After meeting with my recruiter, filling out the initial medical request papers, and studying for the ASVAB until I felt ready to test, I finally got scheduled to go to MEPS for my physical and ASVAB test on January 9, 2017. In Michigan, they only allow you to do both the test and physical on the same day on Mondays. Since I was going to have to take the day off work, I decided to get it all over with in one day. So I am going to break down everything for you from the night before, the testing, and exam details. (It’s going to be a long post, but I want to cover everything for you!)
My experience really started the night before my scheduled day at MEPS. I decided to stay in the hotel that was offered free of charge that night. MEPS had it’s on office inside of the hotel where you go to check in – you don’t have to reserve a room in advance, they already have your information so just sign in at the desk. I was assigned a room with a girl shipping out to the Navy basic training the next morning. After a brief meeting we are released to hang out around the hotel until curfew at 10pm. I went back to my room and tried to get as much sleep as I could because wake up call was going to be at 4:30am.
Right on time, the phone rang at 4:30am on Monday and we were to report down for breakfast with all of our belongings by 4:55. Breakfast was served, we all ate quickly thinking we would be rushed- but we weren’t, then we waited for further instructions. I drove my own car so I was instructed to pull up behind the bus and follow them over to the MEPS office. Nothing complicated, just pay attention and you’ll make it to MEPS!
Once at MEPS, everyone gets on the bus to listen to instructions about when you enter. Nothing ground breaking- just go through security, put your stuff in a locker, go to your branch liaison and get your name tag, and check in at the operations desk. The operations desk is where I got my file that I had to carry around with me all day. After I was checked in, they sent me to the Medical Wing where the phsyical exam began. One thing I should add: the MEPS building was FREEZING, I brought a jacket but wasn’t allowed to wear it to medical because it had a zipper all the way down (they consider that a coat)- they only allow hoodies and half-zip pull overs; I wish someone would have told me that before!
Hearing & Eye Exam
There is really not much to explain about these two portions of the exam. The hearing test consists of putting on headphones, listening for a faint beep, and pressing a button whenever you hear something. For the eye exam you will do the whole “close one eye and
read the smallest line possible” and then a couple tests I haven’t done before. The first was one to check if you can see colors. It looks like the picture on the left. You just have to read the number. You will also look at a line of circles and one circle is supposed to appear closer than the others, so you just tell them which circle looks closer. Just try to relax your eyes and do your best- not everyone was making it to the last level of this one.
Next, we were all brought into a classroom to go over rules and paperwork. Make sure you have your SSN and emergency contact person’s info memorized. You have to fill out the same type of medical paperwork you did with your recruiter- it’s important to listen to the person directing you. He wanted us to go at his pace and not get ahead of him- there were several guys in the room that weren’t listening and made mistakes. They were lucky, the doctor was very gracious- but I assume not everyone will be as lucky as these guys. It’s also important to remember what you initially wrote on your paperwork- they ask you the same questions a million times, and you want to be sure to stick to the same story! At the end of the briefing they took everyone’s blood pressure and gave everyone a breathalyzer test, then sent us on our way.
At this point they sent everyone taking the ASVAB out to take the test- anyone who already tested, continued on with the physical. I will not go into detail about the test and studying right now- keep a look out for another blog all about how I studied and managed to get a 91 on my test. As soon as I was finished with the test, I was given my paperwork to take to the operations desk, and the operations desk sent me right back into medical.
Blood & Urnine Testing
Try not to use the restroom before this point! If you can’t go pee when they want you to, you’ll end up being stuck drinking water for a long time in the lobby. Luckily, when I was out of the test I was ready to go! Yes, what you heard is true, someone will watch you go and I think this is why some people have so much trouble going- so just try to ignore them. Once you do fill your cup, you have to take it to the window, you have to watch the tech label it and stuff and verify your Social Security Number. There isn’t much to say about the blood test; you sit down, give them your arm and they take a small vile of your blood- then it’s over! I’m not a fan of needles, but I didn’t find this to be a big deal at all.
After the blood and urine test, I was told to wait to interview with the doctor (this was the first time I had to wait!). I didn’t have to wait too long, maybe 10-15 minutes. When you interview, the doctor pretty much just asks you the same questions that were on that medical paper you filled out earlier, and tries to collect any additional details. The doctors are picky and a little skeptical, but fortunately for me I’ve never had any medical issues, so they couldn’t really find any dirt on me. I heard you can get a waiver for most of the things that they do find, so if you have some medical complications in your past, don’t worry it probably isn’t such a bad thing! He also looked at my wrists, I guess to see if I had ever cut myself. He tried to make a big deal about two very faint scars on my right wrist that are less than an inch long. But I’m right-handed and I’ve had the scars since childhood, so he really couldn’t make anything of it. At the end of the interview he stamped and signed my paperwork and had me sign too; that was it.
Exam & Exercises
I should first mention, that this portion was a little different from anything else I had read because I was the only girl doing this at the time. There were only 2 girls processesing that day, and the other girl didn’t have to test, so we both went through our physical and exercises alone. At this point, I had to “strip down” to bra and panties to have my weight and height taken, I then had to put the paper gown on and nothing else for the physical exam. The doctor was a guy so he had a woman with him for the 1 on 1 exam. There wasn’t anything unexpected here: he listens to your breathing, checks your eyes, ears, bottoms of your feet, and spine. Ladies, he will feel your chest and stomach and then have you put your feet in the stirrups. No one enjoys this part but it’s not the end of the world- he moves your skin “down there” and just makes sure everything looks fine (nothing is inserted) it probably took less than a minute for that awkward part.
After the personal exam with the doctor, I went into the larger room and was able to put my undergarments back on. This is the part where you have to do strange movement so they can make sure you are mobile. I had to speed walk, squat, rotate wrists and ankles, kick, and do the “duck walk”, to name a few – I know there a lot of videos demonstrating the different exercises if you want to really know all about what you’ll have to do. But really, don’t worry about this part. It was weird because I was the only person performing these exercises, but it wasn’t hard. I’m sure if it was a room full of people it would be even easier because I wouldn’t have felt so awkward.
When I was finished with the “exercises” I got dressed and returned to the lobby to wait for them to sign off on my paper work. They gave me all of my files back to turn in to the operations desk. The operations desk took my paper work and sent me over to the Air Force office to finish up. The guys there had me do one more test- I had to lift a weight up over my head. If you lift: it would be like doing a dead lift and then lifting it all the way up over your head- I know there’s a name for this but I don’t know it! haha. The sergeant in the office was cool and he gave me a little help so that I could be cleared for lifting up to 100lbs- it just helps you qualify for more jobs. Once I did that, I was free to go! I just signed out at the desk and went home!
I was out of MEPS before 1pm. From what I understand, this is NOT NORMAL. My roommate the night before said she didn’t get out until 8pm. It all depends on how many people are at MEPS that day and how quickly they work to get you through. I was lucky to be one of the only girls. Even if it’s a long day, rest assured that it is nothing you can’t handle!