Getting ready to be a Royal Navy Officer

The joining process for officers is slightly different to the joining process for other ranks, however, both include a series of mental and physical assessments. Like any physical or mental test, being prepared will give you the best chance of success. To help you do this, you will be allocated a recruiter as soon as you apply, who will give you the option to attend a Potential Officer Visit on board a ship and tell you more about your role of interest. This section gives you more details about the Recruitment Test (RT), the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT), and the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB).


The NSRT enables us to test your general intellectual ability, regardless of your existing academic qualifications. This gives us more information, and is a fair way of assessing all candidates on a level playing field.

The test has four different sections, which you’ll need to complete within a strict time limit. They measure your:

  • General reasoning- testing your mental agility with logic based questions
  • Verbal ability - assessing your understanding of language and ability to communicate
  • Numeracy - testing your numerical reasoning and basic mathematical ability
  • Mechanical comprehension - Assessing your understanding of basic mechanical principles

If you don’t pass the NSRT first time around, don’t worry – you can take it again. Your Careers Adviser will tell you what the timescales are likely to be.

To help you prepare, try a practice Recruiting Test.


The one-and-a-half day AIB is your opportunity to show us that you’ve got what it takes to be a Royal Navy Officer – both mentally and physically.

There’s no ‘ideal’ or even ‘typical’ officer. We’re looking for people with a wide range of academics and practical talents and there’s room in the Royal Navy for both outgoing and more reserved personalities. The AIB’s competency based assessment process assesses whether you have the personal qualities to successfully become an officer.  Please see here for more information. You can expect the following:


You'll need to choose from one of six topics and write an essay, within 45 minutes using a computer. This will help us assess your written communication skills.

Practical Leadership Task

In the gym, you and your group will be set a series of tasks involving crossing a space using various planks, ropes, poles and spars. You may have to take an item with you and cross the gap more than once, and the task may be over a water-filled tank. Each candidate will lead one of the tasks.

Before the tests begin, you'll each be given a written brief for the task you're leading, including the objective of the task and a list of the equipment you'll be using. You'll have 15 minutes to study it on your own and develop your plan. The task is designed to test your:

  • Teamwork and leadership ability
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Resilience
  • Strength of character

After the gym tests comes a swimming assessment. You will need to jump off the 3-metre diving platform and complete two 100m lengths of breaststroke without any pauses, and pick up a rubber brick from the bottom of the deep end. If you struggle with any part of the assessment, you will be considered a weak swimmer and be advised on how to improve ahead of Basic Training.

Finally you will have an interview with your course Corporal, where you will need to show a broad understanding of the Corps. To do well, study the information your careers adviser gives you, take a look at the website and do your own research.

Planning Exercise

You’ll have 15 minutes to study a written brief, which details a fictional scenario. After entering the Boardroom we’ll introduce some problems to the scenario setting, and you’ll have a further 15 minutes to discuss possible solutions with your group, and agree on a plan.

You will then present this to the Board, as a group. We will question each member of your group to examine everyone’s grasp of the situation, before you individually present your own final solution to the problem.

Fitness Assessment

Your fitness test consists of an outdoor, timed 2.4km run. As well as counting towards your overall grade, this is a pass or fail assessment. If you don’t reach the required standard for your age and gender, you will not be considered for selection, no matter how well you did in the rest of your time at the AIB.


This will last 30-40 minutes, giving us the chance to explore your motivation for joining the Royal Navy. You should be able to give us examples of things you’ve done in support of your answers, so it’s worth preparing yourself by picking out relevant activities and events from your life.

You may also be asked about how your chosen career will contribute to both the Naval Service and to wider Defence Policy.

You will then complete computer-based psychometric tests on the second day and these will be conducted around your interview. These tests include the following:

  • A verbal test designed to demonstrate your general reasoning and ability with words
  • A non-verbal reasoning test, again measuring your reasoning power, but this time without the emphasis on verbal skills
  • A numerical test covering numerical fluency, reasoning and statistics

What to expect at the AIB