Armed Forces News

Hurry Up! A U.S. Army drill sergeant corrects a recruit during her first day of training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Jan. 31, 2017. Referred to as “Day Zero” this marks the beginning of the recruit's journey through Basic Combat Training, where she will transition from a civilian to a Soldier. U.S. Army photo by Stephen Standifird

New Army recruits now will face another test when they join. The service is administering a Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System (TAPAS) as part of the military entrance exam, aimed at ensuring that new soldiers are as highly qualified as possible.

The TAPAS section of the exam includes 120 questions, intended to provide insights to each new recruit’s personality traits. Army leadership wants to know more about its newest members than what is provided solely in math and language-skills tests. The change comes as part of a three-year pilot program authorized by the Pentagon.

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“Those who enlist through the … pilot program will be more qualified than what their cognitive test score says,” said Tonia Heffner, chief of selection and assignment research at the Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Even though TAPAS has been around for more than a decade, researchers only administered it to new soldiers who were entering their military occupational specialties (MOS).

Because TAPAS results have shown which soldiers can perform better than their test scores would indicate, the Army brain trust believes administering it to recruits will help garner a more highly motivated force that is less prone to have disciplinary issues.

“There will be lower attrition for the people in the pilot program and they will outperform many of their peers,” Heffner said.