Understanding the steps Is Critical.

The United States Air Force Academy is a competitive environment. Just applying to the Academy requires focus and determination. Here, learn each step of the process and the requirements you must meet to compete for appointment.


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Fitness Assessment

Physical fitness is key to success at the United States Air Force Academy, especially during Basic Cadet Training (BCT) and the fourth-class (freshman) year. Therefore, satisfactory completion of the Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) is an important admissions requirement.

This test of strength, agility, speed and endurance is designed to predict your aptitude for demands of Academy life. It will help determine whether you possess the stamina and movement skills required to successfully complete the physical program at the Academy. It is an important factor in the overall assessment of your admission file.

CFA Events

Become familiar with the six events in the CFA and practice them to score well. The events are administered consecutively with specified start, finish, and rest times. Although the CFA is Pass-Fail, it is imperative that you perform to the best of your ability on each of these events:

  1. Basketball Throw
  2. Pull-Ups/Flexed Arm Hang
  3. Shuttle Run
  4. Modified Sit-Ups (Crunches)
  5. Push-Ups
  6. One Mile run

In order to qualify for admission to the Service Academies, you must take the CFA. You should remember that your score is a combination of your best efforts on each of the six events. Strive for excellence and the highest possible score. Maximums and goals for men and women on each exercise are given, below. You should strive to meet or exceed the average scores listed here. Below-average performance may be disqualifying.

Exercise Max. Goal Max. Goal
Men Women
Basketball Throw 102′ 69′ 66′ 42′
Pull-Ups (men/women) 18 12 7 2
Flexed Arm Hang (women) 63 sec 31 sec
Shuttle Run 7.8 sec 8.1 sec 8.6 sec 9.4 sec
Modified Sit-Ups (crunches) 95 81 95 78
Push-Ups 75 62 50 41
One Mile Run 5:20 6:29 6:00 7:30

Your examination may be administered by any physical education teacher, Service Academy Liaison Officer or JROTC Instructor. Any active duty commissioned officer may administer the CFA for service members. It is your responsibility to arrange for a qualified person to conduct your examination.

Give your examiner the CFA Score Sheet you printed from your online status page and ask them to record your performance on the CFA Score Sheet. The examiner returns the Score Sheet to you for entry into the online CFA form.

The selection panel will review your overall CFA results as part of their assessment of your potential. We will assume the test is administered in strict compliance with the standards prescribed in the Instructions for Examiners. It is imperative that you perform to the best of your ability on each event. We will assume the overall score represents your best effort and ability.

If you took the CFA at another service academy you can ask them to send the scores to us. We will use these scores only if we have not received any previous scores from you. NOTE: A low overall score or poor scores in an individual event may be disqualifying.

How To Prepare

At the Academy, cadets hit the ground running — literally. Physical activities can be tiring and discouraging if you are not in shape, so establish a regular daily workout program and stick to it faithfully. You will receive a suggested training program in your application package. To prepare for both the CFA and the intense physical demands of Basic Cadet Training (BCT), you can build your strength and endurance through the following activities:

  • Rigorous team sports (ex. Soccer or Football)
  • Strenuous individual sports (Swimming or Wrestling)
  • An individual fitness program including both distance running and conditioning exercises — upper-body strength, running speed and endurance should be your objectives

Due to the Academy’s high elevation (7,250 feet above sea level) your endurance will be diminished. Adjustment is much easier if you have achieved an extremely high level of physical fitness (especially cardiovascular) before you arrive.

Women participate in the same strenuous programs as men. Female applicants should include exercises to increase upper-body strength in any preparation program. You must be able to do at least one pull-up and should strive for more.

Note that you will also take aquatic classes while at the Academy, so if you do not already know how to swim, you need to learn.

For the Examiner

The Candidate Fitness Assessment (CFA) was developed to measure and evaluate a candidate’s potential to successfully engage the physical program at the United States Service Academies. The CFA consists of six (6) physical and motor fitness events that are designed to measure muscular strength and endurance, cardio-respiratory endurance, power, balance, and agility. When administered together as a single battery, these six test events will help the Admissions Committee determine if a candidate possesses the stamina and movement skills required to successfully complete the physical program and perform the duties required of commissioned officers in the uniformed services.

The six test events of the CFA are administered consecutively with specified start, finish, and rest times. Candidates should attempt to do their best on all six events, keeping in mind that the events are sequenced to produce a cumulative loading effect. In other words, after completing the first five events, it is doubtful a candidate will score his/her personal best on the 1-mile run. This has been considered in the development of the scoring standards, which will be used to evaluate performance in each of the six events.

Candidates’ raw scores will be converted to scale scores (0-100 points) based upon their performance on each event. The 100 point maximum score, by event and gender, are listed in the table above. A candidate who achieves the 100 point level on any of the first five events should not attempt further repetitions as this will not improve his/her score.


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