Preparing for NS

Preparing for NS

Mental preparation


We have some suggestions to help you prepare yourself mentally for National Service (NS):

  • Adopt a positive perception towards rules and regulations as it will help you develop self-discipline and resilience.
  • Learn to do your own laundry and clean your own room.
  • Control your expenses and live within a fixed budget.
  • Identify friends and family (especially those who have been through NS) you can talk to for support and advice.
  • Train up your fitness so you can hone mental resilience to deal with training better.
  • Learn to work as a team as it allows you to learn to relate to people from all walks of life.

In order to adjust yourself psychologically to this new environment, the best way is to get yourself informed early about life in NS and take part in activities that will help you adapt even before you enlist. Most of all, maintain a positive attitude about NS. Serving in a conscript army is a rite of passage for all males in many other countries as well and it helps to develop character and maturity in a crucial part of your life journey from "boys to men"!

Getting physically fit for NS


Anyone who has been through full-time NS will probably agree that adapting to the rigour of basic training as a recruit is much easier if you are physically fit. Therefore, it is definitely worth the while to invest some time and effort into training for your Pre-Enlistee Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT). Even after passing your Pre-Enlistee IPPT, you should continue to exercise and stay fit so that your body will be ready to deal with the physical demands of being a soldier.

Learn more about taking the Pre-Enlistee IPPT and its scoring system.

Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle

Keeping fit does not have to be boring. Engaging in sporting activities is highly recommended for pre-enlistees to maintain their fitness prior to enlistment. We highly recommend these sports:

  • Swimming
    • Being able to swim is a basic skill required of all recruits in the basic training curriculum.
  • Cardiovascular endurance sports such as jogging or cycling
    • As a soldier, very often you will be carrying heavy loads over long distances on foot.
  • Rock-climbing, archery or air-rifle
    • These sports will help to train your mental strength, focus and ability to cope under pressure which are critical for a soldier.
  • Team sports such as basketball and soccer
    • Uniformed groups function as a unit of collective, cooperating parts. Team sports will help you to develop a sense of camaraderie and team spirit.
  • Martial arts such as Wushu, Taekwondo or Judo etc
    • A military force is all about maintaining a deterrence and using force only when absolutely necessary. Learning martial arts helps you to develop this sense of readiness and spirit of self-defence.

Familiarise yourself with useful knowledge before enlistment


You will be able to adjust yourself to regimental life better in your assigned uniformed Service by familiarising yourself with the activities in camp and what you will be coming in touch with every day. Some suggestions are:

  • Attend an army open house or join a relative on his enlistment day camp tour if possible.
  • Subscribe to the PIONEER e-Newsletter to get the latest news on MINDEF/SAF as well as interesting and inspirational NS-related stories!

Common issues faced by new enlistees in full-time NS

Transitioning from a civilian lifestyle to a military one will take some getting used to. As a recruit in basic training, you will live in a common bunk with many other recruits from different walks of life, race and religion, as well as having to conform to regimental orders from your commanders. Your daily activities and training will be determined by the unit you are in and sometimes they are intentionally designed to be mentally and physically strenuous. You may have to stay in camp, away from your family and loved ones and only be allowed to 'book out' on weekends.

Some of you may experience one or more of these common issues:

  • Homesickness
  • Regimental life or loss of freedom
  • Financial burdens
  • Training stress
  • Communal living or getting along with fellow recruits
  • Romantic relationship issues