Individual physical proficiency test
The Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) is a standard physical fitness test used by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), Singapore Police Force (SPF) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to test the basic components of physical fitness and motor skills of their members. The IPPT is applicable to all eligible persons with National Service (NS) liability, including Full-Time National Servicemen (NSFs), Operationally-Ready National Servicemen (NSmen, or reservists), and regulars. The test presently consists of three stations: sit-up, push-up, and 2.4 kilometres run. Based on their age, sex and vocation, persons taking the IPPT are required to meet certain standards under the IPPT Standards and Scoring System in order to pass the test. As of October 2013[update], about 116,000 people take the IPPT every year. Personnel who are classified in PES E are exempt from participating in this test. (PES refers to Physical Employment Status)
When National Service was first introduced in Singapore in 1967, the physical fitness test included a 4.8 kilometres run to be completed within 30 minutes, and the completion of 9.6 kilometres within 70 minutes while wearing the skeletal battle order (a type of load-bearing equipment). In 1979, this test was replaced by the IPPT, which consisted of five stations: push-up, sit-up, chin-up, half-knee bend and 2.4 kilometres run. The half-knee bend component was removed in 1981.
The current format of the IPPT was adapted from the National Physical Fitness Assessment (NAPFA) test protocol developed by the Singapore Sports Council in 1980–81 and was launched in 1982. Its standards were derived from a NAPFA study, in which the results were scientifically compiled and calibrated to fairly address the various physical fitness abilities of different age groups. Prior to 2015, the IPPT consisted of five stations: sit-up, standing broad jump, chin-up, 4 x 10 metres shuttle run and 2.4 kilometres run.
On 1 April 2011, the Enhanced NS IPPT system for NSmen was implemented, incorporating principles of physical training science to enable servicemen to train more effectively and giving them greater flexibility in managing their training schedules.
In late 2013, Singapore's Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) announced that it is considering implementing key changes to the IPPT system to put it in line with the fitness tests used in the Australian and United States armed forces. Some of these changes include: removing the standing broad jump station; adding push-up as a test criterion; extending the distance of the current 2.4 kilometres run to 3.2 kilometres.
On 23 July 2014, Ng Eng Hen, Singapore's Defence Minister, mentioned in a post on Facebook that the IPPT will be reduced from five stations to three: The standing broad jump, chin-up, and 4 x 10 metres shuttle run stations will be removed – with the sit-up station and 2.4 kilometres run kept intact – and a new station, push-up, will be added. The details of the scoring system of the new IPPT were announced by MINDEF on 24 July. Under this new scoring system, a person has to accumulate a minimum total number of points from all three stations to pass or qualify for the Gold, Silver or Pass with Incentive standard. The updated IPPT format was rolled out in 2015.
The IPPT is applicable to all NSFs, NSmen and regulars who hold the Physical Employment Status (PES) of A, B/B1 or B2/C1. All IPPT-eligible servicemen and servicewomen are assigned IPPT windows based on their birthdays. The window opens on his/her birthday and closes on the day before his/her next birthday.
The IPPT Standards and Scoring System is based on the person's age, sex and vocation. IPPT-eligible persons are grouped based on their birthdays into six different age categories (X, Y, Y1, Z, Z1, Z2/V) ranging from below 25 years old to 49 years old. There are four IPPT vocation groupings: Commandos/Divers; Guards; Combat; Service. The Scoring System awards grades and points to the raw scores obtained by the person at each of the five test stations. The person is required to obtain a minimum grade for each station and accumulate a minimum total number of points for all stations in order to pass the IPPT. Based on his/her score, the person may be awarded the Gold, Silver or Pass standard, and he/she may receive a monetary incentive accordingly.
NSFs and regularsEdit
NSFs and regulars are required to attempt the IPPT at least once in every IPPT window which follows the 31 March/ 1 April work year. For certain vocations, such as Commandos and Divers, personnel are required to obtain the Gold standard in the IPPT. To qualify for admission to the Officer Cadet School or Specialist Cadet School, recruits undergoing Basic Military Training have to obtain either a Gold or Silver standard in the IPPT before they pass out – in addition to fulfilling other requirements.
For a NSman, his IPPT annual requirement commences on his birthday immediately after his Operational Ready Date (ORD) and ends when he is posted to the MINDEF Reserves or when he is medically downgraded to PES C2 or below. Before the scheme update on 1 September 2014, NSmen had to attempt the IPPT at least once within the first nine months of every IPPT window. The IPPT may be taken either during their annual In-Camp Training (ICT) or other times. In the former case, the IPPT is usually conducted during every ICT so NSmen have to take it unless they are exempted. In the latter case, the IPPT is conducted at various test centres around Singapore and NSmen are allowed to make as many attempts as they wish, provided that they have not already obtained the Gold standard. Besides, the NSman receives pay for only the first three attempts, which are also considered towards his NS liability. Based on the former IPPT Gazette under the Enlistment Act (dated 26 May 2006), any NSman who did not attempt or did not pass the IPPT within the first nine months of his IPPT window had to attend and complete a series of 20 Remedial Training (RT) sessions within the last three months of his IPPT window at any Singapore Armed Forces Fitness and Conditioning Centre (SAF FCC).
Before the scheme update NSmen are also allowed to attend a voluntary IPPT Preparatory Training (IPT) scheme consisting of 10 sessions within the first nine months of the IPPT window. Under the initial version of the scheme, they must meet certain Personal Performance Targets (PPTs), similar to the IPPT Standards, on the 10th session in order to be exempted from RT. If they did not complete all 10 sessions, they had to attend and complete the 20 sessions of RT in the last three months of their IPPT window. If they completed all 10 IPT sessions but did not meet the PPTs, they had to attend eight sessions of RT instead.The IPT scheme has since been further updated so that NSmen only need to completed 10 session to clear their IPPT window for the year regardless of whether they met their PPTs or not and if they failed to meet their PPTs they do not need to attend additional sessions of RT.
Since 30 May 2011, all IPPT-eligible NSmen 35 years of age and above are required to undergo a compulsory medical examination, called "IPPT-FFI", every year to ensure that they are medically fit to take the IPPT.
Starting from 1 September 2014, NSmen are allowed to attempt and pass the IPPT in one full window (instead of within the first nine months of the window), and complete IPT or RT within the same window (instead of within the last three months of the window). The monetary incentives for achieving Gold, Silver and Pass with Incentive standards are also increased.
Disciplinary actions may be subjected to IPPT defaulters in addition to the attendance of 20 session of RT in their next window unless they pass IPPT earlier. In the case of defaulting on RT the penalty is heavier and all 20 session of RT must be completed in the next window.
The IPPT Badge is awarded to personnel in the SAF and SCDF who have obtained a Gold or Silver standard in the IPPT. It comes in the form of a badge or a pin to be attached to the left sleeve of the person's uniform. The badge or pin is in the shape of a stick figure in a running pose enclosed in a circle. The Gold standard achiever's badge has a star beside the stick figure while the Silver one does not. The SCDF version has a Silver or Gold background to a running stick figure. SPF personnel are not awarded and do not wear the IPPT badge.
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