When Do You Go to MEPS? Key Timelines Explained

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Thinking about joining the military? One crucial step in the enlistment process is your visit to the Military Entrance Processing Station, commonly known as MEPS. This is where potential recruits undergo medical examinations, aptitude tests, and background screenings to ensure they meet the standards required for service.

But when exactly should you head to MEPS? Timing is everything, and knowing when to go can make the process smoother and less stressful. In this text, you’ll learn the key milestones that indicate it’s time to schedule your MEPS appointment, helping you stay on track toward your goal of serving in the military.

Understanding the MEPS Process

What Is MEPS?

The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) ensures you meet the required standards for military service. MEPS handles various evaluations, including medical, aptitude, and moral assessments. This station is where you transition from a civilian to a future military member.

The Role of MEPS in Military Enlistment

MEPS plays a vital role in determining your eligibility for service. The process includes several crucial steps:

  1. Medical Examination: A thorough medical check-up ensures you’re fit for service. Doctors examine your overall health, vision, hearing, and more.
  2. Aptitude Tests: The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test measures your strengths and potential for various military occupational specialties (MOS). Higher scores on this test open up more career opportunities.
  3. Background Checks: A detailed background review confirms your moral and legal eligibility for enlistment—any criminal record or legal issues factor into this step.
  4. Job Selection: Post-assessment, meet with a counselor to discuss your ASVAB scores and medical results. They guide you in choosing a suitable MOS based on your qualifications and interests.

The MEPS process ensures the right fit for both you and the military, helping to maintain readiness and operational effectiveness.

Preparing for MEPS

To navigate MEPS successfully, preparation is essential. Equipping yourself with the right information and materials ensures a smoother process and increases your confidence during evaluations.

Physical Requirements and Medical Examination

Before heading to MEPS, familiarize yourself with the physical requirements and medical examination procedures. MEPS doctors will examine your overall health, including vital signs, vision, hearing, and joint flexibility. Any previous surgeries, conditions, or ongoing medications should be documented. For instance, if you have corrective lenses, bring your prescription. Those susceptible to allergies must carry relevant medical records.

MEPS uses standardized benchmarks to assess physical fitness. Understand your body mass index (BMI) and other vital measures to avoid surprises. Fitness levels and body composition play a crucial role in determining your eligibility.

What to Bring to MEPS

Ensure you pack the necessary documents and items for MEPS. You’ll need:

  • Identification Documents: Bring two forms of ID, such as a driver’s license and Social Security card.
  • Medical Records: Include all relevant medical history documents, prescription details, and vaccination records.
  • Clothing: Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes and shoes suitable for physical examinations.
  • Personal Items: Carry basic toiletries for hygiene. If you need glasses or contacts, bring them along with a backup pair.

Meeting documentation requirements reduces stress at MEPS. Organize your materials in a folder for easy access. For example, a recruit failing to bring a crucial document might delay the process, adding unnecessary strain.

Preparation steps ensure resilience through MEPS, setting you up for success in your enlistment journey.

The Stages of MEPS

Exploring the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) involves several structured stages. Each stage ensures you’re prepared for military service and meet all required standards.

ASVAB Testing

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) assesses your strengths. MEPS administers this test to guide you towards roles that fit your capabilities. The ASVAB contains 10 subtests, including arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, and mechanical comprehension. Scoring well opens more opportunities suited to your skills. MEPS personnel will guide you through the testing process, ensuring you understand each section. A high score is crucial for accessing elite military roles. You can prepare by reviewing practice tests and focusing on weaker subject areas.

Medical and Physical Examination Details

MEPS conducts thorough medical and physical exams to determine your fitness for service. Examinations cover overall health, vision, hearing, and any underlying medical conditions. Physicians at MEPS will check for conditions that might disqualify you from service. You’ll undergo vision tests using eye charts and hearing exams to assess auditory acuity. Height and weight measurements ensure you meet military fitness standards.

During the medical exam, you might also need to provide a detailed medical history, covering past surgeries, medications, and any ongoing treatments. It’s essential to bring all relevant medical documents to avoid discrepancies. Physical aptitude also matters; you may perform exercises like push-ups and running to demonstrate readiness for physical training. Proper preparation and understanding the requirements increase your chances of passing these evaluations successfully.

After MEPS: What’s Next?

MEPS is a crucial step in the enlistment process, but it’s just the beginning. So, what’s the next step? Keep reading to find out what awaits you after successfully exploring MEPS.

Receiving Your Military Job Assignment

After MEPS, the next major milestone is getting your military job assignment. Your ASVAB scores and medical results play a significant role here. Each branch of the military has its own set of jobs, also known as Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) or ratings.

Factors Influencing Job Assignment:

  1. ASVAB Scores: Higher scores expand your job options.
  2. Medical Qualifications: Certain jobs require specific physical standards.
  3. Service Needs: Branch priorities may affect the availability of certain roles.

Once assigned, you’ll get notified of your MOS and receive detailed information about the role, including necessary training and any special requirements.

The Timeline from MEPS to Basic Training

With your job assignment in hand, the countdown to Basic Training begins. The timeline can vary but generally follows these steps:

  1. Job Assignment Confirmation: Typically occurs shortly after MEPS.
  2. DEP Enlistment: You might enter the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), which can last from a few weeks to several months before shipping out.
  3. Shipping Out: You’ll receive orders detailing your basic training start date and location.

Use the DEP period wisely. Focus on physical conditioning and familiarize yourself with what to expect at Basic Training.

Keep these stages in mind to stay prepared and know exactly what comes next after MEPS.


Understanding when to go to MEPS is crucial for your military enlistment journey. It’s not just about passing tests; it’s about setting the stage for your future military career. By staying prepared and knowing what to expect, you can navigate the process smoothly. From ASVAB scores to medical evaluations, each step at MEPS brings you closer to your goal. Keep focused on the requirements and timelines, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful transition from civilian life to serving in the military.


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