Top 5 Reasons You Will Fail SFAS

Top 5 Reasons You Will Fail SFAS

The Top 5 Reasons You Won't Pass Special Forces Assessment and Selected (SFAS) and become a "non-select."

SFAS is no joke, and there are plenty of ways to fail the 3-week long selection course. Here are the most likely reasons you might fail (provided by a recent selectee).

1. You’ve never been graded to standard on push-ups or pull-ups.
The PT test at SFAS gets a lot of people who are not physically ready, and the main killers are push-ups and pull-ups. Special Forces standards are no secret, they expect to see things done right. So, be prepared to go all the way down and all the way up on every rep. The cadre won’t coddle you if you’re doing bad reps, they just won’t count them, and you’ll be sent packing before the course even starts.
2. You trained up wrong.
Gate week requires you to complete back-to-back unknown distance runs and rucks without recovery days in between. While you don’t have try and win every event, you have to be able to stay with the pack. Consistency is key, and guys who haven’t put in the miles beforehand struggle with soreness, cramps and foot problems that only get worse as the course goes on. Even if they make it through gate week, their bodies fall apart during land navigation or team week, and they end up becoming a med-drop or are dropped for failure to meet standards before the end of selection. The GET SELELCTED 12-Week Fitness Program is what you should use to properly train up for SFAS.
SFAS Team week
3. You don’t know how to terrain associate.
Land navigation is a physical smoker just as much as it is a mental exercise. The terrain you face during selection is unforgiving and the movements are extremely long to successfully dead reckon for most people. Guys who are only comfortable with dead reckoning will end up walking more miles, get lost more often, and are ultimately less successful than those who have the ability to terrain associate. While you’ll get good land navigation classes during selection before the Star Course, you can save yourself a lot of pain if you go into SFAS with a solid understanding of map reading, moving cross-country at night, and a solid ability to terrain association.
SFAS Land Nav - Star Course
4. You don’t know how to be a good teammate.
Selection is purely an individual event, until the last week. While being a physical stud alone might get you through the first two weeks, you need to be able to work with others to get selected. Your goal during team week isn’t to stand out as an individual, it’s simply to help your team be as successful as possible. You don’t need to have much prior Army experience - there are plenty of junior enlisted and 18X that pass the course - but you do need to be able to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses and figure out how to contribute your team. Without this skill, you'll get tossed, or make it through the 3 weeks just to find out you're a "non-select."
5. You’re not mentally strong enough.
Special Forces isn't for everyone, which is quickly established at SFAS. The number of people who quit the course between in-processing and the last week of the course is astounding. During the course, there will be many reasons you'll want to quit. Your mental capacity to drive on though adversity will be tested to the highest degree. So, when this happens to you, remember why you wanted to go to selection in the first place and remember those reasons when things inevitably get shitty. No matter who you are, your grip will fail, your shoulders will kill you, and your legs will feel like concrete during selection. If you don’t have the grit to make it through the down times, your teammates and cadre will see it, and you will not be selected.
SFAS Obstacle Course
For information and requirements for volunteering for Special Forces Assessment and Selection (SFAS), go to the Special Forces Recruiting site here.


  • Perry callier US Army retired

    Oftentimes Cadre members can be petty during the selection phase of training.
    Yet ! They do. Fantastic job during the process.

  • R_B

    Been a non-select the first time I went through. Fast forward 6 month and I knew exactly what amount of physical pain to expect (especially during the Team Week) in order to mentally prepare for it. I was able to not pay attention to my own suffering and, as a result, focused more on contributing to the overall team’s effort. Still to this day, the best accomplishment of my Army career, being selected!

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