What Is The Beep Test?
The beep test is a physical test that requires participants to run between two points that are located 20 meters apart. All participants must run at the predetermined speed which is indicated with a beep tone. As the test progresses, the beeps get closer together, implying participants must run faster.
Each time the beep tone is heard, participants must leave the point they are standing at and run to the other point. The test begins with a triple-beep tone, which can be heard each time the speed will increase. If you are not at the point when the beep goes off, you have failed the beep test.
The beep test is used by many organizations around the world including:
How is the beep test scored?
The beep test is divided into levels and shuttles with 21 levels in total. Within each level, there are shuttles which are measured by the number of times the participant will run between the two points.
Each level lasts for roughly one minute and as the levels increase, the number of shuttles also increases which means participants must increase their speed at each level. If participants are not at the point when the beep goes off, they can not progress.
Participants are scored on which level they make it to. If a participant reaches level 8 their score will be 8. Men must reach and complete level 10 and women must reach level 8.
What are the rules?
The beep test has a set of rules which must be kept to ensure fairness. The first rule is that all participants start at the same place and run from the first point to the second point. There can not be people running in different directions due to safety measures.
Before starting any shuttle, all participants must have at least one foot on the end line to be classed as on the point. The two points must be exactly 20 meters from one another and must not move throughout the test.
There must always be a five-second warning before starting the beep test, then the start is indicated with three consecutive beeps. The participants must arrive at the point and remain there before the next beep to stay in the test. If a participant misses one beep they receive a warning, they then must try to speed up. If the participant misses another beep they are out.
All of these rules must be kept to ensure all participants are facing the same test and there is fairness, regarding who is administering the test and where it is taking place.
What should I expect on the beep test?
On the day all participants will arrive at the assessment center ready to complete the test. There can be hundreds of people attending on the same day to complete their test. The rules will be explained, as outlined above, then participants will line up on the same line.
Once the three beeps are heard the test begins. Each level will last for one minute, then be followed by another three beeps. Each time that is heard a new level will begin. The levels will continue to change every minute, increasing the speed of the participants slightly each time.
The beep test continues until all of the participants are out or until all 21 levels have taken place. After this, each participant will receive their score. If their score is high enough to continue through army training (10 for men, 8 for women), they will receive further information.
How To Prepare For The Army Beep Test
1. Start training early
The beep test is a physically and mentally draining task and without proper preparation can be almost impossible. Start training for the test as early as possible. Build up your ability to run for 20 minutes for a sustained amount of time.
If you are not able to practice the formal layout of turning around every 20 minutes, get used to running on a treadmill. Every minute increase your speed slightly. If you do this enough times your body will get used to running for a long amount of time without a break.
The earlier you start this the better to ensure you have enough time to feel confident that you can do it. Remember you can’t have breaks during the beep tests so you should avoid breaks during training as well.
2. Follow a training routine
A training routine is a fantastic way of increasing your stamina and your body’s ability to run for a long time. There are lots of online training routines you can follow such as Topend Sports. Once you find a routine, follow it as closely as you can, making sure you train as much as you can.
Within your training routine, it’s important to focus on running long distances as well as increasing your overall strength and breathing strategies. All of these skills will benefit you during the beep test.
3. Improve your running technique
The beep test is designed to test your mental and physical strength, however, the base of it is running. It is crucial you have the best running technique you can to complete the beep test to the best of your ability.
Running technique is divided into footwork and body movement, making sure you move efficiently to get the best speed that you can maintain. When working on running technique it is important not to push yourself and risk injuries such as pulled muscles or twisted ankles. If you are in any doubt, find a trainer who can advise you properly.
4. Work on your turn efficiency
The turn is one of the most important parts of the beep test. If you are turning further than you need to you can waste time which could cause you to score a few levels lower than you’re able to. It is important you turn at the line, no further. Do not waste strides to ensure you are over the line as only one foot must be on the line by the time the beep goes off.
When turning, dip into your foot to give your body some bounce, increasing the speed you are able to turn around. During practice, find out which foot feels better to turn on as the stronger foot should be ready to start running as soon as you’ve turned during the later levels.
5. Strengthen your body
Your body must be as strong as you can make it. The army is a physically challenging place, therefore their entry requirements will also be extremely challenging. During training make sure you are increasing your overall strength and fitness. Make sure as well as cardio workouts you are also building upper body strength and pushing yourself.
Despite the importance of strengthening your body, remember to pace yourself and not risk any injuries. If you are ever unsure of your limits, talk to a trainer for extra support.
6. Know the rules
Study the rules so you are positive about what you need to do. Make sure you know which side you start on, which beep you move on and what three beeps mean. If you do not follow the rules you won’t progress to the next round, removing your chance of joining the army. Even though the beep test is a physical test it is important to treat it like any test and ensure you know exactly what you need to do before doing it.
7. Stay hydrated
Water is one of the most important parts of any form of exercise, especially the beep test. In the lead-up to the test you must stay hydrated. Your body will work in the best condition it can if it is truly hydrated. Drink water regularly, especially during training sessions and the morning of the test.
8. Warm up before exercising
Warming up is crucial for your body. Even if you have been training, without warming up your body is at serious risk of hurting itself. In your warm-up make sure to stretch every muscle in your body enough so that you can use them efficiently. When factoring in time to train and get ready on the day, make sure to leave yourself at least ten minutes for your warm-up.
9. Allow yourself to rest
Even though you must train so that your body is ready for the beep test, do not overdo it. Allow yourself plenty of time to rest and build up strength. Getting enough sleep is crucial for your body as without it you won’t be able to work at your best ability. Not only does it improve your physical abilities it will also improve your mental health, immune system and mood - all of which need to be as strong as possible for your beep test day.
10. Have a positive attitude
Finally, make sure you have a positive attitude. If you have prepared and made sure you have done all you can then you are in the best place. A positive attitude can increase your abilities and give you the extra push to complete the top levels.
A positive attitude is better when you are calm so find a way to relax on the day to give yourself the best chance. One way to stay relaxed is meditating, there are lots of resources online which can help you meditate and stay calm, increasing your positive attitude.