When looking to join the Air Force there are a lot of things you have to do first.
One of those things is to pass the Physical Ability and Stamina Test, also known as the PAST test.
This is a test that will test your ability to adhere to difficult training and conditions.
Only those who do great in it will be able to move on.
There are many techniques that people use to prepare for this test.
Throughout this article, we will go over some of those, the standards for the test, and how to pass the Physical Ability and Stamina Test with confidence.
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What is the USAF PAST Test?
The Air Force Physical Abilities Stamina Test (or PAST) is the collection of minimum requirements to enlist in certain areas of the military including the Air Force.
This test is conducted to make sure that those who want to go into those fields of work can handle the strain it may put on their bodies.
This is a test that has to be passed in order to go into the Air Force.
There are combat units known as Battlefield Airmen. These are the individuals who must attend a Battlefield Airmen Course for about two months and pass the PAST.
Passing the test is a must but it does not mean you will succeed with the application to the career you want to go enlist in.
Experts recommend that you aim to far exceed the PAST.
That way you are more likely to do better on your tests in the future and succeed as a whole.
There is generally an administrator and multiple people taking the test.
This administrator is there to catalog what you do and if you pass. Remember, they will also be looking at your form.
Even if they pass you with bad form the next instructors you go to will kick you out if you continue to have bad form.
This test must take place in a three-hour time frame. In this test, there are 5 events that are scored by points and one that is a pass/ fail event.
In order to pass the test, the individual must get a score of 270 while also passing the pass/fail event as well.
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Physical Abilities Stamina Test Standards
There are 6 different events that take place during your PAST.
These include running, swimming, and different exercises with rests in-between.
The chart below shows the lowest standards which would mean simply passing the test.
However, remember that that is not enough to go far with your application.
The abbreviations on the chart mean the following:
- Pararescue (PJ)
- Combat Controllers (CCT)
- Tactical Air Control Party (TACP)
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
- Special Operations Weather Tech (SOWT)
- Survival, Evasion. Resistance, Escape Instructor (SERE)
- P/F: Pass / Fail
Here’s the standards for each below:
|1.5 Mile Run||10:10||10:10||10:47||11:00||11:00||10:10|
|500m Swim||<10:07||11:42||N/A||N/A||200m / 10:00||14:00|
As you can see the amount of everything or the time ranges depending on what job field you are applying to.
Each one is a little bit different except for the fact that the underwater swim is pass/ fail for all involved in the test.
Pullups start off at 3 for those going into Explosive Ordnance Disposal.
The most frequent amount of pull-ups needed to pass these tests comes in at 8.
The most amount of pull-ups needed to pass is 10 for the Pararescue applicants.
The most frequent number in the pushups category is 48. It ranges from 35 for those applying to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal to 52 for those going into Pararescue.
As for sit-ups, those going into CCT, TACP, SOWT, and SERE all have to get a minimum of 48.
Those going into EOD have to get a minimum of 50 and those going into PJ have to get a minimum of 54.
The one and a half mile run has those applying to PJ, CCT, and SERE all coming in at a maximum time of 10 minutes and 10 seconds.
Those applying to EOD and SOWT have a max time of 11 minutes to run the 1.5 miles, and those applying to TACP have a max time of 10 minutes and 47 seconds.
The 500m swim is the most versatile event for this test.
Those who are looking to go into EOD or TACP do not have to do the 500m swim.
Those going into SOWT only have to do a 200m swim and their max time for that is 10 minutes.
Those going into SERE need to have a time under 14 minutes.
Those who are going into CCT need to have a time under 11 minutes and 42 seconds, and those going into PJ have to have a time under 10 minutes and 7 seconds.
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How to Meet (Or Exceed) the PAST Test
Meeting the test standards is not the goal, it is a must.
Exceeding the test standards is the goal with the Physical Abilities Stamina Test.
This will set you apart from your competition and help you go further in the application process.
There are many training programs that you can do starting months or weeks before your PAST time.
These training programs will slowly help you work up your stamina and your physical ability.
If you are accepted into any of these programs you will want to start tailoring your workouts and training to the PAST right away.
This means focusing on pullups, pushups, sit-ups, running, and swimming.
You will want to strengthen yourself in each of these categories for a better chance at exceeding when taking the test.
Many people train by running and swimming about 5 days every week.
These runs and swims should be longer distances so that you get adapted to the stamina that they require.
They will also do calisthenics at least three times every week.
Generally a month in advance it is recommended to start training hard.
An example of a few days of training could look like this.
Day 1 Training
- 2 Mile Run
- 50 Push-Ups
- 30 Pull-Ups
- 50 Sit-ups
Day 2 Training
- 6 – 200 Meter Sprints (Jogging between)
- 500 Meter Swim
- 15 Push-Ups
- 15 Sit-Ups
- 5 Pull-Ups
Day 3 Training
- 500 Meter Swim
- 1 Mile Run
- 75 Air Squats
- 1 Mile Jog
- 15 Burpees
You can (and should) space these out on an ‘every other day’ basis. So for example, you’d do the Day 1 training above on a Monday, Day 2 training above on a Wednesday, and Day 3 training on Friday.
Then, you could take the weekend off, or do a light workout to keep your gains.
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The Physical Ability Stamina Test is not an easy one. Even for those who have been training this can be a fairly difficult test.
Putting your mind to it, working hard, and pushing yourself are all musts when beginning to train for this test.
Otherwise passing it is not a guarantee and exceeding at it will most likely not happen.
If you are looking at breaking into a specialized area of the Air Force then researching and reading about what exactly is required is a good idea.
This will mentally prepare you for your journey ahead. Talking to someone who has been through the PAST test before is a good idea as well, they can give you a more rounded view.
Be sure to start a training program as soon as possible. There are plenty online that are available for free. These are programs that will greatly help you.
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