First Step at MEPS: What to Expect When You Arrive

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Stepping into the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s the gateway to your military career, where you’ll undergo a series of evaluations to determine your qualifications. But what’s the first thing you do once you arrive?

Understanding the initial steps can help ease some of that anxiety and set you up for a smoother experience. From checking in to beginning your medical and aptitude tests, knowing what to expect will make the process less daunting. Let’s jump into the very first actions you’ll take at MEPS to kickstart your journey.

Understanding the MEPS Process

What Is MEPS?

MEPS, or Military Entrance Processing Station, is where your military career begins. It serves as a one-stop station for medical screening, aptitude testing, and enlistment processing. The primary purpose of MEPS is to ensure you’re qualified for military service based on several standards.

The Initial Steps Upon Arrival

Upon arriving at MEPS, the first thing you’ll do is check in at the designated desk. This step involves presenting identification and any necessary documents. Afterward, you’ll receive instructions on where to store your personal belongings for the duration of your stay.

Next, you’ll undergo a comprehensive medical examination. This includes vision and hearing tests, blood work, urinalysis, and a physical exam conducted by medical professionals. This thorough evaluation ensures that only those meeting the health standards proceed to the next steps.

Following the medical exams, you’ll take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), a series of tests measuring your strengths and potential for training in various military occupations. Scoring well on the ASVAB opens up more opportunities for specialized roles.

Finally, you’ll have a one-on-one meeting with a career counselor. This meeting helps align your skills and interests with available military positions. The counselor will guide you through selecting a job that fits both your aspirations and the needs of the military.

By understanding these initial steps at MEPS, you can approach the process with confidence, knowing what to expect and how to prepare.

Key Activities During Your MEPS Visit

Your visit to MEPS involves several sequential activities designed to determine your qualification for military service.

Medical Examinations

Medical examinations at MEPS include thorough health evaluations. You’ll undergo vision and hearing tests, blood work, and a physical exam. Vision tests assess your eyesight clarity, while hearing tests measure your auditory acuity. Blood work screens for diseases and drug use, and the physical exam evaluates your overall health. It’s vital to disclose any medical history accurately to avoid future complications.

Aptitude Testing

Aptitude testing uses the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This test assesses your knowledge and abilities across various domains, such as math, science, and verbal skills. Your ASVAB score determines your eligibility for specific military roles, aligning your strengths with suitable job positions. Focused preparation can significantly impact your results, enhancing your career prospects.

Job Counseling

Job counseling at MEPS matches your skills and interests with available military roles. A career counselor reviews your ASVAB scores and discusses potential career paths. They provide insights into each role’s duties and advancement opportunities. This guidance ensures you select a position that aligns with your career goals and personal strengths.

Preparing for Your MEPS Experience

Preparation before heading to MEPS significantly impacts your experience. Knowing what to bring and what to expect ensures you’re ready for every step.

What to Bring

Carry essential documents. A valid government-issued ID, Social Security card, and birth certificate are necessary. Your enlistment packet, which includes your completed medical pre-screen forms, is also vital. Pack a change of clothes, personal hygiene items, and any prescribed medications. Mark these items clearly to prevent any mix-ups. Bringing necessary documents and personal items helps streamline the MEPS process and reduces stress.

What to Expect

Expect a structured and thorough process at MEPS. First, you’ll check in and verify your identity. A briefing will follow, detailing the day’s schedule and requirements. Medical evaluations are comprehensive, including vision and hearing tests, blood work, urinalysis, and physical exams. Honesty in disclosing medical history is crucial to avoid future complications. Next, aptitude tests like the ASVAB assess your skills and knowledge across various domains, influencing your eligibility for specific military roles. Job counseling sessions align your abilities with available military positions, ensuring roles match your strengths and career goals. Anticipating these steps helps you navigate MEPS efficiently and confidently.


Understanding what to expect at MEPS can significantly reduce anxiety and help you navigate the process smoothly. From medical screenings and aptitude tests to job counseling, each step is designed to ensure you’re fit for military service and placed in a role that suits your skills and interests. Arriving prepared with all necessary documents and an honest medical history will make your experience more efficient. Embrace the structured process at MEPS as the first step in your military career, setting the foundation for a successful journey ahead.


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