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Air Force Switches to Digital Promotion Testing

The Air Force is going “green” with promotion testing, announcing all Air Force Bases are expected to be ready to switch to an all-digital testing format in early 2024.

At press time many overseas bases have issued press releases announcing their readiness for the new testing season, and all bases are expected to administer digital exams for the first round of digital testing in February 2024. That’s when Air Force Staff Sergeants compete for promotion to Technical Sergeant worldwide.

In the past, Air Force promotion testing was accomplished using the long-outdated scantron system administered on paper and completed using a #2 pencil. No longer, according to the Department of Defense, thanks to the 2024 debut of the electronic Weighted Airman Promotion System (eWAPS.)

Related: Active Duty Military Benefits

Air Force Promotion Testing

The eWAPS test is administered for all Staff Sergeant (E5) and Technical Sergeant (E7) promotions. Traditionally promotion candidates were ordered to test in a facility as a group at each military base.

Whether or not that changes going forward remains to be seen, but at press time, the centralized, in-person-but-digital testing option is the only one available.

The Air Force does not test junior enlisted (E1 through E3) in the same way, and it ended Senior NCO WAPS testing in 2019, choosing promotion boards for those who compete for Master Sergeant positions and above.

Air Force promotion tests are multiple choice and consist of questions in a variety of subject matter areas, including military history, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and job-specific questions.

There are two portions of the eWAPS test. One features general questions about the military; the other is career-field specific with technical questions about the servicemember’s job.

Electronic WAPS testing relies on more than just the scores from the examination. A servicemember’s time in service, time in grade, awards, and decorations all contribute points toward a promotion score.

Switching to Electronic Testing

The rollout of electronic promotion testing required the DoD and the Air Force to ensure the proposed new system worked properly, is cost-effective, and could be used in Air Force facilities worldwide.

In 2023, the Air Force conducted pilot programs at more than 60 bases for 90 days, testing the system and its portability.

In the final weeks of the year, many bases issued press releases announcing they would be ready for the first round of electronic promotion testing beginning with the 2024 Technical Sergeant (E6) promotion cycle. Airmen scheduled for promotion testing are typically notified via their command support staff or base personnel center.

Related: Active Duty Military Benefits

About the author

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Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.