How to Excel at Army Basic Training


Forget the movies you've seen: Basic Training is challenging but not impossible. You won't be beaten up or hazed. You will, however, be pushed to your mental and physical limits. It is important to remember that the Army's Basic Training is the first step in a soldier's career and will require stamina, patience and preparation.

Things You'll Need

  • Workout gear
  • Computer and Internet connection
  • Soldier's manual

Be Prepared

  • Get in shape. If you are able to pass and exceed the standards on the Army Physical Fitness Test, your life will be much easier. Ask your Army recruiter what the standards are for your age group. You will have to complete a certain number of pushups and situps in two minutes and run 2 miles in a certain time. The more pushups and situps you can do, and the faster the run, the better off you will be. has numerous other tips under the "Soldier Life" tab.

  • Learn your basics before you get to Basic. There are seven "Army Values." Do you know them and what they mean? They are Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage. Ask your recruiter for a guide and memorize these values, and you'll be ahead of your peers when you step off the bus.

  • Like the Army Values, the "Soldier's Creed" is something you will have to know once you get to Basic Training. Memorize it ahead of time. If you already have it locked down, you'll have that much more time for writing letters, taking showers and sleeping--three activities you'll prefer over memorizing a long creed.

  • Accept that you know nothing. It doesn't matter if you've been camping since you were born or have trophies for marksmanship on your wall. Once you're in the Army, there is the right way, the wrong way and the Army way. The drill sergeants will teach you the Army way. Learn it. Ask questions if you don't understand, but remember that Basic Training is no time to display initiative. It is a time to shut up, do what you are told and learn to be a soldier. is an excellent resource to learn the Army way.

  • Help others. A foundation of soldiering is teamwork. If you have a battle buddy who can't quite seem to pass his PT test (but you can, since you got into shape before you got to Basic Training), help him. Go out of your way to aid your fellow trainees and they'll help you back. The drill sergeants will notice and leave you alone, or will assign you leadership responsibilities, which may help you get promoted early.

Tips & Warnings

  • Set your alarm for five minutes before wake-up call. That way you can shave, shower or get dressed without distractions.
  • Remember to eat quickly and eat balanced meals. Army food is quite good, but there is little time to consume it.
  • Don't show off. Quiet confidence is the key.

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