The dreaded PT test

PT test

The PT test gives cadets and applicants much anxiety, and results in many questions so I thought I’d talk about the PT test today.  As an applicant you have the option of taking the Presidential Fitness Test (PFT) or the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).  I haven’t determined if there is an advantage or disadvantage to taking either one.  The PFT is the easier of the two (1 minute of pushups and curl ups, and a one mile run vs. 2 minutes of pushups and full sit ups, and a 2 mile run), but the PFT is not a test you will ever take again.  You need to pass the APFT to entry level standards to validate your scholarship, and pass the PT test to Army standards to  retain your scholarship, and eventually stay in the Army.  The APFT is the test soldiers take twice a year, every year.  In my mind, if I was evaluating applicants a decent APFT score would be more meaningful than a PFT score.  When applicants come to interview with the Golden Knight Battalion I usually ask them to take an APFT as part of the interview. [NOTE: I have changed my thinking on the subject of PFT vs. APFTread the post] I’m not looking for a pass or fail, just a relative level of fitness.

So let’s talk a little bit about the standards.  The pushup is a fairly well understood exercise, but we are looking for it to be done in a particular way.  The hands should be approximately shoulder width apart, and the body should be in a relatively straight line from feet to shoulders.  When the exercise is done right the upper body is lowered until the upper arm is parallel to the ground, and then the upper body is raised until the arms are locked out.  Resting is authorized, but arms and feet must remain in contact with the ground.

The sit up is done with the legs bent at a 90 degree angle, and the hands clasped behind the head.  Correct execution is when the upper body is raised until the base of the neck is above the base of the spine, and then the body is lowered down until the shoulder blades touch the ground.  Resting is only authorized in the up position, and you cannot bounce your butt to give you momentum.

The two mile run is just that…running two miles.  If you are preparing for a PT test nothing prepares you better for this event than running 2 miles.  Don’t tell me you run 20 minutes on the treadmill or bike 10 miles each day and should have no problems with the run.  Nothing replaces getting out and running!

What is a good score?  Cadets are required to pass with 60 points on each event. For a typical male freshman that means 42 pushups, 53 situps, and 2 miles in 15:54.  For a Female its 19 pushups, 53 situps, and 2 miles in 18:54.  This should not be that hard.  A new cadet, or basic trainee is required to score at least 50 points on each event.  As age goes up scoring changes, and as a future Army Officer minimums should not be the concern.  You should be tracking what it takes to max the test.

Here are a few websites that will help you prepare for the Physical Requirements of ROTC.


  1. If you find this posting helpful please share it. If you can post a link to it on discussion boards more people will find their way to it. I’m kind of proud of the simple explanation I put together, so please share!!

  2. Hi, i find this information very helpful but i do have one question.
    if i can do 30 pushups in one minute and 50 situps in two (30 situps in a min), would that get me a 4yr scholarship given that i pass the 2 mile run?

    1. Hakeem,

      The standards for the APFT are 42 pushups in two minutes, 53 situps in two minutes, and run 2 miles in under 15:54. If you can only do 30 pushups or 50 situps you won’t meet the standards. Keep in mind also that this is not the only requirement to receive a scholaship. You have to receive a scholarship offer for us to even care if you can pass the PT test out of high school. If you come to college and enroll in ROTC without a scholarship, physical training will be one aspect of your ROTC classes.

      Hope that makes sense.

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