What If You Fail MEPS? Here’s What to Do Next

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Failing the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) can feel like a major setback, especially when you’ve set your heart on joining the armed forces. MEPS is a crucial step in the enlistment process, assessing your physical, medical, and moral qualifications. But what happens if you don’t pass?

You might think a failed MEPS means the end of your military aspirations, but that’s not always the case. There are several steps you can take to address the issues that led to your disqualification. Understanding your options can help you navigate this challenge and keep your dreams of serving your country alive.

Understanding MEPS and Its Importance

What Is MEPS?

MEPS stands for Military Entrance Processing Station. It’s where prospective service members undergo evaluations to determine their eligibility for enlistment in the armed forces. You’ll encounter various tests, including medical, physical, and psychological assessments. These evaluations ensure you meet the military’s stringent standards.

For instance, the medical examination checks for conditions that might affect your ability to serve, while the physical tests assess your fitness level. Aptitude tests ensure you possess the necessary skills and mental capabilities. The process is thorough to maintain a capable and healthy military force.

Why Is Passing MEPS Crucial?

Passing MEPS is crucial for a straightforward reason: it’s the gateway to your military career. If you can’t pass, you’re barred from enlistment. The military has high standards to ensure all personnel can handle the demands of service. Meeting these standards confirms you’re ready for the challenges ahead.

If you fail any part of MEPS, it can delay or end your enlistment process. While failing isn’t always the end, it presents significant hurdles. If disqualified, you might need to address specific issues, which can take time and effort. Hence, preparing well for MEPS is essential to pursue your goal of serving your country.

Common Reasons for Failing MEPS

Exploring the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) can be tricky. You face several evaluations to prove you’re ready to serve. Missing the mark might delay or halt your enlistment. But, understanding why people fail MEPS sheds light on how to prepare better.

Medical Disqualifications

Medical disqualifications represent the most common reason for failing MEPS. Specific conditions include asthma, heart issues, and vision impairments. If you disclose a history of asthma, MEPS might subject you to additional tests, particularly pulmonary function tests. Those with heart conditions like arrhythmias or heart murmurs often need a cardiologist’s evaluation. Vision impairments, such as severe myopia, might also disqualify you if uncorrectable to meet military standards. Also, mental health issues, including depression or anxiety, typically require detailed evaluations and recent treatment records to assess current stability.

Administrative Issues

Administrative issues also lead to MEPS failures. Missing documents can delay your processing significantly. Ensure you bring complete medical records, identification, and required paperwork. Incomplete or inaccurate forms often result in disqualification until corrections occur. Also, failing background checks due to undisclosed criminal records or recent substance abuse violations presents other stumbling blocks. Honesty in your disclosures is crucial to avoid future complications. If you can’t resolve these issues swiftly, your enlistment might face prolonged delays.

Understanding these common pitfalls helps you better prepare, ensuring a smoother path through MEPS.

What Happens After Failing MEPS?

Failing the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) can be disheartening, but it’s vital to understand what comes next. Prospective service members still have options to explore and actions to take.

Immediate Consequences

Failing MEPS, you’ll face immediate consequences affecting your enlistment process. Medical disqualifications require you to address specific health issues. Administrative problems, like incomplete paperwork, result in rescheduling your MEPS appointment. Delays can keep you from a quick reattempt unless rectified promptly.

Reevaluation and Waiver Process

After failing MEPS, you might qualify for reevaluation. This process involves additional testing or consultations with specialists, particularly for medical concerns. For example, individuals with disqualifying conditions like asthma might undergo further pulmonary tests.

In some cases, you can apply for a waiver. Waivers are exceptions granted based on the nature of your disqualification and its impact on military service. Successfully obtaining a waiver demands comprehensive documentation and, often, an endorsement from a recruiting officer. This path might be viable for conditions that can be managed effectively, like minor vision impairments with corrective lenses.

Understanding these processes is crucial for overcoming the hurdles and continuing your pursuit of a military career.

Steps to Take If You Fail MEPS

Failing MEPS feels devastating, but it isn’t the end of your military dreams. There are practical steps you can take to get back on track.

Seeking Medical Advice

Consult a Trusted Physician

First, see a trusted physician to understand why you failed MEPS. They can provide a detailed medical evaluation. This step’s crucial, as you need to identify any health issues that led to the disqualification.

Address Underlying Issues

Address any underlying medical conditions. For instance, if high blood pressure caused the disqualification, a doctor might recommend lifestyle changes or medication. Resolving these issues improves your chances during reevaluation.

Collect Medical Documentation

Gather all relevant medical documents. This includes test results, treatment records, and physician statements. These documents support your case if you appeal the MEPS decision.

Preparing for Possible Reevaluation

Review MEPS Requirements

Familiarize yourself with MEPS standards again. Understanding these requirements helps you know what to expect and how to prepare effectively.

Improve Physical Fitness

Enhance your physical fitness. Engage in regular workouts focusing on areas the MEPS tests cover, like cardiovascular health and muscle strength. Improved fitness boosts your reevaluation prospects.

Seek Professional Guidance

Consider seeking advice from military recruiters or mentors who understand the MEPS process. They offer valuable insights on preparation strategies. Knowing what to expect reduces anxiety and increases confidence.

Track Progress

Keep a log of your medical and fitness improvements. Document your journey so you have tangible evidence of progress. This journal can be powerful during the reevaluation.

If you fail MEPS, don’t lose hope. By following these steps, you can address the issues and improve your chances of joining the military.


Failing MEPS can feel like a significant setback but it’s not the end of your military aspirations. By taking proactive steps like seeking medical advice addressing health issues and preparing for reevaluation you can improve your chances of success. Use resources such as recruiters and mentors to guide you through the process. Stay committed to your goals and remember, overcoming these challenges can make you a stronger candidate. Your determination and effort can eventually lead you to a rewarding career in the military.


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