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CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Do you have the endurance to become a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation?
13News Now wanted to answer that question.
“A lot of people come here thinking they’re in really good shape, but there is a difference between being in shape outside the bureau and being in ‘bureau’ shape,” explained Jodie Zito, a special agent with the FBI Norfolk Field Office.
There are four physical exercises that make up the physical fitness test given to special agent applicants, conducted back-to-back and separated by just five minutes of rest. That order of events is: one minute of sit-ups, a 300-meter sprint, push-ups until failure and a timed 1.5-mile run.
Recent changes to the application process, Zito said, have allowed for more applicants to make it further along in the special agent application process.
“You can take it an unlimited amount of times in a year, where it used to be after your third time failing, you were out of the application process. I feel like people don’t take it as seriously as they used to, and they show up not prepared and they’re not in ‘bureau’ shape,” she said.
Now, no one can ever say I don't go the extra mile for stories (literally).
This morning, @FBINorfolk conducted a physical fitness test with me to find out: what does it take to become a special agent? Turns out, being "in shape" isn't enough!
Find out how I did on @13NewsNow. pic.twitter.com/2YaA6kvwUw
RELATED: Inside the FBI: A trip through the Norfolk Field Office’s Citizen’s Academy program
FBI officials tell 13News Now that historically, the physical fitness component of the application process would eliminate roughly 50% of the remaining pool of applicants going through the process.
“I’ve been doing this for 16 years now. People used to do really poorly on the pushups and excellent on the runs. We’ve seen a shift in the way people work out, people are better at pushups and worse on the runs,” she said. “I think people individually look at each event and think it could be easy, but together in totality. it’s very difficult.”
The results of each exercise are scored on a tier system and then given a numerical score. As of the July 12 test date, applicants need to score a “9” to pass on to the FBI Academy in Quantico, where they’d then need to score a “12” for the same test.
FBI officials say this is a deviation from years past, where applicants would need to score a “12” — the same number as what they’d need to later score at the FBI Academy — to go.
Reporter Alex Littlehales participated in the physical fitness test, and finished with the following splits:
It shows how the completion of the exercises does not guarantee a positive score, either. Zero points can be awarded,and in some cases, points can be deducted as well, even in scores that are only seconds different from a score that would register a point.
The FBI created a “FBI Physical Fitness Test” app to help people train and learn the benchmarks of the process.
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