Term 1 sees Officer Cadets acquire basic military skills as they transform from civilians into soldiers in Sandhurst's most famous and beautiful building - Old College.
At this stage of the course there's very little free time, as the schedule is packed. There are introductions to leadership, tactics, map reading, living in the field, weapon handling, drill, physical training and personal administration such as ironing, polishing boots and room layout. The focus is on teamwork and building confidence. Lifelong friendships are often forged as the individuals become a team, helping each other through the pressured early weeks of training. The first major hurdle is the drill test known as "Passing Off The Square" at the end of Week 5, which is followed by a well-earned leave weekend. Then comes the most physically testing exercise of the term: Exercise Long Reach, a 36-hour patrol competition in the rugged terrain of Wales.
It's a hallmark of Sandhurst's unique approach to Army Officer training that at this stage of the course the platoon Colour Sergeant or Staff Sergeant, a Non-Commissioned Officer, is to the fore with his or her expertise in developing core military skills. Sandhurst sets great store in the professionalism of its NCO instructors and selects them with care from the best that the Army has to offer.
During the three or four week recess at the end of Week 14, all Officer Cadets go on a one week Adventurous Training (AT) course outside the Academy. During this they earn a qualification which enables them to organise and lead an AT expedition of their own at the end of Term 2.