What is an Army promotion board like?

What happens at the Army promotion board? What is an Army promotion board like? You may wish you had a detailed guide about the sequence of events for an Army promotion board. While each Army promotion board will be different, they generally will follow a basic outline.


On the day of the Army promotion board, all Soldiers will gather into an area and wait for the president of the board to call them in. The president will instruct all of the attendees and their sponsors to enter all at once and how to line up in front of the board. Depending on the number of candidates and available space, the sponsors will be standing behind their soldiers.

The president will brief the soldiers and their sponsors on what is expected of them. This is also a great time for the president to verify if the attendees are prepared. The president may ask to see shoulder boards, name plate under the jacket, gig line, length of the tie, I.D. card, and I.D. tags.

Usually the president of the board will lay out the scheduled times candidates will appear before the board. This could vary greatly between Army promotion boards. Sometimes E-6 candidates will go first, sometimes they will go last. Sometimes certain Soldiers will be front loaded based on mission demands. Most likely it will be some sort of alphabetical order or whatever order the president of the board received the board packets.


Everyone will be waiting outside of the board room for their turn to appear before the board. When it’s your turn to enter, the recorder (S-1 soldier who assists with the board) will call in the sponsor. The sponsor will discuss their assigned soldier’s achievements and reasons for being recommended for promotion or attendance to the board.

After the sponsor is finished, the recorder will come inform the candidate (you) that they can knock in about 10 seconds. The recorder will shut the door and take a seat.

After the 10 seconds is up, you will knock hard and loud 3 times and wait for the president of the board to yell, “Enter”. Open the door then close the door behind you and proceed directly in front of the president of the board. Standing approximately an arms length away from the board table at the position of attention, render a hand salute and say, “SPC/SGT ______________ reporting to the president of the board”. It is extremely important that you do not begin your introduction until your hand salute is in the proper position. After the president of the board fully drops his or her salute, then you may drop yours.

Once the hand salute is complete, the president may initiate the board by asking you a few introductory questions such as “How are you?”, “Are you nervous?”, or “When was your last PT test?”. After the hand salute there will be a quick transition into facing movements.

The president will then ask you to execute some facing movements. The purpose of facing movements is to position the soldier in front of the board members so they can see the uniform for inspection and to identify deficiencies. Board members are also watching to see how the Soldier performs drill and ceremony (DNC). If you make a mistake, such as go left when you were instructed to go right, executive your facing movement and then await further instruction. The entire board is a test of your military bearing – do NOT let anything fluster you.

Board members will usually make comments to each other during this time. Board members may even make comments such as “Collar brass is filthy” or “That is definitely measured wrong”. Do not speak unless spoken to! Sometimes you are messed up and other times they are testing your bearing – either way, it is too late to fix anything at that time. The president will then ask you to identify the chair and take a seat. Follow all instructions and remember to not speak unless spoken to.


Take your seat in the chair and sit at the seated position of attention. The president will ask for you to explain a little bit about yourself and include a few short and long-term goals. This is a simple, but crucial part of the board. If you did not rehearse your biography, it will show. If you came prepared, it will also show.

You will need to discuss at a minimum where you are from, when you joined the Army, why you joined the Army, what you have done in the Army, and your short and long-term goals. The president may ask a few questions about the Soldier’s biography and then transition into the Army board questions.

Board Questions

Every board member will proceed to ask questions and will cover ALL the subjects listed in the MOI. There will be roughly 3 questions per subject. If the questions are answered correctly, the board members may try to ask a difficult question or they will simply proceed to the next topic.

Board members are not there to try and fail Soldiers. Board members have plenty of experience and may think the Soldier has the answer and will often ask the question in a different way or pose a scenario to help the Soldier out.

An example of the question would be: “SPC Jones, what ADP covers Army Leadership?” the Soldier’s response should be, “1SG, the ADP that covers Army Leadership is ADP 6-22”. If you do not know the answer to the question you can say, “1SG, I do not know the answer to that question at this time”. If you know the regulation that covers the answer, but not the specifics of the answer themselves, give a partial answer. For example, “1SG, I do not know how many types of offensive tasks there are, but I would consult ADP 3-90 to determine that answer.”

Unit History/Creeds/Current Events

Depending on your unit, this section will occur before the board questions. Knowing your unit history, especially why you have certain unit badges on your uniform is important and should be taken into account when studying for the board. You should also be able to explain the symbolism on your unit’s crest at a minimum. NCOs who have passed the board at your unit can provide you with more detail about what types of unit history questions to expect.

The soldier’s creed, NCO creed, and any unit creeds will be recited. The NCO creed is vital for every Soldier attending any board. If you are a junior enlisted soldier attending a competition board, it will get you a ton of credibility with the board members and you will need to know it for the promotion board anyway. If you are attending the promotion board and cannot recite the NCO Creed, you’ll be attending the board again next month. (Check out our Creeds/Songs page.) A few questions about current events will be asked to test your knowledge on what is going on around the world (Check out our Current Events (As of 27 OCT 17) and be prepared!)

Conclusion and Dismissal

After the president is finished with his questions, you will most likely be asked if you have any questions for the board members or anything you would like to say. If there is nothing further, the president will say, “SPC Jones, you are dismissed”. This is your cue to stand up and walk up to the president to render a hand salute while stating the unit motto. The president will return the hand salute. After the hand salute you are free to make your way to the door. Your sponsor may stay behind for a minute or so to receive feedback from the board members. Depending on your unit’s SOP, the president may call everyone back in after all of the boards to announce who was promoted or who won the competition. Additionally, they may inform you on the spot if you are recommended for promotion.

So now that you have an idea of what an Army promotion board is like, you need to study! Use this website as your Army promotion board study guide. Content is updated regularly and there are plenty of practice Army board questions and answers. Be sure to also check out our Leader’s Blog for more in-depth questions and helpful tips & advice.



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