Beep Test Protocols


Component of fitness assessed: Aerobic/cardiorespiratory fitness

The 20-metre shuttle run test has been shown to be a valid field test indicator of VO2max (Léger & Lambert, 1982; Ramsbottom, Brewer & Williams, 1988). VO2max is the scientific term which represents a person’s aerobic power, or aerobic ‘fitness’. The 20-metre shuttle run test (20mSRT) will be conducted indoors on a wooden gymnasium floor surface. You will be divided into groups of a suitable number to provide you with the recommended 1-1.5 metres of personal space in which to safely run the course. The 20mSRT involves running back and forth over a 20-metre course, keeping in time with auditory ‘beeps’ emitted from a CD player. Your running speed is quite slow at first; however, this speed increases 0.5 kph approximately every minute. This is called a change in ‘level’. You must continue to run for as long as you can keep pace with the beeps.


  1. You will be asked to position yourself on the start-line at one end of the 20-metre course, with your group evenly spaced. The audio CD will alert you that the test will start in 5 seconds, with the sound of a ‘triple beep’.
  2. When the test starts, you need to jog the 20 metres so that your arrival at the opposite end line coincides with the next single beep. When you arrive, you need to place one foot on or over the line, pivot and turn, making your way back to the ‘start’ line in time for the next single beep. If you arrive at either end of the course prior to the beep, you must wait there until the beep sounds before making your way back in the opposite direction.
  3. After approximately each minute, a triple beep will sound, indicating the start of the next ‘level’ of the test. Each time this occurs, the time between beeps decreases. Your running speed must then increase to maintain the required pace.
  4. You must continue back and forth over the 20-metre course until you can no longer reach the end lines in time with the beeps. The test finishes when you (a) reach volitional exhaustion and cannot go any further, or (b) you record two consecutive misses at reaching the lines in time for the beep. Once either of these occurs, your test is finished and your score will be recorded as the last successfully completed level and shuttle. Once you have finished the test, you will be directed to cool down by slowly moving around away from the test area.

Score Requirement

All applicants must achieve a score of ≥ 5.01

≥ means greater than or equal to.

Other Beep Test Notes

Apart from the test being stopped for the reasons already presented, it may also be stopped in the following circumstances:

  • if it is deemed that you have interfered with the progress of another Applicant during the test, either by blocking their path or crashing into them;
  • if your shoelace(s) becomes undone, presenting a tripping hazard which may cause danger to yourself and/or others;
  • if, at the discretion of staff members administering the test, you appear to be experiencing serious health issues (e.g. chest pains, dizziness, uncoordinated movement).

About the Author

Russell Kempster

Russell Kempster

Russ spent 12 years as a police officer with Victoria Police. The last four years of that time was spent at the Victoria Police Academy as an instructor, where he taught everything from fitness to firearms. He has trained police applicants, as well as recruits undergoing their initial training, experienced serving police officers and was even called on by Victoria Police to help train other would-be police academy instructors.

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