What is the Beep Test?

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The beep test is a fitness test that was developed to measure a persons cardio vascular fitness level and maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 Max).

There are many different names for the beep test such as:

  • Beep Test
  • Multi Stage Fitness Test
  • Bleep Test
  • Pacer Test
  • Shuttle Run Test
  • 20 Metre Shuttle Run

There are probably even more names that the Beep Test is also known but the bottom line is that the purpose is always to try to accurately measure cardio fitness.

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Who uses the Beep Test?

There are many organisations and sporting clubs that use the beep test but as you would expect the majority of these organisations are testing for the suitability of an applicant to perform physically strenuous activities.

So whether it be an organisation such as a defence force, a police department or a sporting club, having a high cardio fitness level is usually a pre-requisite and usually the higher the better for your application.

Organisations that use the beep test

Here is a list of organisations that we know of that have used the beep test before or still do use it:

  • Western Australia Police
  • Australian Army
  • South Australia Police
  • Royal Australian Air Force
  • Royal Australian Navy
  • Metropolitan Fire Brigade
  • New South Wales Fire Brigades
  • New South Wales Police Force
  • Queensland Police Service
  • Victoria Police
  • British Army
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • Royal Air Force
  • Royal Navy
  • Royal Marines
  • Royal New Zealand Navy
  • Scottish Police
  • English and Welsh Police
  • S. League
  • Canadian Forces
  • Blackrock College
  • Terenure College

Sports that use the Beep Test:

  • AFL Football
  • NFL Football
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Rugby
  • Hockey
  • Netball
  • Handball
  • Tennis

If you know of any other organisations that we have missed, please let us know and we’ll add them on.

The Rules of the Beep Test

The rules are pretty straight forward, you run between two ends that are 20 metres apart. In order to conduct the test you will need the Beep Test Audio Program. The test is started by the voice over saying that the beep test will begin in 5 seconds, this is then followed by the sound of three beeps in quick succession which is when you take off.

There are 21 levels with each level having a number of shuttles, as you proceed through the levels the number of shuttles per level will increase. In order to successfully complete a shuttle, you are required to reach the end before the sound of the next beep. This next beep will indicate the start of the next shuttle, you must not take off from an end until that beep sounds.

The test will finish for you once you can no longer keep up with the beeps. Most tests will allow you to miss an end but then if you make the following end before the beep then you are still in the test. In this scenario, once you miss two ends in a row, this will be the finish of your test. However, your score will be the last end that you successfully completed, not the second end you missed.

Other details:

  • There are a total of 21 levels
  • The first level starts at a speed of 8.0 km/h
  • Levels elapsed times are between 60-66 seconds
  • With each new level the speed increases by 0.5 km/h (except from level 1 to 2 which increases by 1km)
  • Each levels speed remains constant, it only increases at the start of each new level
  • Each new level is indicated by 3 successive beeps or a ‘triple beep’
  • Each new shuttle is indicated by a single beep

Beep Test Levels

Shuttle Time
Total level
time (s)
Distance (m)Cumulative
Distance (m)
Cumulative Time
(min and seconds)

Kind regards,

Russell Kempster
Russell Kempster
Founder and Head Trainer, Prime Motion Training

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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