Videos: Today's Military
  • MEPS: Physical Exam(01:42)

    Every individual who enlists in the Military must meet certain physical requirements. This is to make sure potential recruits can safely make it through Basic Training and meet the daily demands of service. Each applicant will meet with a physician for an exam, similar to a yearly checkup with a family doctor. It is important to disclose any prior health issues at this time: Remember, these won’t necessarily be grounds for disqualification, and answers are generally confidential. It’s essential to be honest because a false answer could result in health risks later.

    Aside from the physical exam, applicants will undergo the following:

    • Height and weight measurements: Each Service has its own standards for height and weight, so it’s best to discuss this with your recruiter.
    • Hearing and vision examinations: Perfect hearing and vision are not required for enlistment, but may be required for certain career fields. A recruiter can explain prerequisites in detail.
    • Urine and blood tests: These include a test for HIV antibodies and a pregnancy test for female applicants, as well as drug and alcohol screening. Be honest with your recruiter and the MEPS physician about past substance use/abuse.
    • Muscle group and joint maneuvers: These simple flexibility and balance tests ensure you have proper ranges of motion.
    • Specialized tests, if required. 

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Speaker 1: My name is Diane Mahalco. I'm the medical section supervisor. The purpose of the medical examination is to make sure that the applicant is medically sound to enter into the Military. After they check in with processing, they're ushered down the hall to the medical session. They check in. We do their blood pressure. We do their vision test. We do a hearing test. Then they're sent over to the brief to complete all their paperwork, make sure their Privacy Act statements are signed, the HIV forms are signed. After that, they're given the commander's brief, the medical section brief and then they're sent back over to medical, where they have their blood drawn for HIV, and then they give a urine specimen for a drug screen. After that they see the doctor. Male and female exams are a little different, basically the same as if you were to go to your family practice. The female exam includes a pregnancy test. The females, you know, take a little longer. Then the males, basically, the males are all in one room, females one on one.

Speaker 2: What you'll be doing now is some ortho-neurological maneuvers. It'll feel like we're testing your exercise ability, but we're really not. If anything, we ask you to do hurts or makes you feel lightheaded, short of breath, that sort of thing, take a break. It's not disqualifying to do so, and we certainly don't want you leaving here injured.

Speaker 1: If they are disqualified for a medical reason, the Services can opt to give a waiver for that disqualification, and that's usually the case. The duck walk, that's what everybody remembers, you know. The prior service people come in, and they always, you know, tell the applicants about the duck walk. My favorite part is seeing the applicants, when they're told they're qualified, you know, they're very happy. They're relieved, and you know, that just makes it all worth it.