Air Force Journey

Sharing my journey through Air Force Officer Training School (OTS) and beyond.

OTS Weeks 2015

Week 2 – OTS Academics (Part 3 of 3)

Week 2 – Consolidated Written Test 1 (Part 3 of 3)

TD8 – TD12
Consolidated Written Test (CWT)

The entire rest of the week involved classes which would prep us for CWT1 the following week.  CWT1 is the first of two academic tests administered during OTS.  These tests are extremely important because they are a “graded measurement” in the syllabus.  If you fail a graded measurement it will reflect poorly on your overall student record which is also graded.  If you fail too many graded measurements you could be eliminated from the course.

Once you get access to blackboard you will be able to download all of the OTS course material.  Each lesson has a PDF lesson to study before the class and a PPT slide show the instructor uses during the class.  Each lesson will list Samples of Behavior (more commonly referred to as SOBs) which outlines what you need to know for the lesson.  There are two types of SOBs, cognitive and affective.  The ones you will need to study are the Cognitive SOBs.

The most effective way for you to study will hopefully be something you can determine and figure out for yourself.  One of the more successful study techniques for us was to copy/paste all SOBs into one document and read the lesson to answer the SOBs prior to class.  During class take notes of any key points given by the instructor, and prior to the test study it all.  You have to use personal strategy on how you prioritize your study.  Try to take a step back, think about what the Air Force or OTS thinks is most important, and concentrate your efforts accordingly.

Standardization

Your success in OTS is dependent on how well you work as a team with others, but not how you think.  Everyone wants to work together as a team.  Success is found by not how well you work as a team, but by how few distractions the team may have.  One such distraction is defined by the infamous word of “standardization.”  DO NOT OVER STANDARDIZE OTS.  I bring this up because while standardization is something you have to do to make the instructors happy, over-standardizing is a huge distraction to arguably more important matters in OTS such as academics.  I say this because as cadet leadership or flight positional leaders, standardization is something within your control.  Let people do what they need to do to take care of what they need to take care of in OTS.

This is hard to explain, so I will give you an example.  The academic leader for Flight 1 provides flight members with a list of all SOBs for the upcoming CWT.  All each person really needs to do is fill in the blanks and answer the questions.  There is no deadline given because the deadline is the CWT.  There is no double checking work because each person should be a person of integrity.  The academic leader for Flight 2 uses all SOBs to make a practice test for all flight members.  All flight members are told to take the test by a given deadline.  Flight members are then instructed to use the SOBs to make their own test and share their test with the fellow flight mates.  This flight will also be required to do a study session.  Which flight do you think will be more successful?

The key is not in the above methods, but in giving people the freedom to do what they need to do.  Provide enough direction and framework to ensure you have ownership of your realm of responsibility, but then let people do what people need to do.  This is what it means to be a leader.  Take ownership, but never stifle the talent or expertise of your subordinates.  I went off on a tangent so as you can see this is something I am very passionate about.

9 Comments

  1. Indeed Sir. I hope that passion taught your fellow Lieutenants a valuable lesson about leadership!

  2. After looking at “Graded Measurements” in the Syllabus, what specifically can we prep for? I will obviously start learning the SOBs for the CWT (thanks for your post!), but what about the two briefings/papers? Is there any way to find out the requirements for these ahead of time?

  3. There isn't really much to prepare for without having the grading guidelines. You won't be able to prep for the CWT until you get access to the curriculum at OTS. You won't be able to prep for the briefings or papers until you get access to the grading form on Blackboard. These are areas that you will just have to assess for yourself when you get there. Going in with an idea of what to expect will be a huge advantage as well because many won't have a clue.

  4. Thank you! I realized that the syllabus did not have the SOBs after I had already posted, and didn't know how to edit it.

    Either way, it helps to know what is in store for us!

  5. Cool, no worries. Glad it helps.

  6. Sir, I was wondering if you could elaborate as to how the HAWK is “tested.” I realize that it's not a graded measurement, but it seems to be stressed that we will have applicable portions memorized by TD*. I'm also seeing that the majority of HAWK material coincides with a lesson from Syllabus, which will be reviewed in class (Principles of War and Tenets of Air Power, Code of Conduct, etc). That being said, how exactly are we tested or questioned on the HAWK material? I understand that it serves as a foundation for us to grasp the actual “tested” material, but do the staff or MTIs ask us to recite the “Oath of Office” or “Chain of Command” at any point?

    Assuming that one has plenty of off time to study beforehand, will a cadet really have one less thing to worry about if they truly have the HAWK material memorized?

    Thanks in advance!

  7. Sure, I plan to do a post on it. The primary purpose of the HAWK is to provide you with foundational knowledge about the AF. What is the best way to learn about the principles of war in the classroom? Memorize the principles of war, then go into depth in the classroom about what they are and what they mean. You are tested on this concept at any given time when the staff ask you to call knowledge. There is a test about the HAWK called the SPT which I will go in to more depth on in a post.

    It could be said if you have one less thing to worry about if you memorize the entire HAWK, but keep in mind having to spout out knowledge on the spot is different than memorization.

  8. Sir, that clears up my suspicions. I look forward to said post! Thank you, as always!

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