AIB Diary - 2018 Format


Because there isn’t one yet, here is a diary for the AIB 2018 format. I’m happy to answer any questions. Hopefully @photface will be able to corroborate some of my thoughts.

Our group was made of 2 boards, Board 1 with four candidates and Board 3 with three candidates.
5 Passed, 1 failed and 1 was unknown when our board left.

No two people were applying for the same role, off the top of my head we had:
ME (Sub)
WE (Upper yardy)

A lot of the tips here were given by staff.

Day 1:

Arrival is now between 10 and 11. Aim to get there closer to 10 as you'll want a chance to unpack and get into your sports kit ready for the run at 11. You'll notice a poster of PLT securing techniques in your room, don't worry about this yet as it makes little sense out of context.


The run is the same 8 (and a bit) laps around the AstroTurf pitch as previous years; the surface is not fantastic under foot and you are given no indication of your times, all you can do here is give best effort.

Quick shower and change back into formal attire.


This is a bit of a blur for some reason. We had a quick lunch (15mins) in the candidate’s dining room. This was followed by a welcome from one of the boarding officers; just some light words of encouragement and a reminder to "be your most confident self".

PLT Pratice

Bus hop to the PLT hangar. Here we spent a couple of hours covering every technique required to complete the PLTs, every person had a go at every technique before having a go at a PLT with all 7 candidates.

There is a lot to take in here but it's essential you retain as much as possible. There are no tricks to solving the PLTs, every possible technique you will need will be shown to you.

Practice Plan Ex

By this point you’ve hopefully practiced a few of these. With only 7.5 mins you may struggle to get all your notes down but this exercise is notably simpler than the real deal. If you’ve already practiced these there’s not much too learn but some people did discover their note taking technique wasn’t ideal for pulling out information quickly. I used a 2x2 grid with headings and a separate area for essential facts (e.g sunset), this was a life saver the next day.

Free Time

By this point it was about 1630, so we opted to watch the curling and practice some PLT techniques before dinner at 1830 (curry night), after which we made a quick trip to the pub and returned for bed 2030(wild).

Day 2

0615 – Call to hands

0645 – Breakfast

0715 – Board 1 ready for PlanEx, Board 3 in PLT gear ready for PLT.


As a 3 person board we were given a Stand in Candidate (STIC), this was a staff member who will only do as instructed. If you have one, use them to secure the first item and get them out the way.

Before commencing any tasks we were taken into a separate room and each given our scenario. We were then given 15 minutes to write/draw a solution alone; if you remember the techniques you will not need remotely that long to get a solution down, and if you don’t have a solution it’s always an option to simply ask your team at the start of the task.

For the leaderless task, no one individual stood out as in charge but as a team we worked well together despite not completing the objective. If you have a strong character in your team they will likely dominate the scenario from the beginning, don’t worry about it too much. If they are too dominating they will be marked down for it and as long as you are vocal and contributing you are doing okay here.

For your individual task you will be given 30 seconds to reread your plan from earlier, you will then be given the objective again to shout to your team. You now have 8 minutes to deliver your plan, join your team and complete the objective. The only one we completed was mine, but as it was the fourth scenario we had the securing techniques down and our general efficiency was better. All three of us thought our performance wasn’t up to scratch here due to poor command presence (voice projection) but were later informed by the board president that while our projection was poor, we had all shown strong leadership during our tasks despite this.


Our PLTs took ~1 hour and upon return we were straight into the PlanEx.

15 mins – Given map and scenario. Note as many important details as possible, especially times, vehicles, speeds, actors, current aims and constraints.

Straight into another room with your notes, you’ll now be given a problem by an officer.

15 mins – Discuss as a team your solution. Here you should immediately set out your 3 main aims. Generally it seems there will be at least three obvious problems in any scenario: a casualty, a secondary but not life-threatening issue, a time constraint. A reasonable guide here is:

· Aims – 2 mins

· Discussion – 8 mins

· Forming Plan – 4 mins

· Finalise Plan – 1 mins

While forming the plan, nominate someone who agrees with it to report it to the board, they’ll want to begin preparing their notes.


This will almost certainly not go well. Firstly, you’ll remove your notes from view. You will be asked every question possible, from what time it is, to which character you are, to your current plan. Any piece of information you received could be asked about, you will not know every answer. You will be challenged on some of your ideas, there was a chance one of our team would become stranded somewhere (safe, but stranded) and we were forced to defend this as acceptable due to the emergency situation.

The officer questioning you will be trying to steer you towards the ideal solution, they will also be trying to steer you towards a worse solution. In my personal opinion, PlanEx guides usually put too much emphasis on practicing speed/distance/time; if I was doing it again I’d spend far more time working on improving information retention.

New Written Section:

Once the questioning was complete we were given a new problem in the scenario, this problem rendered our previous solution impossible. We were now given 20 minutes to type our plans using a point brief format.

The sections were along the lines of: Overview, Aims, Plan, and Summary. You are not marked on writing ability here but instead on plan feasibility and if you conveyed the right information. All three of our board chose different plans here and all three of us were marked down for feasibility due to all having faults/assumptions.

With the 20 minutes over, we now delivered our plans one-by-one to the board using the map and no notes. The questioning officer will now tell you if there is a fault in this plan and give you an opportunity correct it, if you do so you can gain back some feasibility points.

Round Robin

Psychometric tests – You will do these spread out over 2-3 hours. They are not worth a great deal of points and seemed quite insignificant at the time. All candidates felt they ran out of time towards the end of the abstract reasoning and numeracy sections.


The line of questioning seemed to have changed notably this year. No candidate in our group, or the group from the day previous (4 boards total) were asked a single question on Navy Knowledge and a staff member indicated that if you were asked it would be very general. All candidates first question was simply “Tell us about yourself in 2 minutes”, all candidates were asked about a time they showed moral courage, all candidates were asked why an officer, why their branch, why the RN.

Most questions were asked to try and gauge more about a candidates personality, some examples from our interviews include:

· Tell us about a time you showed compassion.

· Tell us about a time you showed resilience.

· Is it justifiable that armed forces personnel sometimes die in peace time?

· Officers look down on young officers, RN officers look down on RNR officers, discuss.

· What if your political views upset the crew on board your ship?

· Tell us about a time you were out of your comfort zone.

· When was the happiest you’ve ever been?

This is not an interrogation, they are genuinely just trying to figure out what kind of person you are. Honesty is the best policy here, pour your heart out if need be but try and stick to the STAR method (situation, task, action, and result). If the question asks for your opinion, then give it. If you really can’t think of an example say so.


At this point we were incredibly grateful the run was now on Day 1, as we were now one hour ahead of Board 1 and would have been forced to wait until they caught up. Instead, we all got our results before 3 o’clock.

¼ PLTS’s finished

0/3 Complete PLANEX Solutions

3/3 Passed from the board.

You really are not being assessed on the completion of the tasks.
Last edited:


Lantern Swinger
This is very well written and completely on point. I was shocked that none of the vast amount of naval knowledge I had pushed into my head was used!
The interview is great and it’s a good idea to try to build a rapport with your boarding officers. They are very nice people, all of them. Have lots of examples ready of times you’ve made mistakes that may have affected others, when you’ve worked as a team, what your biggest achievement is and a time you’ve shown moral courage.
As @Kelvin says, the run on the AstroTurf is not the best underfoot and the PTI can’t give any indication of timing at all. Don’t let this get to you though, just keep taking it one task at a time and it’ll be over before you know it.
Also, PLTs: you are assessed on every single one as a whole. If you do five PLTs, you are assessed on five. So don’t switch off when you’ve done yours!
The biggest things to do on AIB are be yourself and work hard for each other. Do these two things and your good attitude will be noticed. :)

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]


Great additions from photface there. A few clarifications:
  • No one has explicitly said Navy Knowledge is no longer a requirement for the interview but the consensus so far is that questioning is now more personal.
  • One candidate was asked "What does the Royal Navy do?"
  • Watches are also not allowed during the PLTs, times are called out by your board senior rate. A general sense of urgency should be kept up at all times but when you have one minute remaining it doesn't hurt to look like you're giving it one last push.
  • The onscreen timer for the psychometric tests is vague/useless, start your own stopwatch when you begin a section.
  • There can be a lot of waiting around during the round robin. Read a book, watch TV, play pool, just try to relax.
  • The process genuinely felt fair. Regardless of background, accent, gender, etc. it felt like we were all given the exact same shot.


I have my AIB date through for the end of May. I am an UY SM although all my officers onboard went through the AIB sometime ago.

I am struggling to find any decent Abstract Reasoning practice tests. Would anyone be able to point me in the right direction please?
Did my AIB this year and passed. The above is an excellent assessment of what happens on both days. To add:
  • During the PLT demonstrations. Take notes of all techniques and the required securing techniques. Many of these are not on the reminder sheets in your cabins and you will be stopped during the PLT if you do not secure things according to the drills. I went through these notes many times and was the only one to complete my individual PLT, although this was mainly due to my excellent team saving me from making stupid errors and being the last candidate in the set able to learn from others' mistakes. It's all about teamwork, so help each other!
  • I had no general navy questions, except for on my career path and what specifically my duties would involve in my specialisation and as divisional officer. In short, memorising displacement of ships is a waste of time.
  • Additional interview questions - "when did you take a decision that had an effect on everybody else?", "what have you learned about yourself from this experience".
  • The Planex will require A LOT of information retention, from the name of the challenge to the characteristics of your team.
  • To reiterate the point above, the process felt very fair across the board, regardless of origin.
  • Remember they don't know anything about you. This is done on purpose to preclude bias. Therefore, you will need to explain your background and what path you're aiming for in the interview.
  • The Abstract Reasoning is tricky. Practise with books for the 11+ available from libraries or online.