Dan: Being a guy who preped for SFAS I can tell you that land navigation is the #1 killer for candidates outside out VW. Spent 1.5 years training for it, and 2 days before I went to the EFMB I got notified that I was getting kicked out because of RCP. No incentive to get E-5 in a hospital when you hold no authority and everything is PC. Wanted to do the EFMB before going to SFAS because I would get more hands on with land navigation. But I digress.
Do what I did, take Army correspondence courses for land navigation once you get in, or better yet, sign up for 18X where they send you to SFAS preparation course where they teach you all of it in advance. SFAS prep course isnt available for people already in the military, they have to train themselves before coming.
Don't do what I did, train for over a year for it and ignore promotion boards.
So you're best bet is to join as 18X because of the higher pass rate due to the SFAS prep course, not to mention you don't need to go thru the hassle of a packet by yourself, you'll have your recruiter help.
It's a 5-point course that could easily see you traversing ~20 miles in one go. All in the lovely terrain of Fort Bragg
In SFAS, candidates do the star course. Which is literally just each point makes a star shape about 5-15 km apart each.
In what regards. Land Nav is Land Nav. Guys in SF read the map the same way everyone else does.
You use a compass and a map so you don't get lost.