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How to join
CAREERS ENQUIRIES 08456 07 55 55

How to Join

Life in the Royal Marines offers challenges and opportunities you will not find anywhere else, but it is not for everyone. That is why we have a thorough selection process that lets us get to know you better, and lets you see more of what your life will be like.

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  • Commando

    • Step 1 Contact our Careers Advisors
    • Step 2 Armed Forces Careers Office visit
    • Step 3 Aptitude test
    • Step 4 Interview and medical check
    • Step 5 Pre-joining fitness test
    • Step 6 Potential Royal Marines Course

    Contact our Careers Advisors

    To begin the application process you should contact our Careers Advisors. You can either call them on 08456 07 55 55, or enter your details in our online form and they will call you back. Our Advisors will take you through the application process in detail and clarify the full eligibility criteria.

    If you are having problems with the on line form please let us now by using the form Comment on the Website

    If you meet the eligibility requirements, and you still want to proceed with the application, our Careers Advisors will book an appointment for you at your local Armed Forces Careers Office (AFCO).

    Armed Forces Careers Office visit

    Visiting an AFCO will give you the opportunity to informally talk with serving Royal Marines about life in the Corps, and what is required of you for the remainder of the application process.

    The AFCO will also facilitate the next stages in your application. This includes the following:

    Aptitude test

    The short test is designed to find out your skills with language, numbers, reasoning and mechanical comprehension.

    Interview and medical check

    We will interview you to find out more about why you want to join. Then give you a medical check to make sure that you are in good health.

    Pre-joining fitness test

    In order to ensure that RM candidates are able to complete the three mile run they will undertake the PJFT.This will consist of  2 x 2.4km runs;the first run to be completed within 12m 30s, the second run, to be best effort, but within 10m 30s, with a minute rest in between the two runs. The runs are to be conducted on a 2 degree inclination on the running machine.

    The Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC)

    You need to be fit, strong and determined to become a Royal Marines Commando. These are the qualities we are looking for on the Potential Royal Marines Course. The course lasts three days, during which time we will test you in the gym; on the assault course; on a three-mile run; and in the classroom. There will also be an interview so that we can find out more about you and why you want to join. You will also meet some recruits who are going through their training to find out what it is really like.

    At the end of day three, we will let you know whether we think you have what it takes to be trained as a Royal Marines Commando.

    Getting fit

    Preparation is important if you want to do well at the PRMC. Regularly playing team sports like football or rugby is a good start. You should also go running, swimming or cycling.

    If you cannot swim, or you are a weak swimmer, try to get help from your local pool before the selection course. You should also do exercises like press-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups to build your upper body and stomach strength. However, it is important that you do not train so hard that you injure yourself before coming to Lympstone.

    • Link to dataforce
    • Careers advisor phone number
  • Commando Officer

    Not everyone has what it takes to succeed as a Royal Marines Officer. To prove to us that you have got what it takes, you will need to pass our rigorous selection process.


          Step 1 Phone/Contact a Careers Advisor 
          Step 2 Recruiting Test
          Step 3 Attend Area Careers Liaison Officer sift interview
          Step 4 Pass Medical Examination
          Step 5 Potential Officers Course 
          Step 6 Admiralty Interview Board


    Contact a Careers Adviser

    When you contact us about a career as an Officer in the Royal Marines you will initially speak to a Careers Adviser. After you have completed and returned an Expresion Of Interest Form and an Officer Information Form. You will then be booked to attend the Recruiting Test and invited to attend a presentation.

    Recruiting Test

    The short test is designed to find out your skills with language, numbers, reasoning and mechanical comprehension.

    Meet an Area Careers Liaison Officer (ACLO)

    Your Area Careers Liaison Officer will conduct a formal interview, confirm your eligibility and help you find out more about the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, and the jobs that could be right for you. They will also help you apply and prepare for the Potential Officers Course and the Admiralty Interview Board.

    The sift interview covers 3 main areas, Communications, Leadership & Motivation. They are not expecting the "finished article" but the more preparation you do, the sooner you will attend Potential Officers Course (POC) and Admiralty Interview Board (AIB).

    Medical Examination

    Then we give you a full medical check to make sure that you are in good health before undergoing the rigours of the Potential Officers Course

    Potential Officers Course (POC)

    The first stage towards joining the Royal Marines as an Officer is the three-day Potential Officers Course, which takes place at the Commando Training Centre at Lympstone, near Exeter in Devon.

    We will test you mentally and physically, in the classroom, in the gym and on our assault courses. We will also test your leadership potential in teamwork exercises and a three-minute lecture you will give to a small audience.

    Your ability to work as part of a team will be central to your evaluation. We are not just looking for leaders, but for people who can work together to help us succeed.

    While you are at Lympstone, you will have the chance to meet Officers going through their first year of training. You will be able to find out exactly what life in the Royal Marines is like.

    • POC – day one
    • POC – day two
    • POC – day three
    • POC – FAQs

    Admiralty Interview Board

    This explains the assessment process which all officer applicants for the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the RN Medical Services, the RN Chaplaincy Service, the RN and RM Reserve Forces and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary undergo at the Admiralty Interview Board (AIB).  We want you to be as well prepared as possible for the time you will spend at the AIB, so that you will perform to the best of your ability.  Reading this carefully could influence the way you perform in the assessment procedures, since you will know what is expected of you.

    Broadly, the Board does not expect you to show that you are ready for a commission straight away – they will be assessing your potential to become a satisfactory officer after training.  The way you behave during your time at the AIB will provide the Board with evidence of your capabilities.  Any candidate anxious to succeed will arrive prepared as fully as possible; he or she is also likely to have actively sought out opportunities for responsibility and personal development, rather than just sitting back and waiting for them to arise, as well as research the Naval Service as much as possible.

    All candidates follow the same procedure at the Board.  In addition, RM candidates attend the Potential Officers’ Course at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone, and Aircrew candidates take Flying Aptitude Tests at RAF Cranwell before attending the AIB.

    The AIB building is within the security boundary of HMS SULTAN.  You will be sent detailed travel and reporting instructions when you are invited to attend and you will be told what clothes and toiletries to bring.  Accommodation for men and women is provided in single rooms.

    We hope you will enjoy your time at the AIB.  In any event, whether you succeed or not, you will learn something about the Royal Navy and something about yourself.


    Joining the Royal Marines is a real commitment.  It has implications which you should understand and feel comfortable with if you are serious about joining.  Being a fighting Service, the Marines is obviously a disciplined and hierarchical community.  Officers are trained to take individual responsibility and to exercise leadership.  They come from a variety of backgrounds and reflect all parts of British society.

    The Service offers you a life which is challenging to both your strength of character and your intelligence.  The main feature of Royal Marine life is that it’s, an environment which is totally different from most civilian employment, and one which requires personnel to pull together as a team.

    There are many benefits of Royal Marine service: good income, non contributory pension, six weeks paid leave per year, excellent opportunities for travel, good sporting facilities and the opportunity to use leave periods constructively.  There is also the great sense of pride attached to being found worthy of selection to be trained as an officer in the Royal Marines, with its traditions of efficiency and unstinting service to the nation.


    The AIB is commanded by a Captain.  Each day a number of separate Boards may be sitting and these consist of three members: the Board President (a Captain or Commander), a Lieutenant Commander and a Lieutenant.

    Boards in which Royal Marines, RN Medical Services, RN Chaplaincy Service and RFA candidates are assessed, Officers of the appropriate specialisation may replace some of the naval Officers on the Board.

    You will be divided into groups of three or four when you arrive.  Your group will be looked after throughout your stay by a senior rating or senior NCO, who is a member of the AIB staff.  They will explain everything to you in detail, including briefing you on the various tasks and will be able to any questions or queries you may have.


    The AIB is a competency-based assessment process, which means that it focuses on the competencies (personal qualities) required to be an effective officer in the front line after training.  There are five core competencies that the Board will be assessing:

    Effective Intelligence


    Powers of Communication



    Your academic background is assessed before awarding you an interview date, so the Board will want to see you using your intellect effectively in a practical environment to come up with solutions to a range of problems posed during the activities; your ability to think through a problem , put your plan into action adapt when things go wrong are the attributes that the Board is looking for.

    You will have to show that you have the potential and confidence to lead and direct a team, as leadership forms the core of all Officer Training.  The Board will not be expecting to see a highly polished performance, neither is it looking for the natural leader, but it will wish to see someone who is confident, can take charge, work in a team and remain calm when all does not go according to plan.  In addition, you will have to show that you can communicate effectively, both on paper and verbally.  Joining the Royal Navy is a challenge and a commitment and for this reason your values in terms of your commitment, your drive and how you react in a demanding situation will be assessed.  Initial Officer Training is long and demanding.  The Board will want to know what motivated you to apply for a commission and what you have done to be certain in your own mind that this is how you want to spend these important years of your life. 
    Perhaps it sounds as if the Royal Marines are looking for the perfect person, but this is not the case.  Few young people can display all these qualities at an interview.  The Board will be assessing the potential of the candidate to become a satisfactory Officer after training, competent in his or her abilities and able to lead others.

    There is no stereotype of the individual for whom the Board is searching, so be yourself, offer your opinions when asked and do not be afraid to be controversial in your responses.  The Royal Marines are looking for a wide range of academic and practical talents in its Officers and has room for both the outgoing and the more reserved. 



    You can expect to spend two and a half days at the AIB.  You will be put into a mixed group of three to four candidates of similar age where possible.  A maximum of three Boards can be in operation at the same time.

    You will not be assessed by direct comparison with one another within your group, but against set and established standards.  There is no quota system for passes and Board members will be only too delighted if they can recommend most or all of your group to be put forward for selection for training.

    As many of the tasks involve teamwork, there will be plenty of opportunity for you to get to know the others in your group, to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to develop a team spirit.  This will help you throughout the boarding process so you are encouraged to get to know the other team members quickly.

    Before arriving at the AIB, you will be sent a personal questionnaire for completion (Form Q101).  This gives you the opportunity to provide the Board with details of your achievements, positions of responsibility, part-time work, membership of clubs and some evidence as to your reasons for seeking a commission in the RM.  This is your chance to sell yourself, so take some time to complete this and do not be afraid to provide reasonable detail in your responses.  The Board will study this questionnaire in advance of the interview and will provide members with a starting point for their questioning.


    On arrival, you should report to the candidates’ reception desk.  At reception you will be able to find out about the domestic arrangements and where you are to be accommodated.  The staff are there to help make your time at the AIB as comfortable as possible, so if you find you have forgotten to bring something or have questions about the process, they will do their best to help you wherever possible.

    Having settled in, you will be given a full briefing by a Board Senior Rating.  You will also meet the others in your group and have a meal.


    After breakfast, you will be welcomed with some introductory remarks by one of the Board Presidents.

    You then start what is known as “Testing Day” as the majority of it is devoted to completing a series of tests and an essay.  These will need all the concentration and effort you can muster if you are to do yourself full justice.  You will face a number of computer based aptitude tests, which will, between them, give an indication of your intellectual and practical abilities, measured against the past performance of thousands who have undergone them before you.

    These tests consist of:

    1. A Service knowledge test.  This is a short multiple-choice test designed to assess your Royal Naval/Marine and wider defence knowledge that you have gleaned from the research you have carried out.

    2. A 15-minute verbal reasoning test designed to test your ability to think logically about written information.

    3. A 30-minute numerical test to assess your ability to solve numerical problems.

    4. A 12-minute abstract test to assess your ability to identify patterns and relationships between shapes.

    5. An essay.  This is a test of your written powers of communication.  You are given 45 minutes to write on a subject chosen from a list of five topics, these usually include military, political and contemporary media subjects.  You will be assessed on your ability to produce logical, fluent, convincing and accurate written work but not on your beliefs or opinions.

    The tests will finish late morning and the rest of the day is taken up with preparation for the following day when you will be assessed by the Board.  You will be given an example of a Planning Exercise scenario to study.  After this you will be taken to the gym for a brief by the Board Senior Rating on the techniques associated with the Leadership Task that you will conduct the following day and instruction on the associated health and safety issues.  During this time you will be given the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the equipment so that you will not confronted with something entirely new when being assessed by the Board.

    The final programmed event of the day is the Multi-Stage Fitness Assessment (often referred to as a bleep test).  You are encouraged to keep going as long as you are able in order to demonstrate your personal level of fitness.  Whilst it is a requirement that all Naval staff are fit, this is not a pass or fail test, but your performance will contribute to your Final Board Mark.  For the Royal Marine candidates, the POC Physical Performance score will contribute to the Final Board Mark, however, they are still expected to complete the Multi-Stage Fitness Assessment.  For all candidates, you may be asked in the interview how you prepared for this test. 

    The rest of the day is free time.  You will probably spend it relaxing with the other members of your group.  It is a good idea to get to know them as soon as possible as you will have to co-operate with them fully during the final assessment day.


    This is the day on which you actually meet the Board members, and you should consider yourself  “on parade” throughout the day.

    It usually begins with the Planning Exercise.  The exercise is to designed to give you the chance to show three of the assessed competencies: Effective Intelligence, Leadership and Powers of Communication, but in a non-physical environment.  You are given a written brief to study for 15 minutes which contains the details of a fictitious scenario.  On completion the Board President will introduce himself before you and your group are taken into the Boardroom.  The Lieutenant introduces a problem into the scenario you have been studying and then you have 15 minutes to discuss possible solutions with your group with the object of reaching an agreed solution to present to the Board.  The Lieutenant will question each of you in turn to examine your grasp of the scenario and whether or not you support the group solution.  Finally, you will have 2 minutes to individually present your aims and plan to the problem and the opportunity to present an alternative plan, together with your arguments to support any changes. 

    Next follows the Leadership Assessment in the gym.  The tasks are designed to assess four of the assessed competencies: Effective Intelligence, Leadership, Powers of Communication and Values.  The tasks all involve bridging an imaginary chasm with a variety of planks, poles, spars and ropes.  Often the team carries a load with them to add to the difficulty.  To give variety, alternate tasks are carried out across a water tank.  You will be given a diagram of the task you will lead, showing the equipment you can use, the layout and the task’s mission.  You have 15 minutes to study it on your own and devise your plan to complete the mission. 

    When the Board Members arrive in the gym, you will initially be given a team task in which no particular member of the group is designated as the leader.  You have 8 minutes to complete this task and teamwork is essential.  You are then called in turn to tackle your designated task in 8 minutes with the remainder of the group acting as your team.  It is up to you to see that the members of your group know their jobs and do them quickly and effectively; failure to complete the task does not automatically mean failure to succeed at the AIB.

    The Board members watch and assess your performance throughout all of the tasks, not just the one you have to lead.  Therefore, you must think and stay alert the whole time, therefore ensure you are involved and contribute throughout.  Most candidates enjoy this session more than any other part of the assessment procedure, even if they do sometimes get rather wet!


    The Leadership Assessment and the Planning Exercise last until mid-morning.  After these activities it is time for the main Board Interview.  This lasts approximately 25-30 minutes and gives you the chance to discuss the qualities that you have to meet the requirements of an Officer in the Royal Marines.

    The interview is competency-based, which means that it focuses on personal examples where you have shown an ability to display the requirements of some of the assessed competencies.  These are to be drawn from past experiences and the Board will wish to hear what actually happened.  Most likely, the Board members will ask follow-up questions or look for additional examples – do not be worried by this as they are only trying to find out as much as possible in the limited time available.

    The Lieutenant Commander will start by questioning your motivation to join the Royal Marines/Naval Service.  You should focus on your reasons for joining and be able to discuss in detail your chosen career path and the training that you will be expected to undertake. You will be probed on your knowledge of the Service, relevant commitments and equipment operated both today and in the future.

    The Lieutenant focuses on the Values elements of the assessment criteria.  The Royal Marines/Naval Service requires Officers who are prepared to take a risk, remain motivated in the face of adversity, believe in what they are doing, demonstrate courage to be able to live and work with people from a diverse range of backgrounds.  Therefore, you will be asked to talk about the challenges you have faced, your spare time activities and how you cope when things do not go according to plan. 

    Lastly, the Board President focuses on one of the most important aspects of being an Officer, Leadership.  He will talk to you about times when you have been in charge of a group, been part of a team and planned an event or evolution.  Therefore, think about all the times you have had to take responsibility for something, your role within a team and when you have organised a group of people.

    Although all this may sound daunting, do not be put off!  In fact, the atmosphere in the interview is fairly relaxed and friendly and you will be given every opportunity to provide evidence to the Board and to demonstrate why you want a career in the Naval Service.

    On completion of the interviews, you will have lunch while the Board considers its decision.  Afterwards, your Board President will see you individually to tell you the result.  Thereafter, successful Aircrew candidates will remain overnight for their Aircrew medicals the following morning and the remainder of candidates, both successful and unsuccessful, will be free to leave the AIB by about 1400. 


    The result of your Board will be confirmed by letter within a few days.  Although success at the AIB indicates that we believe you have the potential to become a naval officer, it does not guarantee your entry into training.  The names of all successful candidates are forwarded to a Selection Board which makes the final selection based upon the number of vacancies and the number of successful candidates.  Once the Selection Board has sat and determined who is to be offered a place at BRNC Dartmouth or CTC Lympstone, you will be informed of the outcome.


    In all the Armed Services, it is necessary to be physically and medically fit, and all Officers are required to pass an annual fitness test.  Although the training at Dartmouth is not as physically demanding as that awaiting Young Officers joining the Royal Marines, some time is spent on developing endurance and athletic ability.  It follows that the fitter you are when you arrive for training, the more you will enjoy your training and the better you will perform.  At the AIB we check your level of physical fitness with the short fitness assessment.  Whilst it is not a pass or fail test, your performance in this test is marked and will contribute towards the final assessment.  So, as preparation for the Board you should start to undertake regular physical exercise as soon as possible.

    Prepare yourself

    You will improve your chances at the Admiralty Interview Board if you prepare yourself well in advance.

    Find out as much as you can about the Royal Marines – our operations, our equipment, our ethos and the way we work.

    Think about times when you have shown leadership or responsibility, so that you have things to tell us in your interviews.

Click here to contact a careers advisor