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Active Spring 2023 E-4 through E-6 Advancement Exams Announced – What You Need to Know

08 December 2022

From MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

The Navy released dates and details for the Active Duty and Training and Administration of the Reserves Navy-Wide Advancement Exam Cycle 259.


The Navy released dates and details for the Active Duty and Training and Administration of the Reserves (TAR) Navy-Wide Advancement Exam (NWAE) Cycle 259 in NAVADMIN 274/22 Dec. 8.

The biggest change in 2023 is that the Navy has officially cancelled E-4 advancement exams for active component and TAR Sailors. Instead, all qualified E-3’s will be selected for advancement using the alternate rank order final multiple process to determine who advances without the exam score.

This new advancement procedure has been in effect since COVID-19 precautions began in early 2020. Navy personnel officials say the decision to make this procedure permanent was due to the success of this method during the pandemic. Fleet feedback from two-years of rank-order E-4 advancements has been positive with no negative performance reported from those advanced this way.

"Use of [an] Alternative Final Multiple Score to determine E4 advancements has proven to be an effective determinant metric of overall Sailor quality which places increased emphasis on performance," Rear Admiral James Waters said in the message.

"Moving forward, we will continue to look at other methods of advancing Sailors to E4 that do not involve an exam and support Marketplace-based advancement initiatives, with the goal of producing the same quality advancements across the force."

Here's some of the key details and dates listed in the message:

E-6 and E-5 candidates will test on March 2 and 9, respectively. Advancement worksheets close one week after the exam administration date stated on the worksheet.

Commands can petition Navy Personnel Command (PERS-8) should the need for an expanded testing be necessary. If approved, all exams must be administered by March 31, 2023.

Leading up to the exams, Sailors must complete their Professional Military Knowledge Eligibility Exams (PMK-EE) by January 31.

The PMK-EE deadline applies to all Sailors regardless of whether they are sitting for an exam or not. Sailors who have already met this military knowledge testing requirement on previous cycles do not have to retake this exam as it is only required once at each paygrade level.

Minimum Time-in-Rate (TIR) is on or before July 1, 2020 for E-6 candidates. For E-5 and E-4, those dates are July 1, 2022 and January 1, 2023 respectively. A one-year TIR waiver for E-6 candidates with early promote recommendations is available with their CO or OIC’s approval.  

Because the Naval Education Training and Professional Development Center will not receive E-4 exam answer sheets, commands must scrub the records of their advancement eligible E-3 Sailors to ensure all E-4 Enlisted Advancement Worksheets (EAWs) in the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS) are accurate and up to date. The deadline for this requirement is March 31.

Once exams are given, ESO’s are encouraged to expeditiously mail in answer sheet packages to NETPDC and not hold any taken exams until the end of the testing window, ensuring prompt processing of exams.

No dates have yet been set for the release any advancement results as this will depend heavily on accurate worksheets being submitted upfront and the prompt return of answer sheets once exams are taken.

Additional eligibility details and deadlines for each cycle are available in the NAVADMIN along with key points of contact.

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