How to pass Special Forces Selection?

Eric Sof

Navy SEALs during the BUD/s with a wood

To pass Special Forces selection course and to became a member of the any Special Forces unit in the world you need to be fit, both mentally and phyisically. The path to achieve this is hard and no one can tell you that it will be easy, but here are some tips which should help you to pass special forces selection. The US Army Special Forces as they have multiple fitness and phycological requirements and their training by far exceeds difficulty of any other special forces I am aware of. So here are the 7 crucial tips to rely on during selection and to try to pass Special Forces selection.

1. Don’t quit

We have all met the guy who went to “insert Special Forces Selection, BUDs, INDOC, Ranger School, etc. here” and made it all the way to the last day but got hurt. Or the friend who apparently got selected but decided it wasn’t for him because his significant other could never go for that. The reality is that unless that guy now has a chronic limp from his injury chances are he was faking it and quit. Now I am not into statistics but of the 60-70% of people that leave 100% don’t get selected.

Pretty good odds there that if you quit you won’t make it. Take it one day at a time and remember that the only easy day was yesterday. Unless you have a down day today, then today is an easy day. Or unless you just finished selection then that day is easy. Or unless you quit, then that day will be easy. Well ok, scratch that, it sounds lame.

TACP (Tactical Air Control Party) training is similar to the Special Forces Selection
TCAP recruits during training are going through intensive fitness training similar to Special Forces Selection programs (Photo: XY)

2. Be the gray man

Going through selection there were all walks of life and a whole mix of eclectic characters. Most of the guys that showed up thinking they had that cat in the bag, didn’t. Nothing will draw more unwanted attention to you than sticking out like a boner in sweatpants the first day because you can’t shut your pie hole about how awesome you are. Leave your “no shit there I was” stories for the bars because the people there won’t be able to call you out on your bull shit about how you single-handedly took over Iraq and then everyone else came in and jacked it all up.

3. Arrive in shape

I know I know you are saying “yeah no shit, duh hh hh.” Well first of all stop swearing this is a public forum. Second, of all, it happens more often that you think. In my selection class, we lost 15 students just on the PT test. That’s right, the PT test. These Infidel strong warriors showed up to Special Forces Selection, considered by Green Berets to be the toughest selection known to man, not even able to pass a PT test.

There are a million and one different sites that you can go to besides Jenny Craig that have some excellent tips on how to prepare. If you aren’t sure which ones to visit check out our Combat Fitness Deck,, or Maybe forgo the last since chances are you are reading this on your mother’s computer.

4. Play the game

Selection is a game, and if Milton and Bradley patented it, they would go bankrupt. The trick of the game is to do everything the cadre tells you to as best as you can. If they come out and ask you to jump out of a plane without a parachute, do a cheetah flip while citing the ranger creed you should hit the ground perform a second Cheetah flip and spout the ranger creed off in English and Japanese because that’s just how much you want it.

If the cadre says the sky is pink, well then you should tell him you can’t believe it took you this long to realize it and what a wonderful pink sky it is. Selection is easy as long as you don’t overthink it and just do as you are told. As long as you follow the first three tips, chances are you won’t have anything to worry about.

Special Forces Selection: Members of Bangladesh SWADS during the BUD/s
Special Forces Selection: Members of Bangladesh SWADS during the BUD/s (Photo: Wiki)

5. Don’t cry

For some reason when guys go to selection, they think it’s ok to shed some tears. Unless your boo boo is bleeding and you are looking for a lollypop crying will not help you out. You will see guys cry in selection for all sorts of things from hurting themselves to getting yelled at by the cadre. Trust me; I don’t think any of the cadres will sit there and say “well he cries a lot but his PT was excellent, so let’s take him.”

Now if you went to a selection, cried and then got selected, well then I congratulate you for passing BUDs, that is incredibly hard. However, for the rest of us non-swimming SOF goers, I think a general rule of thumb is to leave the tears of passion, pain and happiness back at home for when you are trying to convince your girlfriend you are a genuine guy.

6. Cheat

If you aren’t cheating the selection you are wrong. Running the roads, asking other candidates for directions and taking weight out of your ruck during the movement are all ways to get you where you are going faster. I know they say don’t sleep when we aren’t looking, but no one ever says don’t take a thirty-minute shit and I am here to tell you, gentlemen, some of the best naps I have experienced were upon the porcelain throne.

Let’s be honest, chances are you have been cheating on high school tests and yourself when you look in the mirror since you were a kid. Take that mentality to selection and find the easiest way to make it to the end. You know that saying “if you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying?” That’s bullshit if you aren’t cheating chances are, you are trying too hard.

7. Don’t get caught

This follows #6 and is paramount for every SOF operator. After selection, you will be expected to conduct overt and covert operations around the world while potentially using a cover. So make sure you know how to keep from getting caught from the get go. I don’t want you coming back from selection saying that you took this seriously and cheated your way all the way through and then got caught and became a 24-day non-select.

Don’t be an idiot, when you see the lights of thecar driving down the road towards you run your ass into the bushes and make like a tree. Note: These are just a few tips and should be taken in stride. The author passed Special Forces Selection but also did it after shitting himself, crying, and with having a natural spotlight on him because he is a great and nasty ginger. So on second thought maybe scratch the above and do what AJ and Stew Smith say on their blogs instead.

Special Forces Selection

REMEMBER: Half of selection is attitude and mental strength, not just muscle. This grows with experience but may never be there or come to many people. Do the best you can in all things.

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