What Is the C-SORT?

Definition of C-SORT

New military recruit shakes hands with a recruiter
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The Computerized-Special Operations Resiliency Test (C-SORT) is one of the tests a recruit will undertake when they join Navy Special Warfare. It's designed to assess maturity and mental resilience.

Learn about how this test is used in conjunction with others to assess the fitness of a Navy recruit.

What Is the C-SORT?

The Computerized-Special Operations Resiliency Test is an online test that Navy recruits take at the recruiter’s office. It was created to assess a future SEAL recruit’s ability to handle stress.

  • Acronym: C-SORT
  • Alternate names: Mental toughness test, resiliency test

How Does the C-SORT Work?

A recruit can only take the C-SORT one time, and there is no study guide. The best advice is to read the questions carefully and answer honestly—even though there may be more than one answer to questions that fit your character. The C-SORT is graded on a scale of one to four. If you score a four on the C-SORT, you are considered to have a high resiliency level.

The test is structured to assess the recruit’s ability in the following areas.

Performance Strategies

The use of stress coping tools such as self-talk, breathing, and goal setting abilities are tested in this section. 

Psychological Resilience

How a recruit deals with stressful and unpleasant situations, as well as mental challenges and threats, will be tested in this section.

Personality Traits

This section is mainly used for statistical analysis as there are many personality traits that make it through SEAL training.

You cannot study for the C-SORT, but you can (and should) prepare for your first recruiting office visit in a variety of general ways. Recruits should have studied basic skills for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) and practiced the elements of the Physical Screening Test (PST).

Navy SEAL Physical Screening Test

In addition to C-SORT results, a recruit’s Navy SEAL Physical Screening Test (PST) is also considered as part of the entry-level assessment to get into SEAL training. The PST consists of the following events:

  • 500-yard swim
  • Push-ups (max effort in two minutes)
  • Sit-ups (max effort in two minutes)
  • Pull-ups (max effort)
  • 1.5-mile run

The two cardiovascular endurance events of the PST—the 500-yard swim and 1.5-mile run—are timed and added together and then combined with the grade of the C-SORT. If you score well on both, you can quickly qualify for SEAL training after Navy boot camp. If you score a one on the C-SORT (the lowest score possible), then you may be able to make up for it with your physical screening test, but you will have to score exceptionally well to prove you can work hard and have a strong foundation of fitness.

Recruits take the PST multiple times while in the Delayed Entry Program (usually two or three times a month). By showing the recruiters you can work hard and improve your fitness test scores, you can get to SEAL Training (BUD/S) even without a high C-SORT score. Having high scores (below 9.5 minutes for each cardiovascular test) will demonstrate your effort and dedication. Recruits will also have to score high on the ASVAB, as well.

Advice for Recruits

Consider your first PST your job interview. You will be placed in one of two groups after taking this test for the first time: the passing group or the failing group. If you fail, you will be required to train on your own and come back multiple times until you pass it. If you do not pass the PST eventually, you will be sent to boot camp anyway, and having not pre-qualified for SEAL training, you will be forced to do a different job. Be patient and train hard before walking into the recruiter's office the first time. You should be able to master the competitive scores on the PST.

Take the PST informally on your own dozens of times so that you're confident and know you can easily pass it.

Once you pass the PST and score well enough to be competitively selected in a nationwide draft, you will get your shipping-out date to boot camp. From there, you'll complete follow-up training called Pre-BUD/S. After roughly two months of this, you will move onto SEAL training.

Key Takeaways

  • C-SORT is a test that recruits take when they want to sign up for the Navy.
  • C-SORT measures maturity and mental resilience.
  • Your C-SORT results will be considered alongside results from your other tests to determine if you are a good fit for the Navy SEALs.