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 How do you grade the Navy SEAL Physical Screening Test?

Taking the Navy SEAL, EOD, SWCC, Rescue Swimmer test is your physical entrance exam into these professions.  The Navy PST consists of the following events:

Event Rest times
500 yd swim rest 10 minutes
pushups 2 min rest 2 min
situps 2 min rest 2 min
pullups max reps rest 10 min
1.5 mile run test complete

Grading this test fairly requires a creative way to assess students strengths and weaknesses and to have method that gives you an objective score in order to rank students.  When there are more recruits than room at BUD/S or other Spec Ops schools, you will be ranked the following method:

Swim 500yd swim = if you score a 8 min swim you get 480 points (that is 480 seconds).  So every second of running and swimming counts!

1.5 mile run = if you score a 9 min 1.5 mile run you get 540 points.

Add the run and the swim together to get = 1020 total points

Now subtract your PT scores from your 1020 base cardio score:

Max Pushups in 2 minutes = if you score 100 pushups in 2 minutes  you subtract 100 points   (1020 - 100 = 920)

Max Situps in 2 minutes = if you score 100 situps in 2 minutes you subtract 100 points       (920 - 100 = 820)

Max Pullups = if you score 20 pullups you get 20 points x 6 = 120 points subtract from   (820 - 120 = 700)

As you can see these scores are pretty advanced and having a 700 score on the PST is a competitive score prior to any of these school.  Most draft programs into these schools set the bar at 800-900 points.  The lower the score the better.

Another option if you are really needing to cut hairs with selection programs is to add in body weight as a PT exercise
(so subtract bodyweight).

The added in bodyweight will give extra points to a 200lb person who can get 20 pullups compared to a 150 lb person who can get 20 pullups.  It makes the playing field even on effort / exertion.  These tests tend to favor the smaller candidate who can typically run faster and do more bodyweight calisthenics, but it does not penalize you for weighing less.  The goal at selection is to have a fair playing field for each candidate.

Now the scoring method for the above example:

700 - 200 lbs (points) = 500 total points for a 200 lb student taking this test.

700 - 150lb (points) = 550 total points for a 150 lb student taking this test

Then setting up scoring criteria is easy, but completely subjective by the graders to want you create for your test.  The thing this test will do is rank them numerically for the assessment team.

For instance:

less than 500 - Outstanding
501-550 - Above Average
551-800 - Average - passing
801-900 - Below average - minimum standard
greater than 901 - failing

This test is just an example to demonstrate an idea for scoring criteria.  Obstacle courses, shooting skills, and other job related events could and should be tested and graded on a different scale.

Adding in bodyweight and subtracting from cardio scores insures that testing can be scored fairly when competing for a slot in a Spec Ops unit.  Say a 200 lbs guy get 10 pullups and a 150 lb guy gets 10 pullups the 200 lbs guy gets 260 points - the 150 guy gets 210.  Remember, multiply pull-ups by SIX (x6) for the fitness test to give it as much weight as 1-2 minutes of pushups and situps.  This gives the pullup test an actual exertion assessment pound for pound.
We used to do this type of scoring trying to figure out who went to SEAL Training from the Naval Academy and found it helpful when selecting only 15 candidates for training out of 50 excellent candidates.  Of course, the interview, resume, grades, and other factors were considered, but having a numerical value next to their physical tests gave us a ranking system to use to assess physical potential to make it through the training.

Send me an email and I may post it up as an article next week. You can contact me at 


Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the
Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
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Navy SEAL Workout Phase 1  Beginner Weeks 1-9
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 2 - 3 - Intermediate Weeks 1-12
Navy SEAL Workout Phase 4  Grinder PT -  Four weeks before Hell Week

Navy SWCC Workout

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