Starfleet Academy is open to all sentient beings. Citizens of the United Federation of Planets may apply to Starfleet Academy and take the Starfleet Academy Preparatory Program at an Academy Testing Center. Applicants who have not reached their age of majority must obtain permission of their legal guardian to take part in preparatory program. Non-Federation citizens must also acquire a written recommendation from a Starfleet officer to take part in the preparatory program and to take the entrance examinations.

Preparatory Program Admission

The Starfleet Academy Preparatory Program is a six-week course designed to prepare prospective students for the Starfleet Academy entrance exam. Program admission is by testing only, and applicants must perform satisfactorily on a series of three tests: Deductive Reasoning, Spatial Orientation and Stress Reaction.

Testing for admission to the preparatory program takes approximately four days. A large percentage of test-takers pass the test and enter the program.

The preparatory program takes place at Starfleet installations throughout the Federation. Students stay at the facility for the duration of the testing and the preparatory program at accommodations provided for them. Cadets living on board Starfleet vessels or at Starfleet facilities can make arrangements to take their initial exams and the preparatory program under the guidance of a Starfleet officer with the rank of lieutenant or higher.

Deductive Reasoning Test

The Deductive Reasoning Test measures an applicant's ability to draw conclusions based on a variety of evidence. It consists of a written examination among with holographic simulations designed to pose problems for the applicant to solve. Portions of the test are times or time-dependent.

Applicants should complete the test questions as quickly and accurately as possible, but should also be willing to move on to the next question if the current one proves too difficult. Supervisors grade applicants based on the number of questions answered correctly within the allotted time.

Spatial Orientation Test

The Spatial Orientation Test uses holographic projections to test the applicant's ability to visualize in three dimensions and understand complex spatial relationships. Tests include manipulating holographic objects to achieve desired spatial relationships and navigating through fields of obstacles to reach a desired goal. Tests are time-dependent, and applicants are graded based on the speed and efficiency of reaching their goal, as well as their overall level of orientation.

Stress Reaction Test

The Stress Reaction Test measures the applicant's responses, both physical and psychological, to stress. Starfleet officers must function under stressful conditions. Supervisors test the applicant's stress reactions using holographic simulations and time-dependent responses to those situations.

For example, a stressful stimulus is introduced into a situation, and the applicant receives a grade based on how quickly and decisively he reacts. Stress Reaction Tests also require an interview with a Starfleet counselor trained in stress management issues.

Starfleet Academy Preparatory Program

Applicants who pass the examinations may enroll in the Preparatory Program. This program lasts for six weeks, with students spending each day undergoing preparation for their Academy entrance examinations. The program stresses vital skills (including test-taking skills) over facts and information, although students may study available materials in their off hours.

Students drill in Academy-related skills such as decision-making, spatial navigation, reaction time, deductive reasoning, and stress reactions. Students also learn about the history, requirements, and regulations of Starfleet and the Academy — such instruction is designed to help them make an educated choice regarding their entrance examinations and their goals in joining Starfleet. Students must learn the Academy's regulations and codes of conduct and follow them throughout the training process.

Starfleet Academy Entrance Examinations

At the conclusion of the preparatory course, prospective cadets must pass their Starfleet entrance examinations. The exams consist of a battery of tests intended to measure the applicant's knowledge, ability, and potential to ensure they meet Starfleet's high standards.

Only a small percentage of the overall applicant pool pass these tests. Those who fail can take the test again at a later date any number of times. Many of Starfleet's finest officers failed to enter the Academy on their first attempt. Starfleet hopes interested applicants will take advantage of all available opportunities for continued training and retesting.

Written Exams

The Starfleet Academy written exams consists of a series of questions intended to test the applicant's knowledge of Starfleet regulations, the sciences, history, language, philosophy, and the arts. They also test the applicant's writing abilities.

The written exams include many essay questions — how the applicant's answer is written is often as important as what information the answer contains. Some written exam questions relate to questions from the interactive exams.

Interactive Exams

Interactive exams involve either interaction between the applicant and a computer or holographic simulation, or between the applicant and an instructor. These exams generally involve hands-on problem-solving and tests of the applicant's social skills. Simulations deal with interactive tests such as navigation, hyperspace physics, and starship systems. Oral exams involve concise presentation of information, verbal and interactive skills, and the ability to think and respond quickly to questions.

Physical Exams

The life of a Starfleet officer can be physically rigorous, so prospective cadets are required to be in excellent physical condition. A full medical examination is required prior to the commencement of any testing, and applicants must report any pre-existing medical conditions or complications. Applicants are also tested to determine strength, stamina, agility, and overall athletic ability, usually using holographic simulations and physical exercises.

Psychological Test

A Starfleet officer's mental and emotional health is even more important than physical health. All applicants must meet with a Starfleet counselor and undergo an evaluation to determine their psychological and emotional fitness.

The final entrance examination is the Individual Responses Test, also known as the "psych test." This test examines the applicant's response in a mentally and emotionally stressful situation specifically designed for that particular applicant. Simulations are designed based on the applicant's psychological profile and history.

The simulation hopes to show how the applicant reacts in high-stress situations, and whether or not the applicant is psychologically fit for Starfleet service. Each situation is unique, and the test conditions are not revealed to the applicant until the test begins.