwork – Assessed during every stage with the exception of the discussion and the individual problem solving exercise.

You can begin to understand now why it is not important to find out what tasks you are going to undertake during the OASC. What is important is how you perform and behave in accordance with the Personal Qualities and the Core Competencies being assessed. As you can see from the following table your scores from the Part 1 OASC interview will form part of the Overall Total Score. It is essential that during the Part 1 OASC interview you manage to meet the Personal Qualities that are being assessed.

I have created an award winning book that will explain how to pass the RAF Officer OASC =>

RAF Officer OASC Workbook


Good luck!

Richard McMunn

Best selling author and RAF Officer OASC expert


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