Royal Navy Officer: The joining process

As a Royal Navy Officer, you’ll be leading and managing a team of men and women, in circumstances that are often challenging, and sometimes dangerous. That’s why the joining process is exhaustive, and can seem lengthy. It involves a series of interviews, plus mental and physical tests, to ensure the Royal Navy is right for you – and that you’re right for the Royal Navy. For certain specialist roles there may be additional tests and selection criteria.

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows



The first step is choosing the role that you think is right for you. There are nineteen officer roles to choose from, each enabling you to shape a career that fits your skills and ambitions. Each role has its own specific entry and eligibility criteria, depending on its discipline and skillset. With such breadth of opportunity, there’s no need to be 100% sure of your role at this stage. To find the role that's right for you click on the button below.

Find your role


We'll then arrange for you to take the Naval Service Recruiting Test (NSRT), which all potential recruits have to complete. It tests your general intellectual ability, and how well you do shows your capacity to cope with the academic aspects of selection for the role you’ve chosen. To help you prepare for this multiple-choice psychometric test, we have included a practice test here.

After your NSRT you will have a short initial interview with your Area Careers Liaison Officer (ACLO), who will talk you through the recruitment process and your suitability for a career in the Royal Navy. During this interview they will talk you through your Officer Applicant Questionnaire. This is a form that is sent prior to your NRST and provides you with the opportunity to highlight your relevant skills and experience.



Life in the Royal Navy is physically demanding, which is why the medical and eye exam are quite comprehensive.

Your tests must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors, who are based all around the country. Your local AFCO will arrange an appointment for you at a convenient time and location. This stage of the joining process may run parallel to the NSRT and interview, so that we can process your application as soon as possible.

Find out more


Before you can join you'll have to pass the Royal Navy's Pre-Joining Fitness Test, which involves completing a 2.4km run on a treadmill within a specified time, at a fitness centre near you. This will also be arranged by your local AFCO. You’ll need to be in great shape to give yourself the best possible chance of passing, and going on to complete Royal Navy Training.

You’ll find more details about fitness in our 'joining’ section.



The interview stage is designed to assess your suitability for a career in the Royal Navy, and specifically the role that you have chosen. This will also ensure you are ready for the Admiralty Interview Board. This is much like any other job interview, so you should prepare accordingly.



Finally there is the Admiralty Interview Board, which is unique to officers and takes place over a day and a half. It’s a competency-based assessment to find out if you have what it takes, mentally and physically, to succeed as a Royal Navy Officer.

Here’s what to expect:

  • An essay, to assess written communication skills
  • A Practical Leadership Task, to assess teamwork and leadership
  • A planning exercise and presentation
  • An interview
  • Psychometric testing (verbal, non-verbal, numeracy)
  • A Fitness test (an outdoor 2.4km run that is timed)

You’ll find out at the AIB whether you’ve been forwarded for selection, though being forwarded doesn’t guarantee your entry into training. This is a highly competitive process, with your performance at every stage contributing towards earning a place as a Royal Navy Officer. You’ll be placed in order of merit, and the final selection depends on the number of vacancies available at the time and the number of successful candidates who reach the required fitness, medical and educational standards. Please see here for more information.



To be eligible for selection you’ll also need to pass a Security and Reference Check. Then, if you are selected by the final selection board, you will be able to start your training – and your Royal Navy career – at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) in Dartmouth. Your Initial Naval Training will be held here, before starting the professional training that’s unique to your role and future. You will be provided with your train ticket, to help you get there, joining instructions and we will tell you what kit you need.

For officers, basic training takes place at Britannia Royal Naval College and takes over 30 weeks.

Training is covered in more detail in the ‘Training and Post-joining’ section.