The test involves running continuously between two points that are 20 m apart. These runs are synchronized with a pre-recorded audio tape or CD, which plays beeps at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep reduces, forcing the athlete to increase velocity over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording.
The recording is typically structured into 23 'levels', each of which lasts around 63 seconds (the shortest level is level 16, lasting 60.45 seconds, the longest is level 2, lasting 67.8 seconds). Usually, the interval of beeps is calculated as requiring a speed at the start of 8.0 km/h, increasing by 0.5 km/h with each level. The progression from one level to the next is signaled by 3 rapid beeps. The highest level attained before failing to keep up is recorded as the score for that test. In Canada, the 17 Level beep test may be used instead.
This test is now used by the British Army, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ontario Provincial Police, Ontario FireRangers (forest fire), Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, Royal Marines as one of the basic measures of personal fitness. It is also used in the fitness test when one applies to be a Police Community Support Officer. The minimum level required for Royal Air Force Officers is 9.10, Army officers at selection is 10.2, and Royal Marine Officers at least 11.0. The Royal Navy has a varying level dependent on age and gender, and is only used a base level during the Admiralty Interview Board with the main test, a 2.4km run to be completed upon arrival at BRNC Dartmouth. The test is also used by the Royal New Zealand Navy, Australian Defence Force lvl 7.5, Metropolitan Fire Brigade lvl 9.6, NSW Fire Brigade lvl 9.6, NSW Police lvl 5.5, Canadian Forces, Delaware Military Academy, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and various Australian States.
|Level||Shuttles||Speed (km/h)||Seconds per shuttle||Total level time (s)||Distance (m)||Cumulative Distance (m)||Cumulative Time (min and seconds)|
|Total Time=||22:06 minutes and seconds|