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Getting Ready for OCS

There are only two paths to launch your career as a United States Marine Corps Officer: the United States Naval Academy or Officer Candidates School (OCS). For those who take the traditional college route, the OCS path is what they must take to earn their commission. This can take them through the Platoon Leader's Course, Officer Candidate's Course, or Navy ROTC, but all roads lead to the same grounds at Brown's Field aboard MCB Quantico in Virginia. No matter the program, candidates who train at OCS each have certain steps they can take to be best prepared to tackle their training.

Physical Fitness

Marine Corps Officer Candidates School (OCS) is one of the toughest schools in the entire Department of Defense, and the physical fitness requirements are one of the primary reasons for this. Physical fitness is measured through a PFT or CFT, and it is one of the most important metrics used to measure a candidate's ability to serve as a Marine Officer. Bare minimum is not enough to graduate from the course. Prior to shipping, OSOs and MOIs will expect candidates to be performing at least a first-class PFT and CFT. Additionally, a candidate should be able to complete an obstacle course and hike at least nine miles with a combat load. Quickly.

To prepare, Candidates should run, hike, and complete body-weight exercises as much as possible. If you can, running a PFT and CFT in regular time intervals to gage where you stand is key to understanding your progress and how you will match up to your peers once you arrive at training. That said, you must not forget to complete proper recovery after workouts. Stretching, appropriate dieting, and rest should be a regular part of your routine to prevent injury and maximize the gains you have achieved.

Military Knowledge

The Marine Corps expects academic proficiency from candidates in basic military topics before they can graduate OCS. Staff will test candidates' proficiency through numerous multiple-choice tests conducted throughout the training cycle. To best prepare for these, it is best candidates indoctrinate themselves in as much basic military knowledge as possible. Navy and Marine Corps ranks (officer and enlisted), general Marine Corps History, M16 information, and five-paragraph order are each good topics to start with.

Everything Else

So there are a ton of things to cover in preparation for OCS, Fitness and Knowledge. Here we give you a quick note of things you may want to prep for before OCS.

Finances. Get your bank accounts, car note, cell phone bill, and other recurring expenses set for your absence. At some point you will have access to your cell phone, but these are not the things you need to be worried about.

Relationships. Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Spouse, Kids. Prepare them all for your absence. Much like Recruits, you will be able to write letters to your loved ones. However, unlike Recruits, you will eventually get access to your phones. Prepare everyone from home for a slow response from you, and make sure they understand the rigorous journey you are about to endure. They also need to know you cannot spend all of your free time writing letters or on the phone. You have to do laundry, study, and rest with that time as well.

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Key Training Events
Sergeant Instructors
Pre-OCS Checklist
Basic Daily Routine
Eating at OCS
Living in the Squadbay
5 Paragraph Order
Getting Ready
What Can I Bring with Me?
Staying in Touch
PT Plans
OCS Knowledge
Knowledge Check
Family Day
Pro Tips
The Rumor Mill
Counseling Call
Honor Grad Principles
Reading Materials
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