Frenchay Arm Test (FAT)

Purpose of the measure

The Frenchay Arm Test (FAT) is a measure of upper extremity proximal motor control and dexterity during ADL performance in patients with impairments of the upper extremity resulting from neurological conditions. The FAT is an upper extremity specific measure of activity limitation.

Available versions

None typically reported

Features of the measure

Description of tasks
Clients sit comfortably at a table with hands on their lap; each test item starts from this position. Clients are then asked to use their affected arm to:

  • Stabilize a ruler, while drawing a line with a pencil held in the other hand. To pass, the ruler must be held firmly.
  • Grasp a cylinder (12 mm diameter, 5 cm long), set on its side approximately 15 cm from the table edge, lift it about 30 cm and replace it without dropping.
  • Pick up a glass, half full of water positioned about 15 to 30 cm from the edge of the table, drink some water and replace without spilling.
  • Remove and replace a sprung clothes peg from a 10mm diameter dowel, 15 cm long set in a 10 cm base, 15 to 30 cm from table edge. Not to drop peg or knock dowel over.
  • Comb hair (or imitate); must comb across top, down the back and down each side of head.

What to consider before beginning

  • Before administering the FAT, the clinician should ensure that the client is able to comprehend either written or spoken language.
  • The FAT has been criticized for lacking assessment of quality of movement and performance (Kopp, 1997). In addition, clients were found to either pass or fail all or most subtests, indicating that the FAT may not be sensitive to change or subtleties in progress (Hsieh, Hsueh, Chiang & Lin, 1998), especially in clients performing in the upper range of arm function (Wade, et al., 1983).

Scoring and Score Interpretation
Each item is scored as either pass (=1) or fail (=0). Total scores range from 0 to 5.

The FAT takes approximately 3 minutes to administer.

Training requirements
None typically reported, however familiarity with the measure is recommended.


  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Cylinder (12mm diameter, 5 cm long)
  • Glass (Half filled with water)
  • Clothes peg
  • Dowel (15mm)
  • Hair comb
Alternative Forms of the FAT

None typically reported

Client suitability

Can be used with:

  • Clients with stroke

Should not be used in:

  • Clients with difficulty understanding written and spoken language
Languages of the measure
  • English
  • French
  • Dutch