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Part 4 Board How to get promoted to SGT in the Army

Updated: Aug 27, 2022

You're tired of getting told what to do, working in the motorpool, want more money, want to make a difference, or all of the above. It's time to work towards promotion and here you will find out where to start and what you need to do to get promoted in the Army.

Here in part 4 we are going to discuss the board. This applies to both the Soldier of the Month (SOM) Board as well as the Promotion Board. Here is my advice to you for preparing for the board.

1. Volunteer for SOM board. In preparation for the promotion board, I recommend that you volunteer for and attend as many SOM boards as possible. This will do several things for your. First off, the SOM board is usually more difficult than the promotion board because it's a competition and there's a good chance that the leadership doesn't know you so you have to impress them with your performance. The topics and board members for the promotion board and the SOM board are usually the same so it is great practice to get insight as to what they will ask and how.

You will get face time with the leadership (outside of COVID restrictions) which can be extremely helpful when it comes to the promotion board. If you win, you might receive an award or certificate worth promotion points depending on your unit. If you win you are usually put in to compete in the Soldier of the Quarter (SOQ) board. If you win the SOQ board, this usually gets you an Army Achievement Medal (AAM). When you win these boards, the promotion board members will usually know about it. The more practice you get in the boards, the more confident and comfortable you will be in the promotion board.

2. Begin studying. There are many places you can go to study for the board. The first and most recommended by most leadership is straight in the regulation. Get your hands on the Memorandum of Instruction (MOI). This will generally tell you who is attending, who the board members are, the appropriate uniform, board events, and board topics. This is one of the most important things to get your hands on prior to going to the board. This lets you know what you are going to do and what you need to know.

For study references, the regulation is the best place to go because you have NCOs that like to make it difficult and make sure that you have studied more than the questions on a website or the questions from the last board. The best websites that I have used personally and have recommended to others are Army ADP (for topic relevance) and Army Study Guide (for board procedures and tips). There is also Army Board Questions which does include study material for the Sergeant Audie Murphy Association (SAMA). Board members pull questions from these websites too.

3. Make sure your uniform is good to go. Take your dress uniform to the dry cleaners and have it freshly cleaned. Some dry cleaners will put your awards and decorations back on your uniform for a fee. I have used this service several times mainly to save time. I have always had to make a few tweaks here and there to make it right but it saves a large chunk of time just getting everything on. There are all sorts of guides and books that give you quick tips and tricks to putting your uniform together but I don't use any of them. I personally pull up DA Pam 670-1 every single time to and follow the directions right in the regulation to put my uniform together. I download the PDF and highlight or put comments near the pertinent parts of the regulation that I use every time as a quick reference so it takes a simple click to get to the item I want. This makes the assembly very quick and efficient. This also allows me to go head to head with a board member when they ask why I put my uniform together the way I did. This isn't very common but there are times that board members are wrong. Always check Army Pubs for the most up to date uniform guidance and regulations.

4. Make sure your records are up to date. For a much more comprehensive guide on what to look for on your SRB/ERB check our blog. You will also want to make sure that your counseling packet and/or board packet is updated. Gaps in counseling, a messed up SRB, or missing documents will affect your overall recommendation from the board members.

5. Know board procedures. There are several board customs, courtesies, and procedures that people don't understand. Board members will intentionally do things to see if they can break your concentration, confidence, or bearing. For more tips about board procedures and things you can practice or study to be more competitive and stand out from your peers, search our blog.

6. Prepare your biography. You should prepare a board biography (bio) and be prepared to give it towards the beginning of your board process. Keep it short, clear, and concise. Tell them about 1 major accomplishment per position or assignment if any, let them know your family situation, and assignments. Tailor your bio every place you go and when you go to a new position. Keep it short enough for you to easily remember and recite when sitting nervously in front of the board members. Here is a sample.

Sample SGT Bio
Download DOCX • 14KB

If you master these steps, you should have no problem passing the board and getting one step closer to becoming a Noncommissioned Officer (NCO). One more tip, don't say you are excited to be an E-5. That is a pay grade, not a rank and many NCOs will correct you.

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