Getting ready to be a Rating

The Royal Navy joining process is rigorous. Like any physical or mental test, being prepared will give you the best chance of success. This section gives you more details about the Naval Service Recruitment Test (RT), the Pre-Joining Fitness Test (PJFT) and getting ready to join the Royal Navy.


The NSRT enables us to test your general intellectual ability, regardless of your existing academic qualifications. This gives us more information, and is a fair way of assessing all candidates on a level playing field.

The test has four different sections, which you’ll need to complete within a strict time limit. They measure your:

  • General reasoning- testing your mental agility with logic based questions
  • Verbal ability - assessing your understanding of language and ability to communicate
  • Numeracy - testing your numerical reasoning and basic mathematical ability
  • Mechanical comprehension - Assessing your understanding of basic mechanical principles

If you don’t pass the NSRT first time around, don’t worry – you can take it again. Your Careers Adviser will tell you what the timescales are likely to be.

To help you prepare, try a practice Recruiting Test.

Pre-Joining Fitness Test

For the PJFT, you’ll need to complete a 2.4km run on a treadmill, where you will be expected to push yourself to produce your best effort.

If you’re applying to the Diver Branch you’ll have to complete the run in 10 minutes 30 seconds regardless of your age.

If you’re going to excel at the PJFT (and in your initial training), it’s critical that you get in the best possible physical condition. We’ve put together a training schedule to get your fitness levels to where they should be.

Ideally you need to follow the programme for the full eight weeks prior to joining, so you can get the most out of it – and increase your chances of success. See more about getting Fit to Join here.

Select from the options below to see the running times and minimum standards for your age and gender.




15 - 24

12 mins 16 secs

14 mins 29 secs

25 - 29

12 mins 42 secs

14 mins 58 secs

30 - 34

13 mins 09 secs

15 mins 29 secs

35 - 39

13 mins 37 secs

16 mins 0 secs

Minimum pass time:


The four-day assessment takes place at our Acquaint Centres in two locations: HMS Collingwood in Hampshire and MOD Caledonia in Rosyth. 

The competency-based assessment process assesses whether you have the qualities to successfully become a rating, once you’ve completed your training. You can expect the following:

The course is designed to give you an introduction to life and work in the Royal Navy, including: 

  • Your initial Naval training programme
  • Our ethos and values
  • Kit, maintenance, drills, discipline, teamwork and personal responsibilities
  • The working environment of a surface warship or submarine
  • Fitness standards and healthy living
  • Weapon handling
  • The opportunity to speak to Royal Navy personnel

You will also have to successfully complete some fitness tests:

  • Swim 50 metres in under four minutes, wearing a swimming costume, and without touching the bottom or sides of the pool. You must enter and exit the pool unaided and without using steps
  • A series of assessed gym tests and an assessed group run

You must pass these tests to confirm you are ready to enter the Royal Navy. At the same time it's an opportunity for you to experience life in the Royal Navy and be sure you're prepared for the challenges ahead.