The ROTC fitness test carries varying weights in selection for an ROTC scholarship. In this post, we’ll break down each Service’s ROTC scholarship fitness test, the emphasis they each put on the test, how it is scored, and ways and resources you can use to improve your score. You can also listen to our recent podcast on the ROTC fitness test at the bottom of this post.

We’ll start out first with the Navy ROTC- Marine Corps option—the program which puts the most emphasis on the fitness test.

You can also jump to each ROTC program’s fitness test here:

Don’t forget that in addition to your fitness test, you will also be required to maintain certain ROTC physical requirements (you must fall within certain weight limits, or meet body fat/ body mass index standards). Learn about ROTC scholarship physical requirements here.

Navy ROTC- Marine Corps Option

When competing for a Marine Corps Option ROTC Scholarship, candidates take the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test (PFT).

Events in the Marine Corps PFT

The Marine Corps ROTC Scholarship Physical Fitness Test is made up of these three events:

  • “Dead-hang” pull-ups to exhaustion
  • 2 minutes of timed plank
  • A three-mile run

Note: The Marine Corps ROTC eliminated push ups and crunches as an option for candidates.

Where is the Marine Corps PFT for ROTC candidates taken?

The test is normally given at a local Marine Corps recruiting station when applicants are initially processed for the scholarship.

How much does the PFT impact your chances of earning an ROTC scholarship?

It is estimated that the fitness test is worth 30% of the overall weight for the scholarship. In fact, applicants cannot proceed with the final processing of the application which includes the interview, unless they pass the test.

Average Test Scores

For Male scholarship awardees, the average PFT score was 270. For Females, it was 262.

In order to calculate your score (minus the timed plank), you can use the Marine Corps PFT Calculator.

Marine Corps ROTC PFT Scoring

The abbreviated scoring chart for both males and females for the timed plank is:

TimePlank Points

Army ROTC Scholarship

The Presidential Fitness Test is the standard for this scholarship. Candidates will perform one minute of push-ups, one minute of curl-ups, and a one-mile run. The test can be conducted by a variety of individuals but is usually done by a physical education teacher.

The test is worth 10% of the overall point total for the scholarship and is also a subjective consideration of the board score.

In order to “max” the test, males need to score 50/50/6:30 (push-ups/curl-ups/run). Female max is 40/50/7:18.

Air Force ROTC Scholarship

The Air Force Fitness Test, known as the Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) is the same as given to members of the Air Force. It is conducted by a high school official such as a gym teacher or coach. It is a one-minute timed event for both pushups and sit-ups and a 1.5-mile run. The instructional scorecard is found on the electronic application.

The test is worth 5% of the overall point total for the scholarship. In order to “max” the test, males need to score 67/58/9:12 (push-ups/curl-ups/run). Female max is 47/54/10:23

A candidate should concentrate on improving their run time over push-ups or sit-ups as it counts for six times more in the composite score than either push-ups or sit-ups.

Read more on Air Force ROTC physical requirements.

The NROTC Applicant Fitness Assessment (AFA) is the test of record for the scholarship.

Events in the NROTC Applicant Fitness Assessment

The Navy ROTC AFA is made up of these three events:

  • Timed plank
  • Two minutes of timed push-ups
  • A 1-mile run.

Note: The Navy eliminated crunches as an option for candidates to utilize instead of the plank.

Who can administer the NROTC AFA?

The Applicant Fitness Assessment can be conducted by a high school official such as a gym teacher or coach.

Importance of the Applicant Fitness Assessment

The AFA is subjectively worth approximately 5% of the overall criteria for awarding a scholarship.

Navy ROTC AFA Fitness Scoring

Maximum NROTC Applicant Fitness Assessment Scores

EventMale Max ScoreFemale Max Score
Timed Plank3:243:14
1-Mile Run5:206:00

NROTC states that an applicant who achieves the maximum level on either of the first two events should not attempt further repetitions, as this will not improve his/her score.

Scoring for the Navy ROTC AFA Plank Event

Performance LevelPlank PointsMale TimeFemale Time

How to Improve on the Fitness Test

There are many sites that provide good advice on how to prepare for the fitness test. The best way to prepare for the test is to practice the actual exercises under timed conditions.

Another great resource is the services of Stew Smith. He is a former Navy Lieutenant (SEAL) who graduated from the United States Naval Academy and Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training. He has been personally training, testing, and writing workout books and ebooks that prepare people to ace fitness tests for over 25 years. Consult his website at for more information.

Overall, doing well on the fitness test is a key component in winning an ROTC scholarship. As you can see from this post, the different ROTC programs put more or less emphasis on the test. Understanding the standards of the test as well as practicing under timed conditions and following a workout plan from an expert such as Stew Smith can help you improve.

We wish you the best of luck with your application!

Listen to our premium podcast episode on the ROTC fitness test here! In this episode, with military fitness expert and former Navy SEAL Stew Smith, we looks at what a candidate needs to do in order to do well on this test.

Want to maximize your potential of earning an ROTC Scholarship?

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LTC Robert Kirkland

Lieutenant Colonel Robert Kirkland (USA, Ret.) is an expert on military admissions and leadership. He served for over 25 years in the United States Army, including stints as an instructor at West Point and as a commander of two Army ROTC programs. He has helped students win ROTC scholarships for 8 years.

Want to maximize your potential of earning an ROTC Scholarship?