What Does MEPS Check For? Comprehensive Guide to Military Entrance Requirements

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

So you’re considering joining the military, but you’re unsure about what to expect at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). MEPS plays a crucial role in determining your eligibility for service, and understanding what they check for can help you prepare better.

From medical evaluations to aptitude tests, MEPS ensures that every recruit meets the standards required for military duty. This comprehensive screening process might seem overwhelming, but knowing what to expect can make it less daunting and set you on the right path to a successful enlistment.

Understanding MEPS and Its Role

What Is MEPS?

The Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) determines if you are qualified to serve in the armed forces. There are 65 MEPS locations across the United States. At these locations, professionals conduct medical evaluations, aptitude tests, and background checks. They ensure that all applicants meet the stringent requirements for military service.

The Importance of MEPS in Military Enlistment

MEPS plays a crucial role in the enlistment process. It ensures that individuals are medically, physically, and mentally prepared for military duty. Without passing these exams, you can’t proceed with your enlistment. MEPS professionals evaluate your health through various tests, including vision, hearing, and blood pressure assessments. Mental aptitude isn’t ignored; the ASVAB test measures your abilities and helps match you with suitable military roles. Background checks confirm there are no disqualifying factors like criminal records. MEPS ensures that only qualified, well-rounded individuals join the military.

Physical Examinations at MEPS

Physical exams at the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) ensure candidates meet stringent health standards for military service. These exams cover several key areas to verify overall fitness.

Vision and Hearing Tests

MEPS assesses your visual and auditory capabilities. Vision tests include visual acuity, color vision, and depth perception checks. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you’ll need to bring them. The hearing test measures your ability to detect tones at varying frequencies and volumes. Passing these tests confirms that you can effectively perform in various military roles, which often require sharp eyesight and acute hearing.

Blood and Urine Tests

Blood and urine tests at MEPS evaluate your general health and screen for diseases. Blood tests check for anemia, infections, and other medical conditions. A complete blood count (CBC) and a metabolic panel are typically part of this process. The urine test screens for substance abuse and specific medical issues, such as diabetes and kidney disorders. These tests ensure that candidates maintain a healthy lifestyle, free from drug use, before entering service.

Mental and Psychological Evaluations

MEPS ensures recruits meet mental and emotional standards. These evaluations assess cognitive abilities and psychological stability to confirm readiness for military duties.

Cognitive Testing

MEPS conducts tests to evaluate cognitive functions. These tests measure memory, reasoning, and problem-solving skills. The aim is to ensure recruits can handle the mental demands of military tasks. A popular tool used is the ASVAB, which includes sections specifically designed to assess cognitive abilities. If you perform well, it indicates strong mental sharpness essential for various military roles.

Psychological Screening

Psychological screening at MEPS assesses emotional health and stability. Recruits answer questions about their mental health history and undergo interviews. This screening identifies any psychological conditions that could impact military performance. Conditions like depression or anxiety disorders are evaluated carefully. Your responses help military personnel determine if you’re fit to handle the stress and emotional challenges of service.

Moral and Background Checks

MEPS also conducts extensive moral and background checks to confirm recruits’ suitability for military service. These checks ensure that new recruits adhere to the ethical and conduct standards required by the military.

Criminal History Review

MEPS evaluates your criminal history to determine your eligibility. They’ll review any arrests, charges, or convictions on your record. Even minor offenses can impact your eligibility. For instance, a history of theft or assault may disqualify you. Serious offenses often lead to disqualification, although waivers may be granted in some cases. It’s critical to provide honest and complete information about your criminal history.

Substance Abuse Testing

Substance abuse testing is another crucial part of MEPS background checks. They’ll conduct urinalysis to detect illegal drugs in your system. This test screens for substances like marijuana, cocaine, and amphetamines, among others. Testing positive disqualifies you from enlistment. Also, MEPS may review past substance abuse history, so honesty is essential. Maintaining a clean record is crucial for passing this part of the evaluation.

By thoroughly examining an individual’s criminal history and substance abuse record, MEPS ensures the highest moral and ethical standards in military recruits.


MEPS plays a critical role in ensuring that only qualified and capable individuals join the military. By conducting thorough medical, cognitive, and psychological evaluations, along with detailed background checks, MEPS upholds the high standards required for military service. Honesty and transparency during this process are essential for success. If you’re planning to enlist, understanding what MEPS checks for and preparing accordingly can help you navigate the process smoothly and meet the necessary criteria.


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