902 Health and Training

Michael talks about being in the army and how health decides what you do.


Clare: So did you have a choice about what sort of job you were going to have in the military?

Mike: No we don't. Once you enlist you have to go through a ... what do you call ... a health medical check up and you'll be given grade A to F. If you get an F you don't have to serve in the military. And grade A and B you have to, and for grade I think C you have to but you'll be given a clerical job mostly.

Clare: Is there ... can you say how exactly the classification works or is it just the medical people who decide this?

Mike: For example, for a grade C personnel you might have things like a ... what do you call a "ligament laxity" which means it is easy for you to get sprains, ankle sprains or back injuries or stuff like that. And you might have in the past, if you have sweaty palms, that might pass you as grade C because you can't through a grenade but now they don't take that excuse anymore. Another thing is if you're ... if you have a history of asthma attacks ...

Clare: Well I can see why they would not want people who have asthma being a soldier ...

Mike: Right, but if you're obese, that doesn't qualify you for grade C because if you're overweight what they make you to do is spend an extra two months for Basic Military Training

Clare: Ouch..

Mike: ... or what we term as BMT, so for the average Private, or actually recruit, you have to do three months for BMT ...

Clare: Ouch ...

Mike: ... but for obese personnel you have to do up to five months ... so the extra two months is a lot of training, especially cardio training.

Clare: Do you know anyone who had to go through five months of BMT?

Mike: Both of my cousins ... and quite a lot of my friends actually, because Singaporean diet is actually ... yeah, I'll just leave it as that.

Clare: So I imagine if many Americans had to go through that training program, I know I probably would have to take the five months.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


You have to go through a health medical check-up.

We use the word 'medical' to talk about things related to doctors, medicine, and the treatment of health problems.  Note the following:

  1. You need a medical certificate to show you were sick if you miss work due to illness.
  2. The hospital has many kinds of medical instruments.


You'll be given a clerical job.

Anything clerical involves data entry, documents, files; things like that.  Note the following:

  1. My membership was canceled because of a clerical error.
  2. New employees do mainly clerical work when they first join the company.


It is easy for you to get sprains, ankle sprains.

A sprain is an injury most often caused by a sudden unnatural movement.  Note the following:

  1. She sprained her ankle playing volleyball.
  2. He has a slight sprain on his wrist from playing tennis.


For obese personnel you have to do extra training.

The word 'personnel' means people in a company or an organization.  Note the following:

  1. That company has personnel from all over the world.
  2. Most of the personnel in that department speak at least two languages.

I'll just leave it as that

The Singaporean diet is not perfect. I'll just leave it as that.

We use the phrase 'I'll just leave it at that' when we don't wish to say any more about a negative topic.  Note the following:

  1. My spouse and I are spending the holidays away from each other. I'll just leave it at that.
  2. His work is not to our standards. I'll just leave it at that.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
medical • clerical • sprained
 personnel • leave it at that
  1. She started at this company in a position.
  2. We don't really agree.  I'll just .
  3. The decreased number of at the office means everyone has to work harder.
  4. He his ankle playing sand volleyball.
  5. She wants to work in a field as either a doctor or a nurse.