PFT or PRT, that is the question!

Cadet Command asks all Army ROTC scholarship applicants to take a Presidential Fitness test (PFT). Bottom line, end of statement, no more follows. In the past I had a different outlook on this requirement, and a couple years ago I was giving different advice with regards to this requirement. I have come to realize that taking the PFT is the way to go. My advice is counter to what many other school are advocating. Here is what I recommend and why. Take the PFT, not the Army Phsical Fitness Test (APFT), and don’t submit your Cadet Fitness Assessment (CFA) score in leau of the PFT.
This is what the letter Cadet Command will send you says:

1. You must complete a Presidential Physical Fitness Test. Please go to the website for information on how this test is conducted and to retrieve the score card. A Physical Education Teacher, any athletic coach,
or any JROTC instructor may administer this test. We only request the student be tested in the events for curl-ups, push-ups, and the 1 mile run. You can get a printable scorecard at Under the ROTC Scholarship section, click on “ROTC Physical Assessment Scorecard”.

One of the 10K races at Bagram in 2003

Many schools will ask you to take the APFT for them when you conduct your interview. Eventually you will have to take the APFT to validate your scholarship.In the past I recommended that you take the APFT instead of the PFT, but I have come to realize that wasn’t the best advice. A couple things to think about regarding the PFT vs. the APFT:

The PFT is easier and your scores will be higher.
An APFT score may be confused with your PFT score by the board members. They may be wondering why it took you 14 minutes to run 1 mile, when you actually ran two miles.
Cadet Command asks you to take a PFT.

If you choose to send in a CFA score, again the CFA involves more events and may be slightly harder. The other thing sending in a CFA does is indicate that Army ROTC is your backup plan. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but if I have two applicants and I have do decide which one gets the scholarship, and all things are equal except one wants to come to my school, and one really wants to be at West Point who do you think I’m going to offer the scholarship to?

Cadets take an APFT multiple times each semester. You’ll get your chance to take the APFT

Yesterday I had an applicant call to ask me about the test he took at a different school. They had him take a full APFT, but they only sent in the scores for the first minute of each event. Let’s think about that for a second. First off the sit up is different from the curl up, which is the required exercise for the PFT. Second of all, If I told you that I was going to score your ability to perform push ups and sit ups for one minute and then run one mile, but I was also going to have you do an additioal minute of each exercise before you did the next one would that make it a little harder and reduce your scores? You bet it would.

Why am I telling you this. I am suggesting to you that you follow the instructions and get a gym teacher or coach to give you a PFT. If you want an ROTC program to give you the test ask them to give you the PFT. IF they tell you they want you to take an APFT I would tell them you’d be happy to, but you’ll get your gym teacher or coach to submit your PFT scores as required. And feel free to refer the ROO to this post if she/he has questions. I’m not the expert, but I think this one is a no brainer.


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