Rating to Officer

Hi all,
To cut a long story short my A-level grades aren't up to scratch so I cannot apply to be an officer. I'm looking into resitting my A-level maths but every college in Nottingham have said I can't sit the exams.
If I don't get anywhere with these colleges soon I'm going to try to join as a rating, I just wonder if anyone has or knows anyone who earned a commission, and if they have any advice.
I can join the Crabs as an officer since I have 2 passes, but I'd much rather be in the navy.

Peace out
Unfortunately I don't have the time or money to go elsewhere
I knew it would be hard work, and I'm more than willing to put the graft in to show that I'm capable of making it as an officer.
aqua_lung said:
If you are recommended for officer training, do you go through the same process as a non-serviceman (AIB etc) or are there differences?

If selected, you will have to spend around 18 months as a candidate, which basically means you are the Wardroom's bitch, they will give you every gash task under the sun and you will be expected to love it. Then you will have to wait another 18 months for an AIB (assuming you get branch clearance) which you will probably fail because of that one night when you got pissed and were late returning onboard. Then if you pass that you will have to wait another 18 months for a start date at Dartmouth.

Seriously mate, move heaven and earth to get those exams re-sat.

Edited to put things into perspective: My best mate, who was the best man at my wedding, is probably the greatest candidate for Officer you could ever meet. He expressed his interest while at Raleigh in 2001. Since that time he has sat two A Levels, completed a Degree in Engineering and been promoted to PO, he has never been trooped or failed an exam and has represented the RN at Squash.

He is still waiting for an AIB.


War Hero
What is surprising is that around 30% of Officers joined as Ratings/Other Ranks, rising to 40% in the case of engineering trades.

Whilst not necessarily the view of the service, I reckon all potential Officers should join as ratings, as indeed used to be the case for all WRNS Officers. This way the stronger candidates would naturally filter to the top & sit AIB soonest.

Problem at the moment is that too many people think that having a degree means they must therefore be an Officer, whilst those with the basic 5 GCSE's (A*-C including maths & English) could easily have a wealth of experience with management potential but are held back through inherent ignorance in the otherwise excellent Divisional System - It's often easier for the busier DO to say "No" & get crap jobs completed rather than delve into the "too difficult" intricacy of simply requesting an AIB & then losing a good worker.


At the risk of poking my nose in where it's not wanted... When I was at my AIB in October (which I failed) there was a candidate on my board who was currently serving. He'd only been in 2 years (had recently been medically downgraded) and due to "changes in the system" (?) was applying for officer. He passed really well and was likely to get into Dartmouth in January.

Like I said, I'm not trying to give advice about something I know nothing about (though it is of interest to me as I'm going to join as rating) but just wanted to let you know my experience of the matter.
2DD is right. If you fcuk up whilst serving as a Rating they will throw it back in your face at AIB. I had a particularly crap time on POLC (mainly because the course officer was a tw8t and we didn't get on), and funny old thing, they brought it up at the AIB, even though at the time of doing POLC I had no aspiration to go Officer at all. I found myself having to talk my way out of my "apparent lack of motivation" - not my words - which was quite a shocker.

I passed, but the point is, every move you make will be monitored as soon as you express a preference to go over to the Dark Side. I had my papers raised 3 years ago and I am finally joining BRNC next Feb. Maintaining your enthusiasm for all the shite jobs thrown at you for up to 5 years (validity of AIB pass), whilst still trying to do your own job, takes it out of you.

Re-sit your exams and come back later shipmate.
If there is ANY possibility of getting your grades squared away, do so. If joining the navy is the most important thing, then fine, get the next train to RALEIGH and don't look back.

If you want to be an officer, then you are a damn sight better off starting as one than trying to sort it out later. It can be done, and some of the best officers I ever worked with/for came from the lower deck. However, they all had the same thought (pretty much), if they had their time again, then they would have tried to get into BRNC at the start. That's not because officers are better than ratings, it's because the job is different and you may as well do what you're suited to as ealry as possible.

For some people BRNC is not the right thing when they are 18-21, but they may grow into it later. But if you're not through the door yet, seriously ask yourself whether you want to be an officer or a rating and make sure you make the right decision for you, and for the right reasons.

Just don't join the crabs. :wink:


War Hero
Yep, as things stand with the current selection system, I'd always suggest that those wishing to be an Officer should do so from the outset as it's the only assured way of gaining a commission.

If everyone had to join as a Rating first, then selection could be truly merit based rather than exclusively academically based in the case of DE officers selected from a narrower field of contenders.
Thanks for all the advice guys, there are advantages to both options I think.
I'm expecting to be out of action for a while, I need to work for a year or so to pay off a bit of debt I got into during my all too brief spell at uni, and I have a leg injury that needs sorting before I even think about signing up.
During this time I should find a way to sit the exams, but if I can't I'm happy to go in as a rating and stay in for as long as possible, even if I never become a commissioned officer.

I know that it's claimed that there is no class distinction, but is this actually the case? I'm from a working class background, and one of the few things that I took away from uni is the knowledge that almost everyone in the LUOTC were public schooled morons, then again that's the army.
In the world yes
In the army (reg/corps dependent) yes
In the navy (I'm very happy to say as an ex public schoolboy :wink: ) no

It is very much about where you're going and not where you came from in the mob.

Cue 800 dits along the lines of pigs/grunters drinking gin....

Not so much these days.
haha thanks,
I must make that comment clear, I have nothing against public schoolboys, just those who I met in LUOTC, York Uni is 4th only to Oxbridge and Durham for obnoxious cretins


Lantern Swinger
Were you at york then aqualung? Or a univeristy in London? Your comment about ULOTC suggests the latter! You should have joined the URNU, even though there are a signficant proportion of private/public school educated people at the ones associated with the good universities, they tend not to be the obnoxious ones! Certain UOTCs do seem to selectively recruit from fee paying school leavers, but who cares as theyre not getting paid , URNU and UAS are.
Apparently I'm from a working class background as well, joined as a tiff and now they let me fly the helicopters!! (I know that means I'm doubly hated but hey, I'm happy)

It is possible to go officer, more so than the other services, just takes a bit of effort.
Went to York IB, LUOTC is the Leeds University OTC. As far as I know all unis in Yorkshire join the LUOTC and do the whole pimms and nakedness thing at Catterick.

Did a year of Theoretical Physics, things weren't working out there so I left.
ha, if I were that clever I'd have put a bit more effort in my A-levels, but thanks mate.

Yeah, I'd like to start it all again, but theres no point feeling sorry for myself, all you can do is learn from your mistakes and better yourself.
Get the A levels and do your best to join as an officer straight away. Consider finding a way to do it as an organisational task to demonstrate your officer potential - I am sure the story of your determination to get the A levels will go down well at the AIB.

I joined at 18 with A levels from a comprehensive school and in my current wardroom there are Senior and not so senior Upper-Yardmen, an old-Etonian, Oxford Graduate, other graduates and non-graduates from all backgrounds. The RN is, in my view, a meritocracy.

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