This is a composite of a few posts I made on the goarmy.com website, as well as a link to a related post I made on the NG forums. Enjoy!
> Get ready to sit and wait all day long.
Amen to that. :)
I went on 7/27, sat around for a total of about 5.5 hours, and then had a physical that took a combined 30 minutes (broken down into 8 excruciating stations). After all that, they wanted a consult on my eyes, so I had to come back on 7/30 and sit around again. Ended up spending about 18 hours at MEPS over two days. Geesh.
Yes, definitely bring a book.
The only reason you would need to do anything physical is if you are overweight. If you don't pass the height/weight test AND don't pass the tape test, then you will need to take the ARMS test (which is a LOAD of fun, let me tell you). If there's any concern about being overweight, talk to your recruiter and have him get your measurements, but if you're already in good shape physically then you won't need to do anything other than stand around in your underwear and act like an idiot while they check your range of motion. Not a huge deal, and nothing involving push-ups, etc.
My schedule was something like this:
0500 - 0530: Formation, wait for the building to open
0530 - 0600: Go to medical floor, get eyes and ears checked
0600 - 0730: Wait
0730 - 0930: Mostly waiting, with a blood and urine test mixed in
0930 - 0945: Doctor physical ("Turn your head and cough, now touch your toes . . .")
0945 - 1030: Height/Weight + "Underwear Olympics"
1030 - 1100: Wait
1100 - 1115: Tape Test (because I came in overweight)
1115 - 1130: Wait
1130 - 1135: Doctor Signoff (I was referred for a consult and DQed for weight)
1135 - 1200: Wait (paperwork)
(At this point, I was told to go ahead and leave, and come back on Monday for the consult. The consult took all morning, so I'll just pick up with Monday's schedule as it would have been about the same if I had finished Friday.)
1230 - 1330: ARMS Test (because I didn't pass the tape test)
1330 - 1530: Contract review/counseling
1530 - 1600: Wait
1600 - 1630: Fingerprinting, final confirmation of contract details
1630 - 1645: Briefing on fraudulent enlistment/AWOL/desertion
1645 - 1700: Swear in, sign contract
1700 - 1730: Back to counseling office to correct minor paperwork issues
So, a VERY long day, and a lot of waiting. As I said, it's only physical if you are overweight and need to take the ARMS test.
Here's the short version of the ARMS test, if you're interested . . .
ARMS: Assessment of Recruit Motivation and Strength
If you are overweight, you take the tape test. If you don't pass the tape test, but are within a certain percentage of your allowed maximum, you can take the ARMS test in order to earn a waiver for being overweight (basically, you have to prove that you are in decent shape and motivated to succeed).
It's basically like this . . .
- You have to start with a heart rate under 100 bpm
- You step up onto a box (16" for men, 12" for women) for five minutes at 120 bpm ("up-up-down-down" - 30 round trips per minute)
- After five minutes, rest for one minute
- Your heart rate after 1 minute of rest must be less than 200 bpm
- If you pass the box test, you have to do push-ups for 1 minute (not sure what the minimum is)
If you pass all of that, you will receive a waiver for being overweight. But it is NOT easy. The word Motivation is in there for a reason, let me tell you. The box is easy for the first minute, but gets very hard after about 90 seconds, and at three minutes you start to have a lot of balance issues. Much better to just lose the weight and pass that way, trust me.