Hi guys! I saw my posting order the other day and…
Image: My NS Posting Order after BMT
I got into Officer Cadet School (OCS)! This is something I did not really expect to be posted to during National Service (NS).
Writing this now, I recently came out of BMTC as a Recruit, and just started my OCS training as an Officer Cadet.
Since I’m fresh to OCS, I may not be the most qualified person to talk about how to get into command school or OCS.
However, I believe that there are several key things that affect your chances of getting into command school and OCS, and I’ll share my experiences of how I got into command school.
So for anyone aiming to get into OCS or SCS, I hope to give you some insights so you can better prepare yourself and direct your energy or effort towards it.
I believe that by recognising and being aware of what exercises and activities are crucial, you’ll know where to put more effort and focus, greatly increasing your chances of getting into OCS or command school.
In this article/video, I’ll be sharing my personal experiences and tips for you to increase your chances of getting into Command School.
5 Key Things That’ll Increase Your Chances to Get Into Command School
How to get into Command School in NS?
The order of the list will be based on what I feel are the most important things.
1. Peer Appraisal
Everyone in your section will rank each other according to how resilient they are and how much of a leader they are during BMT. So, the top few in rankings will have a higher chance of going to command school.
How to score better for peer appraisal?
Honestly, it’s hard to fake the peer appraisal or try to game the system. Your true nature will show under pressure and you have 2-3 months of BMT filled with high-pressure situations!
Don’t think too much about it. Instead, just be yourself.
Don’t try to wayang (put on an act) in front of your sergeants, commanders, or section mates.
Oftentimes, these types of people won’t make it to command school.
Try to Work On Yourself
We all have flaws. Take this few months in BMT to really work on your weaknesses and improve your strengths. These can range from your character, mindset, to physique.
I enlisted into the SAF with a mindset of improvement. I wanted to take advantage of the time in BMT to improve and grow as a person.
Many people in BMT were much better at leading, much fitter, and more disciplined than me. But this isn’t a competition, this is my own race and no one else’s.
I told myself that I wanted to get gold for IPPT so I had Self-Regulated Training (SRT) almost every day. I wanted to become a better leader, so I learnt from others and be as helpful as I could.
Maybe my constant drive for improvement kind of spurred other people to be better too? I don’t know, but my goal was my own growth.
Be Genuinely Helpful
I respect my section mate who was always ready to offer a helping hand every time. During BMT, there are a lot of small things that need to be done but many won’t volunteer.
Many of my other section mates appreciate him for his helpful nature. He certainly earned people’s trust and respect.
You can be like him too! Volunteer for things and try to take on more responsibilities.
2. SIT TEST
Situational (SIT) test assesses your ability to:
- Manage – Time, Resources (people & weapons), and Stress
You’ll go through this somewhere in the middle or near the end of BMT. It’s part of your field camp.
So what happens during the SIT test? You and your buddy will be ICs for 10+ people from other sections. There is a time limit of 15 minutes for your mission.
You’ll be tasked to complete a mission in a particular station. The mission can range from saving an injured person to solving puzzles and obstacles.
Sometimes, while you are completing these missions, your instructor can up the challenge by introducing new enemies or injuries to your team.
The goal is to put you, as the leader, in more stressful situations and see how you cope with them.
How to Do Well For SIT Test
It doesn’t matter whether you fail or pass the mission. Most importantly, the assessors look at your ability to lift the morale of your team despite tough situations.
Be very clear on what you have to do to complete your mission. Do not take up too much time planning and delegating. You have to be quick on your feet!
Spend the bulk of your time executing the mission instead. This allows you to showcase your capabilities when executing, and you’ll have a higher chance of completing the mission.
Remember to keep track of how much time you have left and actively inform others. As you know, the SAF is all about meeting the time having a sense of urgency.
(And yes, there’ll be another important peer appraisal after your SIT Test and Field Camp!)
Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) consists of 3 timed exercises; Push-ups, sit-ups, and a 2.4 KM run.
My first IPPT score was 63 when I enlisted, which is the bare minimum for passing. My latest IPPT score is 85 which is the exact points for a gold.
For your BMT in Pulau Tekong, it is a must for you to use the Electronic IPPT Scoring System (ELISS) Machine. The machine counts the number of repetitions you did for your push-ups and sit-ups.
Unfortunately, some of the ELISS machines may give you “no counts” while others even count half-reps.
You’ll have around 3 IPPT tests during BMT, so get a feel of the machines and work on your posture.
For the push-up station, go down slowly for your first rep and once you hear the machine beep (which means it’s counted), do as many pushups as you can at that exact height. You have 60 seconds.
If you really want to improve your fitness, go for Self-Regulated Training (SRT), where you go for runs etc. outside of the SAF curriculum.
Consistency helps you get used to these exercises and you’ll be surprised by how much your stamina has been enhanced.
Visualise Your Goal
In your head, visualise the 2.4KM route you will be running (be specific at what point you will speed up and run faster). Visualise yourself using the ELISS machine and reaching your goal.
Focus on improving your score! My score improved significantly, achieving 64, 67, 79, and 82 respectively. The gradual increase in score shows effort and consistency which I believe are key metrics proving that you put in much effort.
4. Basic Trainfire Package (BTP)
I talked about BTP (aka Shooting) and the range you will be shooting at in my “Life as a recruit in BMT” article. To recap, you have to obtain a score of 26/32 in order to become a marksman in BMT.
What are some techniques that you can apply to increase your chances of being a marksman?
Again, visualise the actual day of the shoot; Imagine how the weapon would recoil and how you would position yourself back to the original position as quickly as possible. Be as specific as possible with all your senses and really “feel” like you are there!
Next, ensure your weapon is zeroed properly during the zeroing practice. (a commander will adjust your weapon to make it more accurate)
Prevent shooting problems (such as your bullet jamming) from happening. The most common mistake I observe is that people follow through when cocking their weapons. Preventing these shooting problems from happening builds confidence and does not make you panic.
You may want to use elbow guards during the day of your shoot as it helps mitigate pain when resting the weight of the gun on your elbows. SAF provides elbow and knee guards so you can use them.
In order to enhance stability, push your legs against the walls of the foxhole, and bring the weapon as close to you as possible when shooting. Use the sandbags as a support for your gun where appropriate.
Find the right breathing technique for yourself! For me, I like to breathe in, hold my breath, shoot, and then breathe out. Consider adopting the squatting method instead of the kneeling one when shooting.
Lastly, make sure the gun’s laser is working perfectly. This will be important for your night shoot. If the laser is blurry, let the commanders on-site know because it will greatly impact your night shoot.
5. Leave a Lasting Impression On Your Commanders
My friend told me that your behaviour and actions are the things that commanders (sergeants/officers) look out for.
Personally, I rarely interacted with my sergeant or sir, making me feel that I had no chance to get into OCS. But surprisingly, I did.
Remember, don’t wayang or try to suck up to them. Just be yourself, and display your qualities as frequently as possible to everyone around you.
By being yourself and upholding correct values, your section mates and platoon mates will gradually look up to you and that directly makes your commanders notice you.
Your commanders have the ability to nominate you for command school.
Conclusion – How to Get into Command School?
So there you have it, these 5 key things that I believe can drastically increase your chances of getting into SAF command school!
Don’t keep thinking if you are “command school or OCS material”. Just be yourself and take on responsibilities and I believe you can make it! Even if you can’t make it to command school, it doesn’t really matter. You can continue to work on yourself and grow as a person.
If you found this guide to be helpful, please subscribe to my YouTube Channel and let me know where you guys are posted to. 🙂
Interested to find out what life is like as a Recruit? Read/watch about it here!
If you have further insights on things that affect your chances of getting into command school, I’ll like to know too! I’ll update this post as I get more insights from you.
Till next time!