Before joining the Army, Navy or Air Force as part of the Australian Defence Force you will be required to complete both a pre-employment medical and fitness test. These tests assess both your physical fitness, your mental determination, and ensure you don't have any underlying medical conditions that could jeopardise not only your career, but also endanger your life and the life of your colleagues. 

The different services all have their own unique male and female entry requirements, which fall under the title of the Pre-Entry Fitness Assessment; otherwise known as a PFA. It requires all candidates to be able to complete a designated number of push-ups, sit-ups and a minimum score on a shuttle run. A shuttle run, or commonly referred to as a bleep test or multi-stage fitness test, requires you to run back and forth between two cones in time with a beep, which increases in speed periodically.

The medical exam itself is relatively straightforward and can't be prepared for. Either an Army or civilian doctor will look at your medical history and give you a thorough physical check-up. This can differ slightly from person to person but generally consists of performing basic bodyweight exercises and movements, to demonstrate that you have a strong musculoskeletal body. The doctor will check your ability to squat, walk on tiptoes, observe the dexterity of your joints and ask you questions about your willingness to participate in military training.

Preparing for the fitness tests is relatively simple. Developing overall body strength and cardiovascular endurance is essential for keeping interconnecting muscles strong and being able to maintain the pace of the shuttle run. Just focussing on push-ups and sit-ups alone is not the best approach to take; instead combine a variety of different exercises and techniques. However, incorporating the test into your weekly routine using perfect form is certainly advised. 

With the push-ups place your hands shoulder width apart and keep your elbows tucked in to the side of your body. Push all the way up before lowering yourself all the way down until your arms are at a 90-degree angle. Try to perform three to four sets twice a week, maxing out on your reps with each set. This will develop muscular endurance, which allow your muscles to work for longer periods of time. Varying your arm positions and placing your hands wider with each set will also ensure you have strong muscles across the chest and triceps.

Approach the sit-ups in exactly the same way, performing three to four sets of maximum reps. Get a friend to hold down your feet or hook them under a solid object and make sure your hands are held tightly across your chest at all times.