APFT to ACFT Information from Beta Readers


By Rob Shaul

Earlier this month I asked for any info on ACFT implementation in the ARMY, especially at schools and selection courses. Several replied … and I’ve sanitized and condensed the comments below.

The Consensus:

  • ACFT will become the gate assessment at all initial entry schools (BOLC, OCS, etc.) in October, and the test of record for the rest of the Army at that time.
  • Schools and courses are still figuring out what to do. One issue is the increased logistics to administer the ACFT. The Sapper Leaders Course has already implemented a new SPFT which pulls the Hand Release Push Ups and Leg Tucks from the ACFT, and adds a 3-mile run.
  • Other schools/selections (Ranger, SFAS, etc.) are still figuring out what to do.
  • The ACFT is in its “diagnostic” phase for setting standards and evaluating equipment/administration issues. One change already has been to modify the Hand Release Push Up to a Hand Release Extension Push Up … and it’s possible the assessment implementation could be further modified and implementation delayed based on the results from the diagnostic period.

Below … comments/input from our solicitation earlier this month:


I am a strength coach at fort bliss. The answer to your question is the APFT will be the test for record for the schools (lack of equipment), they will most likely end up taking the ACFT while at the course (honestly sounds like data collection). This will be true for at least the year. 

BLUF: Army schools, particularly selection and Ranger will not switch over to the ACFT until it is the official Army test of record. This is currently scheduled to happen OCT 1, 2020 ( FY21). 

Background: Currently,  Army leadership has not decided to fully implement the ACFT as the test of record till at least FY 21 due to the need for  continuing  legal, medical and publications review/revision needed to incorporate the test across multiple Army components( active, guard, reserve) as well as collect date from the total Army in order to refine the testing requirements, standards and  other administrative requirements surrounding test. Additionally, fielding the equipment has only just begun this month and is anticipated to take all year before fielding is complete. Currently, the Army is scheduled to perform a required APFT this year, to satisfy training requirements IAW AR 350-1 and two diagnostic ACFT, once units receive their equipment, in order to help The Center for Initial Military Training, under Training and Doctrine Command, (TRADOC) collect the data I mentioned earlier.

 Now this doesn’t apply to basic training, which I understand currently take the ACFT as the required test. Some other schools may take it now but it is not in a pass/ fail capacity due the ACFT holding no current legal weight.

In plan language, you can’t be dropped from a course, minus basic, for failing the ACFT since it isn’t the test of record. 

Additionally the Chief of Staff of the Army has a number of options available as far as implementing the ACFT as the test of record that may even delay it till FY22 or further depending on the data and a number of other factors. 

Not sure if this information is helpful, but the following is from my G3…..

Please see below as requested IAW FRAGORD 2 to TRADOC TASKORD IN191691


–  Para 2 [Change]:   IMT courses such as BCT, AIT, BOLC A & B, OCS, WOCS, WOBC and DCC which begin on or after 01-Oct-19 will administer the ACFT as the graduating requirement.

–  Para 3.B [Change]:   IMT ACFT scoring scale in Enclosure 2.

–  Para 3.B.1.f [Add]:   ACFT transition year (FY-20) guidance for Soldiers who fail to pass ACFT Gold Standards in BCT, AIT, etc…

–  Para 3.B.1.h [Add]:   Army National Guard and Army Reserve managed courses, such as AIT (MOS-T), OCS, WOCS, DCC and others, are excluded from

this requirement and will be mandated to incorporate the ACFT for record testing with the overall Army-wide record test implementation, currently

scheduled for 1 October 2020.

ACFT is still a diagnostic until Oct 2020. Guidance is that every Soldier will take it twice this year for only diag/statistical purposes. Until the APFT remedied in effect

So right now the Army is going to the ACFT in October.  However for warrant officer candidate school they have you take the ACFT and not the APFT this started in January of 2020.

After 19 years of being enlisted in the Army, I decided to go to OCS. I am currently in week 10 of IBOLC at Ft. Benning.

All IET (Initial Entry Training) schools that started after October 1, 2019 were mandated to replace the APFT and make the ACFT the graded event. 

IET schools are basic training, OSUT, OCS, BOLC, WOCS, etc.

We took the APFT at the beginning of the course. We were told that since the big Army has not fully transitioned to the ACFT, we needed an APFT to hand to our unit once our training is complete so they can upload it into DTMS. The APFT is not a graduation requirement. 

One week later we took our initial ACFT. We will take our Final ACFT at the end of the course.

Here at IBOLC, the 5 mile run is still mandatory. We take it 3 times, A diagnostic, a final and during the RPA (Ranger Physical Assessment). The RPA is not a graduation requirement, however if you fail it, they will not send you to Ranger school.

The Commandant of the Infantry recently gave us a brief and told us that Ranger school is currently figuring out a new RPA that reflect the ACFfT. What it will look like is still unknown.

Here is the Army website that details the current guidance on the ACFT:



By regulations the Army does not have to fully switch to the ACFT until October 2020. From my experience to date with the army everyone will wait until then to switch. Plus the procurement of the equipment required for the ACFT is also something that can be time consuming. In my opinion, any preparation for the ACFT will effectively prepare someone for the APFT. However, this may require more work on your end, but providing a APFT & ACFT option for the selection programs. 

The ACFT will be taken by all soldiers this FY, however it won’t become the test of record until FY 21, per the SMA’s guidance.  If a SM fails it, but still passes the APFT they will not be flagged.

TRADOC schools have begun to implement the assessment into their curriculums in order to get a baseline.

In regards to SFAS, and other A/S, they will continue to prioritize the APFT.  Your ACFT programming progression will be a solid addition.  (Also, after reviewing the long walk plan v2 I’d say the more emphasis on endurance the better… This plan is much more tailored to what you’ll face in the WV mtns).

The current guidance is that the ACFT will be the PT test for the Army starting FY 21. There was a disaster (84% female failure rate) in the XVIII airborne Corp when they first put it out. Current guidance is that all service members will take 2 diagnostic ACFTs during FY 20 while still maintaining physical readiness standards of the APFT in order to refine ACFT grading standards. That is why there is so much confusion right now. All schools should start using the ACFT on 1OCT.

ACFT doesn’t become a record test until October 1 2020 (FY21). Currently the Army is testing the ACFT as a diagnostic ( not for record test). The diagnostic phase, like the record, is done twice a year or every 6 months.

I am 52 years old  battalion CSM ( command Sergeant major) and actually like it over the three event APFT. But fitness is my passion, so as a cultural change in our force, it was easier for me to adapt. 

I will be attending sfas in april. The APFT is the initial fitness assessment. Hope this helps.

Just so you are tracking they are still using the APFT for the gate assessment for BLC in Germany, from the cadre I heated it’s suppose to switch to the ACFT, in July.  They don’t even cover it. They make it all a unit level issue. Hope that helps

I know at the Army Sapper Leader Course they have already ditched the APFT. They are now using a modified ACFT as the gate. The events they chose are the hand release push up, leg tuck, and a 3 mile run (instead of the standard 2 mile). Hope this helps. 

I’m a First Sergeant out of Fort Bragg. The APFT will continue to be the Army’s Fitness test on record, at least until 01 OCT 2020 or Fiscal Year 2021 for The Department of Defense. The ACFT is still in its implementation mode until then, where all Units across the Army will be required to take  2 Pilot ACFT’s, one by end of 2nd QTR and One by the end of 4th Qtr FY20.

They hope this will help to narrow down the standard parameters and provide sufficient enough data across the force to cement the Tiered Standards. This also providing the time to complete fielding of equipment and time for test specific training across units and personnel.

Always enjoying the stuff you put out including plans, tips, and your scientific method for improvement.

Perhaps a less heard of common Army school mainly open to 12-series is Sapper School and I’m not sure if you’re tracking but they’ve implemented a modified form of the ACFT on day 0 testing. You can find more info here: 

https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/units-tenants/USAES/Sapper/Sapper/reporting-information under “SPFT.” It’s the leg tuck, T-push up, and a 3 mile run. Looking forward to your findings and plans.

Just got a brief on this today and can follow up with additional details.

The Army is in the IOC (initial operation capability) phase throughout this year. This means that Soldiers will take 2 not for record tests and the Army will examine the data to determine if they need to adjust the scoring, etc.  This also means that there is no adverse administrative action that can occur should a soldier fail to meet the standard.

The Army will go FOC in 2021 when all PT tests will be the ACFT and for record.

Not sure about individual schools, but not every installation or unit has the equipment or the trained graders to be conducting the test. 

Given what I know about the grader/participant ratio and the time it takes to administer the test, I cannot imagine Ranger School or any other school with a massive amount of day zero attendees trying to administer this test.

I am currently at an academic school at ft benning for senior officers, and although not very physical, we are still required to take the APFT as our “record” physical fitness test. In March, we will be taking the new ACFT but only as a diagnostic. So basically it won’t be held against us if we fail. As far as I know,  we will have to take the formal and recorded ACFT starting in October.

 I personally would like to keep the ACFT training plan in the program because that’s what we all should be training towards anyway.

Attended Sapper back in November, they have implemented the ACFT events for the PFT there. T push ups, knee tucks, and three mile run.

Here’s what limited information I know of the transition to the ACFT for schools/selection:

– Sapper is already doing the ACFT

– Ranger is looking to transition for class 1-21, but they have already started testing Darby recycles on the ACFT for diagnostic data. They also have already reconstructed the pull-up bars to facilitate the leg tuck on Malvesti. The new RPFT will be the hand-release push-up, leg tucks, and 5 mile run

– I know of at least 1 SMU selection that is continuing with the APFT as of this February, and may not transition to the ACFT at all

I am currently stationed at Fort Benning as cadre at an Infantry OSUT (One Station Unit Training). We have switched from five APFTs to five ACFTs and two APFTs, with graduation requirement being passing both. I’m told this will be until 01 OCT 20 when the whole Army switches from the Initial Operation Capability to  whatever ACFT-centric model replaces it.

So for BCT and OSUT for Army Infantry the ACFT is in use now as a graduation requirement and will become the test of record next October.

The ACFT wont become the Army formal test of record until 01 Oct 20, so all selection/functional schools likely wont adopt it until the official date. That said, I cant speak for all schools, but we are adopting portions of the test for the Sapper Leader Course to better assess probability of graduation based upon historic trends. As we pilot it, we will use it to establish an order of merit for students seeking to walk on. Later in the year we’ll implement a modified entry test after we’ve completed validation. ACFT takes too long for our available schedule time so we will focus on simply the hand release pushup, leg tuck, and 3 mile run in under 24 minutes (https://home.army.mil/wood/index.php/units-tenants/USAES/Sapper/Sapper/reporting-information)

Ranger school is planning something similar but its to be developed.

In basic training, trainees are now conducting the ACFT and in all of our professional courses such as officer basic and captains career course we are conducting the ACFT now.

I had the same question a few months ago. The response from the Army was until they know for sure the new program was here to stay, the APFT would still be the test used at various places. Timeline unknown. This was in response to Ranger school.

So I just left a school this past year and had to do the APFT. Later through out the course a few of us were selected to do the ACFT. I was one of the ones selected. They also got us level 1(only able to grade) and level 2( able to grade and certify level 1 graders). I was only level 1 certified because of time constraints. This year we will be required to do a ACFT diagnostic test and next fiscal year we will do it for record. As far as some schools some are still doing the APFT and later having either some or all do the ACFT. So I’ve been receiving all the latest updates of the aACFT. Which its is constantly changing. Feel free to email me if you have any questions and maybe I can help out in the future.

Hey Rob,

I just saw your post this morning about the APFT/ACFT switch at Army schools.  I know Sapper switched and class 004 took the modified ACFT today.  Hope this helps.

Current plan for Ranger is to adopt ACFT events in October. Until then the RPA will remain the same.  Initial plan is to run a 3 event test.. hand release pushups, leg tuck, and 5 mile run. Current standard pushups, sit-ups and pull-ups would go away.

5 mile run will remain at a 40 minute standard. Standards for new events won’t be released until this summer, likely the June/July Time frame.

Here is my take on the situation below:

Basic Combat Training/Advanced Individual Training Soldiers are taking the ACFT now.

MOS/T (Reclass) Soldiers are taking the ACFT now.

Active Duty units are taking diagnostic ACFT’s with the requirement of a for record ACFT by October 2020 (FY2021).

Reserve units are to start administering the ACFT for record starting in April 2020 for those Soldiers who do not have a passing APFT after April 2019.  Units should administer two diagnostic ACFT’s by October 2020 for everyone else. 

The goal is to have everyone to have taken the ACFT for by Jan 2021.

Airborne and Air Assault are taking the ACFT and adding additional 5 mile run requirement (not to the ACFT but to the course requirements).

PSYOP Selection Courses requires an ACFT score that meets the 70 in each event prior to coming to selection.  At selection they are administering a modified APFT (push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and a longer run).  As they usually take their guidance from the SOF community, it wouldn’t surprise me to find out SOF was doing the same thing.

Rumor (as I have no recent experience with sending Soldiers to it) is that Ranger School is doing an ACFT in boots and utes followed by an ass kicker of a ruck march (10K 65#) with a pull-up station at the halfway mark.

I just finished the ACFT NCOIC Certification course last month. The information pushed out to us is that as of now all NCOES, BCT and courses that formally administered the APFT will now be doing the ACFT along with the APFT until the end of FY20 and it will be annotated in RCAS as a diagnostic. At some point during the year all soldiers will take an ACFT for record.

In FY21 the ACFT becomes the test of record. The main issue right now is the fielding of required equipment and from what I can tell they are still making adjustments; i.e. all O5/E9 and above are significant, lowering of the HRPU standards, changing of categories for some MOS.

Hey Rob,

All LTs reporting to BOLC take the ACFT instead of the APFT. 

Same for everyone showing up to Basic Training.

ACFT at all IMT (initial military training– basic, BOLC, DCC, etc.). APFT through fall 2020 and for record ACFT spring 2021 (for now). This could chance based on SMA recs.

I am replying to the question about selections that will require the ACFT. I am an operator living in the pan handle of Florida. The current policy is that the ACFT will not be implemented for record until the next fiscal year. Army wide we must complete 2 diagnostic ACFTs before October. After that date every ACFT will be for record. Until that date all army schools/selection will be maintaining the PFT. The issue a lot of schools have is that the ACFT is a logistical nightmare to conduct, requiring more time, equipment and graders.

Frankly in my community we are all hoping that the ACFT just goes away. I hope this helps.

My command and unit are executing validations on officers and NCOs this next week.

 I’ve seen guidance that the official implantation start point (SP) Army wide is 01 October 2020.

That’s what had been related to subordinate commands Army Wide.

Hope that helps.

APFT is still the focus and is still one of the assessments.  

I just finished the most recent SFAS course and they were still testing us on APFT. I highly recommend you keep your workout plans with APFT prep and not the ACFT. The big Army is switching to ACFT in fiscal year 2021, but there no word from the SOF selection is going to follow suit. As far as I can tell there are no plans to implement ACFT testing right now. They will keep testing us on the APFT, since its SOF and SOF does whatever they want. 

I’m currently in the q course. As far as cadre and chain of command have told us there is not going to be a change over to the ACFT in the foreseeable future. They will stick with the 80% standard on the APFT with 8 additional pullups. Every two mile route I have ran throughout the course has consisted of the first mile being uphill  The average guy with us loses about 30 seconds from his flat 2 mile.

RASP will not be implementing the ACFT as a part of our selection process unless Ranger school changes to it from the RFT. If they do regiment will most likely follow suit. We will continue to do the RFT until that happens. If you have any questions please let me know.

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