Can you pass the test?

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chris Phillips
  • 22nd Maintenance Squadron First Sergeant
There are many tests to take in the Air Force, and I'd like to discuss a few of these which are all on you to pass. Don't misunderstand that you are part of team and there are many supervisors and resources available to assist you, but for the three tests I'd like to discuss, it is ultimately up to you; your promotion test, fitness assessment and the dreaded urinalysis.
Let's start with the one which is between your current and next rank, the Weighted Airman Promotion test. This test is often met with anxiety as you only have one shot a year and if you fall short the annual cycle starts all over again. There are numerous factors for promotion, but the one you can truly control is the WAPS. It is up to you to figure out how, when and where to study. Some are blessed and can prepare in a short period of time and do well. As many of you know, I have to spend a lot of time studying. I try to study as often as possible and generally review throughout the year. As I get closer to the testing cycle, I set aside time each day just to study. I also found it beneficial to "practice" for game day. You can acquire software to help you practice test taking, and it is also good to write your own questions. This is a test you need to "pass" and like I said it's all on you. This leads to the second test, which again is all on you -- our Air Force Fitness Assessment.

In my 20 year career, I have witnessed our fitness program slowly evolve to what we have today. Honestly, I think we have a pretty good program with a lot of benefits to us as an Air Force, and to Airmen in regards of their health and fitness. Our program accomplishes two key things: if not already in good physical condition, our program will get you there, and if you are in good condition it will keep you there.

Depending on where you are at in your career, or how many times you may have failed the test, failure can have some pretty severe implications. Failure can affect your pay when you lose a stripe or slow progression to the next rank. This can ultimately result in you exiting the Air Force earlier than you expected. Most organizations have a program or policy in place in regards to fitness, but if you fail, all eyes are going to be on you as to why, and it is all on you to maintain the standard and pass.

The last test I want to discuss requires a 100 percent pass rate throughout your career and is the ever fun random urinalysis. This program is in place to give commanders a ready and capable force. Think about it for a bit; do you want to fly on an Air Force jet that has been fixed by a maintainer high on marijuana? Do you want to have your monthly pay be entrusted to a comptroller who is taking methamphetamine? Do you want your children or spouse to be evaluated by a physician who is doing cocaine? Pretty sure your answer is no. My advice for this test is simple (and scientifically proven): do not do drugs (or any other illegal substances) and you will pass the test, end of story.

Tests are never fun ,and failure is not an option on some and passing other tests can do great things for you. However, you have to take the time and study hard, stay fit and not do drugs. If you pass these three tests you can continue to progress in the Air Force, give yourself some opportunities to do great things and live a pretty happy life. But remember, it is all on you!