Before the exercise test is run it is important that the participant/patient is familiarized with the scale and the instruction. Show the scale to the participant and let her/him read the instruction. It is also possible to read the instruction loud to the participant.

The traditional way to use any of the Borg scales is in paper format but a similar procedure can be followed if an electronic format is being used. The scale can preferably be visible to the participant during the whole exercise test. If this is not possible, the scale can be shown to the participant just before each rating. 

The Borg RPE scale®

Intended for Ratings of Perceived Exertion. The oldest of the Borg scales. Participants may only use the values on the scale, at or between the words. (If necessary, for example for research purposes, half values can be allowed.)

The Borg CR Scale® (CR10)

A general intensity scale that can be used for most kinds of perceptions, feelings and emotions with intensity variation (most commonly, however, perceived exertion, fatigue, breathlessness, dyspnea, and pain.) The scale is continuous and all values along the scale is allowed (also decimals.)

On the scale, the value “10”, is anchored in the participants previous experience of a maximal exertion. For example, this could be the feeling of effort from trying to lift something so heavy that you only almost manage to lift it, or from running as fast as you can for a couple of hundred meters so that you feel completely exhausted. To avoid a ceiling effect the “absolute maximum” is placed outside of the actual scale. In rare cases a patient/participant may need to use values above 10 (however, a value beyond 15 is normally not accepted unless in very extreme cases and then usually for pain.)

The Borg centiMax® Scale (CR100)

A general intensity scale similar in construction to the CR10 (above) but more finely graded. The scale is administered in the same way as the CR10.