Am I about to fail the CFA?

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Oct 11, 2022
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Hello good people of this board, I just had my last training session before taking the Candidate Fitness Assessment this Tuesday and I'm pretty disheartened. I am very far below average in half the events, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to fail.

I'm an 18 year old male and the farthest I've ever thrown the Basketball is 40 feet, the most pullups I've ever done is 4 (and I don't know if my chin even made it quite past the bar in the last 2 reps) and I've never broken 10 seconds in the shuttle. The only scores I can muster that I think are 'passing' are at the latter end of the test. I'm confident I can hit ~90 crunches, >50 pushups, and a sub 6 mile.

This is extremely disheartening for me not only because I have gotten so far in the process of applying, (this is literally my last checklist item) but because I also trained quite hard for this test. I've been doing test runs/ training sessions for all 6 events since November, I've been going to the gym consistently on a PPL split since May, and I've done sports throughout all of high school.

I guess this post is more about venting than it is about garnering actual advice, which makes me a bit of a wuss. But I'm just frustrated that all the work I've put in to my applications process is most likely for nothing.
Oh well, I guess that's the competitive nature of the service academy applications process. I plan on applying again next year, and I will train as well as I can to get my scores up by the time I take it.
 
Hello good people of this board, I just had my last training session before taking the Candidate Fitness Assessment this Tuesday and I'm pretty disheartened. I am very far below average in half the events, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to fail.

I'm an 18 year old male and the farthest I've ever thrown the Basketball is 40 feet, the most pullups I've ever done is 4 (and I don't know if my chin even made it quite past the bar in the last 2 reps) and I've never broken 10 seconds in the shuttle. The only scores I can muster that I think are 'passing' are at the latter end of the test. I'm confident I can hit ~90 crunches, >50 pushups, and a sub 6 mile.

This is extremely disheartening for me not only because I have gotten so far in the process of applying, (this is literally my last checklist item) but because I also trained quite hard for this test. I've been doing test runs/ training sessions for all 6 events since November, I've been going to the gym consistently on a PPL split since May, and I've done sports throughout all of high school.

I guess this post is more about venting than it is about garnering actual advice, which makes me a bit of a wuss. But I'm just frustrated that all the work I've put in to my applications process is most likely for nothing.
Oh well, I guess that's the competitive nature of the service academy applications process. I plan on applying again next year, and I will train as well as I can to get my scores up by the time I take it.
Honestly, don't count yourself out just yet. I put these exact numbers you mentioned above into the online CFA calculator (yes I got sucked in and paid for it :p) and it says Pass, but just barely. Obviously, this is just a guide and not to be taken fully at face value because it is just a tool to gauge score in general. But if you could just improve the basketball throw by a few feet, and improve a couple more components slightly, I think you'd be ok, especially if you max out the sit-ups and try to get as sub 6 as you can in the mile. Also adrenaline kicks in when you actually do it and you might surprise yourself.
 
Hello good people of this board, I just had my last training session before taking the Candidate Fitness Assessment this Tuesday and I'm pretty disheartened. I am very far below average in half the events, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to fail.

I'm an 18 year old male and the farthest I've ever thrown the Basketball is 40 feet, the most pullups I've ever done is 4 (and I don't know if my chin even made it quite past the bar in the last 2 reps) and I've never broken 10 seconds in the shuttle. The only scores I can muster that I think are 'passing' are at the latter end of the test. I'm confident I can hit ~90 crunches, >50 pushups, and a sub 6 mile.

This is extremely disheartening for me not only because I have gotten so far in the process of applying, (this is literally my last checklist item) but because I also trained quite hard for this test. I've been doing test runs/ training sessions for all 6 events since November, I've been going to the gym consistently on a PPL split since May, and I've done sports throughout all of high school.

I guess this post is more about venting than it is about garnering actual advice, which makes me a bit of a wuss. But I'm just frustrated that all the work I've put in to my applications process is most likely for nothing.
Oh well, I guess that's the competitive nature of the service academy applications process. I plan on applying again next year, and I will train as well as I can to get my scores up by the time I take it.
You have to change your mindset, from ‘I cant’ to ‘I will’. Between now and then, get good sleep. Eat well. Visualize yourself passing that finish line. Give it all you’ve got, and then a little bit more. You may actually surprise yourself, with that little bit of adrenaline kicking in. And, if you have to apply again, you have a whole year to train. No guarantee, either, that passing the CFA would result in an appointment. Dont be hard on yourself…do your best! And approach it with a PMA. Positive Mental Attitude.

Good Luck!
 
On my CFA I did better than expected in push-ups and mile. I was a little under expectation for basketball throw and sprint.

There’s not much you have control over at this point so focus on what you can control:

1) drink lots of water the preceding days
2) eat good food, including salty stuff to balance out the water
3) get good sleep a few days before
4) try breathing exercises to get more oxygen and calm your nerves
5) do a full warm up and stretch —> i found stretching improves my sprint a lot
6) talk to your CFA proctor about what works best for you (eg I practiced push-ups on grass, so doing the test on a slippery gym floor didn’t work for me)
7) ask a friend to cheer you on, especially for the mile. Unfortunately I couldn’t get someone to come for my test, but for one practice run I had a friend chase my around the track, throwing water at me, and yelling YOU WANT TO GO THE AIR FORCE RIGHT?? I got the best lap time then
8) On a similar note, give it your all for the mile. It sounds like it’s not the event you really struggle with, but it’s the last one of the test, so it’s where you get the chance to push yourself to a breaking point in order to get the best possible score
 
It starts with the attitude, like justdoit19 said. Never quit! Being caught up with the idea that you might fail can really cause you to do worse than what you're capable of. You certainly still have a good shot, it's what you make of it.

There was a former marine that gave me some advice for the pull-ups (and this applies to the sit-ups/push-ups too), but try to pump out as much reps as fast as possible. Especially since you have that rush of adrenaline before starting the event, use it to maximize your reps at the start. Taking a break after every pull-up makes it much more tiring (might be a psychological thing). Just thought I'd put that out there.

Also another thing— don't drink TOO much water haha. I drank quite a bit before my CFA, so I felt the water moving around whenever I was doing the sit-ups/pushups.

I'll be praying for you, best of luck!
 
It starts with the attitude, like justdoit19 said. Never quit! Being caught up with the idea that you might fail can really cause you to do worse than what you're capable of. You certainly still have a good shot, it's what you make of it.

There was a former marine that gave me some advice for the pull-ups (and this applies to the sit-ups/push-ups too), but try to pump out as much reps as fast as possible. Especially since you have that rush of adrenaline before starting the event, use it to maximize your reps at the start. Taking a break after every pull-up makes it much more tiring (might be a psychological thing). Just thought I'd put that out there.

Also another thing— don't drink TOO much water haha. I drank quite a bit before my CFA, so I felt the water moving around whenever I was doing the sit-ups/pushups.

I'll be praying for you, best of luck!
Lol same exact thing happened to me. Hydrate, but don't drink too much water right before!!!!
 
It's Tuesday. How'd it go?
Thanks for asking, I was just about to post an update. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice, and thank you to Justdoit who told me to bring a positive mental attitude. I was pretty down in the dumps when I originally made this post, and you guys helped bring me out of it a bit. Also thanks to IggyMom for putting my scores through the calculator.

I indeed took the test today during 3rd period in school. Long story short: I 100% did not pass. Don't need a calculator to know that, lol. I'm not down about it though because I know I'll do better when I re-apply next year. My gym teacher also wants me to re-do it next week, so I may have another chance for the class of '27 👀

Before the test even began I got told by my gym teacher that we were going to have a fire drill in half an hour, so I'd have to hurry, lol. Off to a bit of a bad start. The test started and I put up the following scores:

42ft BB throw - 3 pull ups - 9.6 sec shuttle - 83 crunches - 31 pushups - 6:07 mile

I did better than I thought on the throw and the shuttle. (not that either of them were at all good) I did way worse on the pushups than I was expecting. I'm aware of how stupid I sound writing this, but I've never actually seen myself doing pushups. No one's ever filmed me before, or told me how bad my form is: terrible. I genuinely don't think the academy will count a single one. The same probably goes for the pullups too, as it looks like my chin was moreover at the bar rather than above it. At least I was expecting to do poorly on that one, though.
I was also hoping to do better on the crunches and mile, but I think I should be able to do a little better on those next time.

Again, thank you to all who took the time to reply to this thread and care about me, I really appreciate it. While this result is definitely disappointing, really it's only strengthened my resolve to be an even better candidate next year. peace ✌️
 
Thanks for asking, I was just about to post an update. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice, and thank you to Justdoit who told me to bring a positive mental attitude. I was pretty down in the dumps when I originally made this post, and you guys helped bring me out of it a bit. Also thanks to IggyMom for putting my scores through the calculator.

I indeed took the test today during 3rd period in school. Long story short: I 100% did not pass. Don't need a calculator to know that, lol. I'm not down about it though because I know I'll do better when I re-apply next year. My gym teacher also wants me to re-do it next week, so I may have another chance for the class of '27 👀

Before the test even began I got told by my gym teacher that we were going to have a fire drill in half an hour, so I'd have to hurry, lol. Off to a bit of a bad start. The test started and I put up the following scores:

42ft BB throw - 3 pull ups - 9.6 sec shuttle - 83 crunches - 31 pushups - 6:07 mile

I did better than I thought on the throw and the shuttle. (not that either of them were at all good) I did way worse on the pushups than I was expecting. I'm aware of how stupid I sound writing this, but I've never actually seen myself doing pushups. No one's ever filmed me before, or told me how bad my form is: terrible. I genuinely don't think the academy will count a single one. The same probably goes for the pullups too, as it looks like my chin was moreover at the bar rather than above it. At least I was expecting to do poorly on that one, though.
I was also hoping to do better on the crunches and mile, but I think I should be able to do a little better on those next time.

Again, thank you to all who took the time to reply to this thread and care about me, I really appreciate it. While this result is definitely disappointing, really it's only strengthened my resolve to be an even better candidate next year. peace ✌️
You got it next week bro, keep on improving.
 
@navy/airforce-hopeful kid

I highly recommend you get a pull up bar and start working on that now. Practice every day and work your way up, you will improve. Also, the Bball throw is all about technique so it’s something you have to practice for. There are good YouTube videos on the technique. DS started at low 40s and worked his way up to mid 50s after some practice. Best of luck!!
 
You are probably not going to gain much upper body strength in one week, so focus on your technique. Watch the YouTube videos and make your goal to improve on today's "practice test". Maybe you'll improve enough for USAFA to request a retake. Good luck.
 
Thanks for asking, I was just about to post an update. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice, and thank you to Justdoit who told me to bring a positive mental attitude. I was pretty down in the dumps when I originally made this post, and you guys helped bring me out of it a bit. Also thanks to IggyMom for putting my scores through the calculator.

I indeed took the test today during 3rd period in school. Long story short: I 100% did not pass. Don't need a calculator to know that, lol. I'm not down about it though because I know I'll do better when I re-apply next year. My gym teacher also wants me to re-do it next week, so I may have another chance for the class of '27 👀

Before the test even began I got told by my gym teacher that we were going to have a fire drill in half an hour, so I'd have to hurry, lol. Off to a bit of a bad start. The test started and I put up the following scores:

42ft BB throw - 3 pull ups - 9.6 sec shuttle - 83 crunches - 31 pushups - 6:07 mile

I did better than I thought on the throw and the shuttle. (not that either of them were at all good) I did way worse on the pushups than I was expecting. I'm aware of how stupid I sound writing this, but I've never actually seen myself doing pushups. No one's ever filmed me before, or told me how bad my form is: terrible. I genuinely don't think the academy will count a single one. The same probably goes for the pullups too, as it looks like my chin was moreover at the bar rather than above it. At least I was expecting to do poorly on that one, though.
I was also hoping to do better on the crunches and mile, but I think I should be able to do a little better on those next time.

Again, thank you to all who took the time to reply to this thread and care about me, I really appreciate it. While this result is definitely disappointing, really it's only strengthened my resolve to be an even better candidate next year. peace ✌️
For the BB throw, as everyone else is saying, it's totally about technique. When I took my first practice CFA I threw low 30-something and after only a week of trying out what techniques worked best for me, I got in the high 40s (f). What worked for me was using my whole body for the throw, and really taking advantage of being able to rotate yourself to catapult the ball. I thought of it as "throwing it with your hips" to get good rotational movement that can translate into your shoulders and the rest of your arm. You got this!
 
Thanks for asking, I was just about to post an update. Thank you to everyone who gave me advice, and thank you to Justdoit who told me to bring a positive mental attitude. I was pretty down in the dumps when I originally made this post, and you guys helped bring me out of it a bit. Also thanks to IggyMom for putting my scores through the calculator.

I indeed took the test today during 3rd period in school. Long story short: I 100% did not pass. Don't need a calculator to know that, lol. I'm not down about it though because I know I'll do better when I re-apply next year. My gym teacher also wants me to re-do it next week, so I may have another chance for the class of '27 👀

Before the test even began I got told by my gym teacher that we were going to have a fire drill in half an hour, so I'd have to hurry, lol. Off to a bit of a bad start. The test started and I put up the following scores:

42ft BB throw - 3 pull ups - 9.6 sec shuttle - 83 crunches - 31 pushups - 6:07 mile

I did better than I thought on the throw and the shuttle. (not that either of them were at all good) I did way worse on the pushups than I was expecting. I'm aware of how stupid I sound writing this, but I've never actually seen myself doing pushups. No one's ever filmed me before, or told me how bad my form is: terrible. I genuinely don't think the academy will count a single one. The same probably goes for the pullups too, as it looks like my chin was moreover at the bar rather than above it. At least I was expecting to do poorly on that one, though.
I was also hoping to do better on the crunches and mile, but I think I should be able to do a little better on those next time.

Again, thank you to all who took the time to reply to this thread and care about me, I really appreciate it. While this result is definitely disappointing, really it's only strengthened my resolve to be an even better candidate next year. peace ✌️
Our failures are how we grow. So they are necessary. You are right, that this served a purpose: strengthening your resolve for next year.

Can’t wait to hear what a beast you are, next go around. You will have some great essay material, too 💯!!
 
Hello everyone, I'm back 6 weeks later to give a little update post for those who care to read. When I originally made this post, I was in a bit of a sour mood because I was days away from taking my first CFA, which I was sure I was going to fail. More details are above. Since my first update/first CFA, some more stuff has happened.

I took my next CFA a week later, 1 day before the USAFA deadline. Overall, I improved my scores by a little bit, but mostly it was more of the same. These scores are the ones my gym teacher submitted. To my surprise, they actually were considered passing, or at least 'qualifying' for USNA. However, USAFA requested a retake within the next 30 days.

Since then, I've trained intensely and consistently to train to improve my scores wherever possible as much as possible. I made a training plan which, save for a little sickness I had a week ago, I was able to follow tightly. This consisted of gym workouts, pushup/pullup workouts, easy runs, repeat workouts on the track, basketball throw practice, and crunches at home. Today, I took my third and final CFA for USAFA, hoping to give it one last chance to pass, as this was my final unchecked item on my portal.

Unfortunately, my scores were considered failing. I emailed Team Blue afterwards and they confirmed this over email within an hour. For this process however, I am grateful. I pushed myself harder and trained more than I thought possible to try to realize my goal of qualifying for the Air Force Academy. And although I was unsuccessful at meeting this goal, isn't the journey worth more than the destination? 😀

Thanks to everyone who replied to this post a month ago and gave me encouragement, it really meant a lot. This is the nicest online forum I've ever seen in my life.

For reference, my score progression was:

1/10/23 ----- 1/19/23 ----- 2/15/23

42ft ----- 42ft ----- 41ft

0 pullups (3 with DQ form) ----- 4 pullups ----- 5 pullups

9.67 seconds ----- 9.58 seconds ----- 9.58 seconds

83 sit-ups ----- 87 sit-ups ----- 94 sit-ups

0 pushups (31 with DQ form) ----- 21 pushups ----- 19 pushups

6:09 mile ----- 6:03 mile ----- 5:49 mile
 
@navy/airforce-hopeful kid, thank you for sharing your journey despite the disappointing outcome. It speaks to your maturity and thoughtfulness. By being so honest and forthcoming, you’re helping many who will come after you. That, by itself, demonstrates the leadership that the SAs seek.

Yours is a cautionary tale to those who fixate on the things they can’t control (LOA, competitiveness of district, responsiveness of ALO, etc.) rather than on the things they do control. The CFA is 100% in the candidate’s control (barring illness or injury) and yet so many applicants slack in their training or put off the test until it’s too late. The predominance of “are these passing scores?” posts is evidence of this.

So to the lurkers out there: You know the CFA is important, you know there’s a deadline, you know many applicants fail. You also know that it’s something fully in your control. So focus there and start now!
 
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Hello everyone, I'm back 6 weeks later to give a little update post for those who care to read. When I originally made this post, I was in a bit of a sour mood because I was days away from taking my first CFA, which I was sure I was going to fail. More details are above. Since my first update/first CFA, some more stuff has happened.

I took my next CFA a week later, 1 day before the USAFA deadline. Overall, I improved my scores by a little bit, but mostly it was more of the same. These scores are the ones my gym teacher submitted. To my surprise, they actually were considered passing, or at least 'qualifying' for USNA. However, USAFA requested a retake within the next 30 days.

Since then, I've trained intensely and consistently to train to improve my scores wherever possible as much as possible. I made a training plan which, save for a little sickness I had a week ago, I was able to follow tightly. This consisted of gym workouts, pushup/pullup workouts, easy runs, repeat workouts on the track, basketball throw practice, and crunches at home. Today, I took my third and final CFA for USAFA, hoping to give it one last chance to pass, as this was my final unchecked item on my portal.

Unfortunately, my scores were considered failing. I emailed Team Blue afterwards and they confirmed this over email within an hour. For this process however, I am grateful. I pushed myself harder and trained more than I thought possible to try to realize my goal of qualifying for the Air Force Academy. And although I was unsuccessful at meeting this goal, isn't the journey worth more than the destination? 😀

Thanks to everyone who replied to this post a month ago and gave me encouragement, it really meant a lot. This is the nicest online forum I've ever seen in my life.

For reference, my score progression was:

1/10/23 ----- 1/19/23 ----- 2/15/23

42ft ----- 42ft ----- 41ft

0 pullups (3 with DQ form) ----- 4 pullups ----- 5 pullups

9.67 seconds ----- 9.58 seconds ----- 9.58 seconds

83 sit-ups ----- 87 sit-ups ----- 94 sit-ups

0 pushups (31 with DQ form) ----- 21 pushups ----- 19 pushups

6:09 mile ----- 6:03 mile ----- 5:49 mile
While the outcome was not what you wanted for USAFA, please step back and realize how much you have grown through this. You made a training plan, you executed it, you improved, you tried, you experienced what is like to work for something but still fall short - these are priceless experiences which help strengthen your adult toolkit for adversities to come. You learned it is better to get things done early than leave them late.

Don’t slack off on your PT program. That is a lifelong gift to yourself.

If you still want Air Force via USAFA, re-attack. Execute your alternate plan, perhaps with AFROTC. Be an outstanding new cadet, academic performer and a PT fiend. Go through the re-application process and blow the CFA away this coming summer or fall. Note in your essays how you tackled your own personal makeover in this aspect of performance and how you have grown.

If you want this, go after it. You may also find that AFROTC is a great fit for you.
 
Hello everyone, I'm back 6 weeks later to give a little update post for those who care to read. When I originally made this post, I was in a bit of a sour mood because I was days away from taking my first CFA, which I was sure I was going to fail. More details are above. Since my first update/first CFA, some more stuff has happened.

I took my next CFA a week later, 1 day before the USAFA deadline. Overall, I improved my scores by a little bit, but mostly it was more of the same. These scores are the ones my gym teacher submitted. To my surprise, they actually were considered passing, or at least 'qualifying' for USNA. However, USAFA requested a retake within the next 30 days.

Since then, I've trained intensely and consistently to train to improve my scores wherever possible as much as possible. I made a training plan which, save for a little sickness I had a week ago, I was able to follow tightly. This consisted of gym workouts, pushup/pullup workouts, easy runs, repeat workouts on the track, basketball throw practice, and crunches at home. Today, I took my third and final CFA for USAFA, hoping to give it one last chance to pass, as this was my final unchecked item on my portal.

Unfortunately, my scores were considered failing. I emailed Team Blue afterwards and they confirmed this over email within an hour. For this process however, I am grateful. I pushed myself harder and trained more than I thought possible to try to realize my goal of qualifying for the Air Force Academy. And although I was unsuccessful at meeting this goal, isn't the journey worth more than the destination? 😀

Thanks to everyone who replied to this post a month ago and gave me encouragement, it really meant a lot. This is the nicest online forum I've ever seen in my life.

For reference, my score progression was:

1/10/23 ----- 1/19/23 ----- 2/15/23

42ft ----- 42ft ----- 41ft

0 pullups (3 with DQ form) ----- 4 pullups ----- 5 pullups

9.67 seconds ----- 9.58 seconds ----- 9.58 seconds

83 sit-ups ----- 87 sit-ups ----- 94 sit-ups

0 pushups (31 with DQ form) ----- 21 pushups ----- 19 pushups

6:09 mile ----- 6:03 mile ----- 5:49 mile
Keep on working for next year bro, you got this
 
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