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What Is a Board of Review?

What Is a BOR?

It Is Not the Same as a Scoutmaster Conference

Previously I wrote about the Scoutmaster Conference. Another Scouts BSA rank advancement requirement which causes some anxiety for the Scouts (and their parents) is the board of review. Scouts should understand that a board of review is not the same as a Scoutmaster Conference but just with more people.  It is also important for the Committee members sitting on the board of review to understand what they are supposed to be doing.

Typical Boards of Review

When a Scout has completed all of the requirements for a rank, he or she must appear before a board of review. A board of review for the ranks of Tenderfoot through Life consists of three to six members of the troop committee. A board of review for the rank of Eagle Scout is determined by local policy. It can be comprised of a combination of troop committee members and district or council representatives, or it might be completely comprised of district or council personnel.

Troops might also hold a board of review with a Scout who is not advancing or who is having some other difficulty within the troop.

It Is Not a Retest

An advancement BOR usually lasts about 15 minutes. It is important not to rush the Scout. The BOR should sit where they can have an uninterrupted discussion. A BOR can feel pretty intimidating to a Scout, so try to make him or her feel welcome and at ease. Ask open ended questions, rather than yes or no questions, to encourage more complete answers from the Scout.

An advancement BOR is not a retest of requirements. The board may ask questions to determine if requirements were met though. So a BOR would not ask a Scout to make a camp gadget using lashings. Instead, they might say ‘Tell me about the camp gadget you made.”

Talk about the Scout Oath and Scout Law. Give the Scout the opportunity to tell how he or she has lived these recently. Offer some praise when the Scout gives an example or two. This is also a good opportunity to help the Scout plan to achieve his or her next rank. What still needs to be accomplished for First Class or which youth leadership position is he or she interested in? Ask about interests and suggest some merit badges along those lines.

The Decision

At the end of the advancement BOR, the Scout should be asked to step out for a few minutes. Discuss the Scout’s achievements. Don’t keep the Scout waiting too long. In most cases you will then congratulate him or her for being qualified for the rank. On the (hopefully) rare occasion where it is determined that the Scout hasn’t completed all of the requirements, explain specifically what still needs to be done and offer plenty of encouragement.

Related Resources for Scouts BSA Board of Review

Board of Review Questions 1

Board of Review Questions

You may be wondering about the questions to ask during a Scout’s Board of Review. It’s essential to understand that the review is a conversation, not an interrogation. Start with easy questions to put the Scout at ease, such as their rank and patrol details. Ask open-ended questions about their Scouting experiences and future goals within the troop. You can also inquire about their thoughts on the troop’s program and encourage their involvement in planning activities. Tailor the questions based on the individual Scout’s experiences and achievements, and if you need more ideas, there are lists of sample questions available for each rank, from Tenderfoot to Eagle Scout.

What Is Scout Spirit

What Is Scout Spirit?

Scout spirit is an important aspect of Scouts BSA ranks, and it involves living the Scout Oath and Scout Law in everyday life. It goes beyond just attending meetings and outings; it’s about incorporating the ideals of Scouting into various aspects of a Scout’s life, such as at home, school, and in the community.

Evaluating Scout spirit requires getting to know the Scout and asking thoughtful questions to understand how they have demonstrated these values. Scouts can provide specific examples of their actions, like being kind to classmates or trustworthy while babysitting siblings. They can also discuss times when they found it challenging and reflect on how they can improve in the future. Demonstrating Scout spirit is about personal growth and living the principles of Scouting beyond the Scout uniform.

Board of Review Training

This BSA training module will help you understand the dos and don’ts of a BOR. It will will train troop committee members and others in the purposes of the Board of Review, offering suggestions for the types of questions that can or should be asked.

Frequently Asked Questions about Scouts BSA Board of Review

What is the purpose of a Board of Review?

A Board of Review is a meeting held after a scout completes the requirements for a rank (except Scout rank). Its purpose is to determine the quality of the scout’s experience and verify if the rank requirements have been fulfilled. If successful, the board approves the scout’s advancement and encourages them to pursue the next rank.

Can a Scout be denied a Board of Review?

No, a Scout cannot be denied the opportunity for a Board of Review. If the Scout believes they have completed all the requirements for a rank, including a Scoutmaster conference, the board must be granted.

Who should not be part of a Board of Review?

Parents, guardians, or relatives should not serve on a board for their own child. Also, unit leaders and assistants should not be part of a board of review for a Scout in their unit. The candidate or their parent/guardian/relative should not have a role in selecting any board of review members.

Is wearing the uniform necessary for a Board of Review?

While it is preferred that a Scout be in full field uniform for the review, they should be clean and neat in appearance if wearing the uniform is not possible.

What should be discussed during the Board of Review?

Board members may ask the Scout about where they learned their skills, who their teachers were, and what they gained from fulfilling certain requirements. The discussion should include how the Scout has lived the Scout Oath and Scout Law in different aspects of their life. It’s important to note that perfection is not expected, but a positive attitude, acceptance of Scouting’s ideals, and good standards in daily life are valued.

What happens after the Board of Review?

If the board members agree unanimously that the Scout is ready to advance, they will call the Scout in and congratulate them. The board of review date becomes the effective date of the rank advancement. If the board does not approve, the Scout will be informed and provided with feedback on what can be improved. They may have the opportunity for a follow-up board of review if it is believed they can benefit from it.

Can videoconferencing be used for Boards of Review?

In exceptional cases, such as communicable diseases or Scouts in remote locations, videoconferencing may be used for Boards of Review. Specific requirements must be followed, and approval from the local council is required for Eagle Scout boards of review conducted via videoconferencing.


5 responses to “What Is a Board of Review?”

  1. christine Avatar

    One of the things we do on our committee is we ask the boys specific items about the rank they’ve completed without retesting (what was your favorite part? what did you find the hardest? you had to do 6 hours of community service, what did you do and what did you think of it?)

    we ask “as a committee, what would you like to see US help the troop with?”

    we ask “what do you think the troop is doing great with, and how do you think the troop can improve?” this gives boys who maybe haven’t spoken up about concerns in front of the troop or in front of the scoutmaster because the troop is really big or they are shy.

    we ask about merit badges they’ve achieved, which was their favorite, which didn’t they like, what didn’t they like. what advice they would give younger scouts working on this rank.

    and we ask what they are looking forward to in the next rank. what they want to do next.

    i like the way we do it — there is no retesting, no skill test. we love letting the boys talk about their experience, and i have to say that this is such a blessing for me to be part of, and i look forward to each one i get to do.


  2. Gloria Avatar

    When a scout comes to a BOR for Star, Life or Eagle rank I like to ask the scout to tell me about a current event (any current event). By the time they reach these ranks they should realized part of their “duty to country” is to be a good citizen and that means they need to be informed about something going on around them. This is not something that will keep them from getting rank, but is something they should be able to give some kind of answer to. If not, I tell them that is alright, but when they come to their next BOR be ready to share a current event then.

  3. DON COFFEY Avatar

    I have this poster signed by NORMAN ROCKWELL, with a dedication to Troop 9
    Morganton,N C It has been in my home since the ’40s.
    I’m trying to find the source of the poster and date of publication. Any help or input will be appreciated.

  4. acco40 Avatar

    You state a scout is ready for a BOR once all the requirements have been met for rank (When a Scout has completed all of the requirements for a rank, he must appear before a board of review.)

    Yet, you state that “On the (hopefully) rare occasion where it is determined that he hasn’t completed all of the requirements, tell him specifically what he still needs to do and offer him plenty of encouragement.”

    So how does a BOR determine a requirement has not been completed?

    1. Scouter Mom Avatar
      Scouter Mom

      For example, if the BOR asks “Did you enjoy cooking a meal for your patrol” and the scout replies that he didn’t cook a meal, but it was signed off anyway.

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