Passing a Beep Test for the Australian Defence Force is the BIGGEST stressor for the majority of applicants. Based on the 2500 applicants we've successfully trained for the ADF, we've put together our best TIPS and GUIDANCE to help you pass.
Remember, even with the best tips in the world, the ability to pass a Beep Test comes down to 2 things:
1. The right fitness program
2. Consistent effort in training.
Keen to learn how you can improve your Beep Test Score for the Australian Defence Force? Keep reading and learn exactly how.
WHAT IS THE BEEP TEST
To the majority of Australian Defence Force applicants, the answer to this is obvious. Run back and forth when you hear the beeps until you hit the pass mark. However, there's heaps more too it so let's dive in and learn!
The beep test is a series of 20-metre shuttle runs that progress through different levels. The higher the levels go, the closer together the beeps become. In order to pass you need to reach the other end of the 20m shuttle before the next beep, turn around, do it again until you hit the pass mark or you can't make the end of the 20m shuttle before the next beep. The test begins at a level that will allow for closer to walking speed and by the end you'll be at a sub maximal pace that is close to a sprint.
So why would you need to train for this?
Simple. Without practice, the Beep Test will be hard. However with the RIGHT practice, you will be able to pass without the added stress.
WHAT LEVEL DO I NEED TO PASS?
In order to operate at an elite capacity, the ADF has a requirement for you to be physically fit. To successfully obtain the job you are applying for, you must tick off an additional job criteria- Pass a PFA.
This baseline level of fitness exists as a way of proving to the Australian Defence Force that you can cope with the high physical demands of basic training and also as a means of protecting you from becoming injured. By ensuring that your body is conditioned to a certain standard, it shows that you can handle whatever comes your way whilst at basic training or officer training.
As you continue to progress throughout your career within the ADF, high fitness standards are imperative in allowing you to effectively carry out the tasks required of you within your job both in barracks and on operations.
As it stands now, the PFA requirements for the ADF for each service are listed below. (This is subject to change so always check the Defence Jobs website for the most up to date and accurate minimum passing standards).
Males- 6.1 (age dependant)
Females- 5.5 (age dependant)
Army PFAs are now divided into two categories- combat/officer and combat support roles:
Combat Roles/Officer Entry- 7.5
Combat Support Roles- 6.1
All Genders- 5.5
All Genders- 10.1
BEEP TEST DISTANCE
The beep test you will complete at your PFA is based off 20m shuttle runs. This distance will be measured out ahead of the assessment and will be clearly marked out with coloured markers. You are required to continue running until you obtain the pass mark, however many recruiting centres will allow you to continue to your maximum capacity (you should definitely do this!). You should always continue running until the recruiting staff tell you to stop.
Despite the short overall window of time that you'll be running for, the beep test is still draining. As the beeps become progressively faster and you become more fatigued, you'll essentially have less time to get to the end of the 20m shuttle. This is usually when a negative mindset creeps in and has the potential to destroy an applicants passing potential. Ensuring you have trained correctly and can back yourself going into the test will assist in pushing through this headspace.
BEEP TEST RESULTS
Many applicants like to know the progressive time and distance that they'll be running for during their beep test. Although this distance isn't relevant to the overall result, it's still interesting to know.
If you meet the standards for the following scores then your results will translate like this:
Running for a total of 4 minutes and 19 seconds getting progressively faster at every level. By the time you complete level 5.1 and you'd have run a distance of 660m..
Running for a total of 4 minutes and 47 seconds getting progressively faster at every level. By the time you complete level 5.5 and you'd have run a distance of 740m.
Running for a total of 5 minutes and 21 seconds getting progressively faster at every level. By the time you complete level 6.1 and you'd have run a distance of 840m.
Running for a total of 6 minutes and 51 seconds getting progressively faster at every level. By the time you complete level 7.5 and you'd have run a distance of 1120m.
Running for a total of 9 minutes and 37 seconds getting progressively faster at every level. By the time you complete level 10.1 and you'd have run a distance of 1680.
At TBG, we coach our members to aim to exceed the requirements rather than achieve what's needed for a minimum standard. As you train, you'll be using a variety of training methods, but when you test yourself, be sure to aim for higher than you need to achieve to pass.
BEEP TEST TURNS
Another aspect to consider when looking at this data is the physical demands of turning around every 20m. The distances and the total times may not look like much of a challenge when read this way, however if you've never completed a beep test then you will need to factor in the energy you will exert at the end of every shuttle- Click here to learn the correct technique for beep test turns.
Think of running, stopping, turning and then running again over and over. The beep test will challenge your aerobic capacity within the sprint component (especially in higher levels), but also the strength, balance, flexibility (of your ankle), knee and hip joints. Whatever training program you are doing needs to cater for all of this too, not just running. All TBG training programs factor in this side of the beep test and will ensure you are training properly towards achieving that pass mark! Click here to access TBG training programs
BEEP TEST AS TRAINING? YES OR NO?
Straight up. Let's get this out of the way- The Beep Test is an assessment tool. It's a TEST. It's not a METHOD OF TRAINING. It is a way to MEASURE your fitness, NOT a way to train.
You've likely found all sorts of information as you've been researching how to train for the beep test. A lot of this information will be conflicting as plenty of coaches will tell you that the beep test IS the best way to train. We've been training applicants for the ADF since 2016 and not once have we ever used the beep test as training method. In fact we only test the beep test every 8 weeks. In between those tests, we don't even breathe near a beep test.
So why don't we use it as training? There's a method to the madness as always, and we're going to explain it to you.
The beep test starts at a pace that is slightly above walking pace. Each level of the beep test is 1 minute, so each time a new level ticks over, the pace required of you also increases slightly. The reality here is that you don't actually have to start working too hard for a few levels. If your PB so far is a 4.1 and this is what you are achieving every time you practice then you are only actually running for 3 minutes. You won't actually work 'hard' until the end of your final level so let's call that 30 seconds of hard work.
So this means you've conducted a 3 minute training session.
Did you improve your cardio capacity? No.
Did you improve your score? No.
Did you exert yourself and push your limits? No.
Do you feel good about it? No.
Have you gone and done some damage to your positive mindset? Yes.
Was it worth it? No.
Don't let us take away from the fact that you went and DID some training. The fact that you got up off the couch and trained is definitely to be commended. We just need to re-direct this training into sessions that are more effective and relevant to passing a beep test.
BEEP TEST TRAINING METHODS THAT WORK
There is no doubt that you want to dominate the beep test stage of your ADF application process. To do this you need to focus on interval and speed training.
At TBG we have a focus on interval style training and Maximal Aerobic Speed (MAS) training. We then combine this with other speed play methods, sprints and longer runs. Every style of running training has it's place in improving different components of the beep test and every style is required in order to have a well balances training regime if you want to pass your beep test.
Adding in a fortnightly 30 minute jog will allow you to practice breathing patterns and running form and just build your overall confidence with running. This is how we push through the mindset barriers that running creates- by being ahead of the game in feeling comfortable as a runner.
Each session needs to be scheduled in a way that allows your body plenty of time to recover between sessions. This is also imperative in oder to prevent injuries and over training. If you're looking for an easy to follow training program then check out our TBG Beep Test training programs below.
MORE BEEP TEST TRAINING METHODS THAT WORK
Let's go through some example training ideas that will ensure you gain progress towards improving your beep test.
Run 50m in 15sec. Rest in place for 15sec. Repeat this process for the allocated number of reps (start with 8). After completing the allocated reps Eg 8 (4mins) then you rest for 3mins. Complete this whole process 3 times.
You should be making the line at about the 14sec mark. The expected effort level is 8/10 and is about halfway between a sprint and a jog. If you are finding 50m too hard or too easy, then you may adjust the distance by 5m but keep the effort level at 8/10 and aim to arrive at the line at 14sec.
Fartlek is a Swedish word that translates to 'speed play'. This style of training involves varying your intensity or speed.
You will have an active rest which is usually a 'slow jog' for these sessions.
Examples of fartlek training include, running one minute at a faster effort, then three minutes at easy effort. You can also run faster for 100m and a slower jog for 300m. Fartlek training allows the runner to hold a lot of the control.
The idea of these sessions is to run as far as you can in the allocated time. E.g. 3min run/2min rest. Run as far as you can in the 3mins, rest in place for 2mins then try and make it back to your original start point in the next 3min run. You can also have a set distance e.g. run around the
Longer Distance Run
This run shouldn't require too much exertion. You should still be able to maintain a chat if you are running with someone else. Getting some time under your legs is great for conditioning and confidence. Pick a time or distance and complete that without stopping.
DOING THE TEST
Once you are ready for your actual beep test test, there are a few things to remember:
Whilst for some, the beep test may sound like a walk in the park, you still need to ensure your body is conditioned to short circuit your inner dialogue when things get tough and pick up the pace when it needs to. You may become out of breath before hitting the score you need, however if you have your training to back you up then your body will know what to do.
If getting into the Australian Defence Force is important to you and you are taking this application seriously, then focus on your training and make sure you are doing all the right things consistnetly!
If you're training for your dream job and keen to smash those minimum standards and become the fittest version of yourself then we can help! Click here to check out our PFA training Programs.
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