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Weapon System Operator (WSOp)/Aircrew (NCA) selection process watch

    • Thread Starter

    Hello. I’m making this post because I had a lot of questions about the selection process for WSOp and couldn’t find an up-to-date one regarding this.

    At the moment, and I know this may not be useful to some of you, I am just about to have my Filter Interview, and so I’m only in the early stages of the process.

    But I will be updating my experiences and key points I can help with throughout. I’ll try to be thorough, but not dull you with (some may say) pointless information.

    Now, I started my process back in November where I knew next to nothing about the RAF, general military and to be honest, current political affairs. This is OK. Don’t be daunted by this. I’ll touch on this later, but the resources are there (online) to help you learn everything you need to know. I just started by talking to my friend who was applying so I thought I’d have a browse; turned out WSOp was the role for me. Although, looking back, I’d definitely put Pilot down as a choice (if that’s your thing). I didn’t because I thought you needed to be superhuman to be one – which you don’t. Although you do need to be very mentally capable judging by the aptitude tests and required score. The whole process I am lead to believe will take 7-12 months.

    OK, the process. As I said, I knew nothing about it starting off with, which is why I’m writing this because I want to help others. To my understanding, it goes like this:·
    Initial application/talk in AFCO (optional, but recommended)·
    P2 presentation. Again, this is optional, but I would strongly advise going to this, it helped immensely.·
    Aptitude tests (CBAT) at RAF Cranwell, Lincolnshire (OASC).
    Filter Interview (AFCO)
    Medical/fitness test (I’m not 100% which comes first)
    2-3 day visit to OASC Cranwell
    Decision time

    P2 presentation
    Honestly, I can’t emphasise how much this helped me personally. For example, when I got there, people were telling me about how they were applying for Officer roles and I was like ‘am I in the right place?’(to myself). I thought this because I didn’t even know you are, to a certain extent, assessed as an Officer throughout the process. But because you will pass-out as a Sergeant, it makes sense. WSOps (along with Air Traffic Controllers) are Non-commissioned Aircrew (NCA; an airman, but start in higher rank). Honestly, all of these acronyms and abbreviations confused me and still do. But you pick them up with time. Anyway, make sure your paperwork is in good order. Take your ophthalmic report (eyetest), medical form and other relevant documents with you, in good order. If you wonder whether you should take it, do. If you need help with anything, call them up asap to sort it out. My best bit of advice for this, which someone there will tell you, is to take notes. These notes will certainly help you in preparation for what to know about the RAF, your role and how both of those fit into the bigger picture of war/NATO/operations etc. You have anopportunity to ask questions – now isn’t the time to get cotton mouth. Ask, ask, and ask more. Whatever you want to know, they’re there for that purpose.

    Aptitude tests
    Personally, I didn’t find this too much of a stressful time. Not in a narcissistic way, it definitely was challenging. But my view on this was that I had nothing to lose and thus went with an open mind, enjoy it and see what I’m capable of. So you go down to OASC Cranwell the night before, stay over and the tests are the next day around 6.50am. Again, make sure you take all relevant ID as you get a temporarypass/car permit on arrival. The evening is really chilled; you’re not under military instruction and you’re free to do what you want – run, chill in candidates mess, there's a local shop down the road. Having said that, staying up late and getting drunk - you know the answer to that. You need to be dressed smart in the candidates mess and when eating food, I know some people who just didn’t bother though and stayed in their rooms. Take a change of clothes, not your wardrobe, you’re only staying for one night. The lady at the desk was really helpful and polite, she'll tell you everything you need to know. You get your own room for the night which I didn’t expect and was nice to really relax before the next day. Go to bed early and get a good night’s rest if you can (easier said than done, I know). I went to bed at 11 and didn’t drop off until about 2.30am, and still slept bad! Be up sharp though, as if you’re late you won’t be admitted. OK, the tests themselves. In my honest opinion, there’s a limit to what you can prepare for these. It isn’t you’re average aptitude test (electrical comprehension, numerical reasoning etc), instead it was a complete breakdown and assessment of various skills, interpretation and task management (amongst many others). You can, obviously, touch up your maths skills (like dissecting relevant information from data, +,/,*, -), verbal reasoning (same again), memory recollection and multi-tasking. But I believe these tests are designed to test your innate capabilities. I mean, how do you prepare for guiding a ball through a tunnel, whilst remembering what number and colour you’re supposed to press at specific times, with distorted communications when they’re telling you a 6 digit code to remember, to also put in a later time, and being told whether or not to go through a certain coloured shape or not to certain callsigns?(?!?!?!). Now I don’t mean that to put you off, but one of the tests do develop into that. To be honest, I found the whole experience rather enjoyable and some of the tests were quite fun, but others you have to concentrate hard. Just take it as it comes and don’t bother about your performance during the tests. There isn’t time for it, move on. The invigilators were really calm, re-assuring and helpful. There’s water provided, drink during the day little and often, you get a 4 minute break every hour. The last thing you want is to be needing the toilet through a test and if you’re not there it will start/continue without you. Afterwards, you’ll go through a sheet with a board Officer and have a run down of your performance, whether you passed (hopefully you will) or failed. If you do, there may indeed be alternatives, and they will be discussed at that time. You have an overall pass score out of 180, which for different roles you need to get at least the required cut off point (WSOp is 90). You also have 6 different breakdowns relevant and specific to the role you’ve applied for, again, you have to pass them ALL. Don’t get bogged down in what you need to be good at for your chosen role and what tests are important; chances are you’ll be wrong and plus, doing your best at everything may offer other options. This isn't a job match facility.

    Next for me is the Filter Interview and I will update this post when that happens, my experience and what I did (am doing) leading up to it.

    Please note this is just from the top of my head experience and knowledge. If there are any additions or adjustments needed comments are welcome.

    Thank you for reading and best of luck.

    Holy wall of text batman.

    Break it into paragraphs to help people read that.

    Remember that the bit of Cranwell you go to is called OASC: Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre, hence why you, a prospective Aircrew candidate, is going there for tests.

    Don't call NCA an in between. If you succeed in entering the RAF you will be an airman, you're not a different category, you're just a few rungs up the ladder.
    • Thread Starter

    (Original post by Drewski)
    Holy wall of text batman.

    Break it into paragraphs to help people read that.

    Remember that the bit of Cranwell you go to is called OASC: Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre, hence why you, a prospective Aircrew candidate, is going there for tests.

    Don't call NCA an in between. If you succeed in entering the RAF you will be an airman, you're not a different category, you're just a few rungs up the ladder.
    Hi Drew, HAHA. Yeah, sorry about that. Formatting wasn't right when i moved it over. Thank you for the comments too, I've changed them accordingly.

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