The ASVAB is a multiple choice test and is broken down into eight areas. Each section has its own score, and are combined to come up with your composite score. It’s scored on a percentile basis, so 99 is the highest possible score. Different branches of the military will have different minimum composite scores, and those will vary within each branch by different job. The higher you score, the more jobs and options you’ll qualify for. If you don’t take it in high school, you’ll take the test at your nearest Military Entrance Processing Station, or at an armory or recruiting station. It’s timed, and it takes about three and a half hours to complete.
There are two parts to the ASVAB: One helps determine which types of positions will be the best fit for you and your skills, and the other is an aptitude test that determines whether or not you're eligible to enlist in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps. The aptitude portion, known as the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), gauges word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, arithmetic reasoning and mathematics knowledge.
Line Scores are used to determine if enlisted applicants are qualified to be trained in a specific military occupation. A type of line score, known as the General-Technical score, is used to determine if prospective officer candidates are qualified to join a specific branch of the military and be enrolled in officer training. Job selection for officer candidates is based on their performance in Officer Candidate School (OCS) and not on their General-Technical score.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is one of the most widely used multiple-aptitude test batteries in the world. It was originally designed to predict success in military occupations and is used today to help both those considering entering the military (mostly high school-aged students, but also anyone who is eligible to enlist) as well as those not interested in military service (who comprise the majority of current ASVAB test takers) what sort of career may be the best fit for them. Scores from the ASVAB can be used when enlisting in the military. Students interested in taking the ASVAB should check with their high school to find out when and if the ASVAB will be offered at their school. If it is not offered, students should meet with their guidance counselor to determine if it is possible to schedule a testing session in the future. There is no cost to take the ASVAB.
The sections are as follows, General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Electronics Information, Automotive and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, Assembling Objects and a Verbal Expression score influenced by the Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension sections of the test. Those looking to join the Navy also complete a Coding Speed test.

The Arithmetic Reasoning section of the test measures your ability to solve arithmetic word problems. You may be asked questions such as “If the tire of a car rotates at a constant speed of 552 times in 1 minute, how many times will the tire rotate in half an hour?” Therefore, reviewing common math key words associated with each operation is recommended. For example, if you see the key words “in all,” the problem deals with addition. If the problem asks you to “find the difference,” you are being asked to subtract. If a question asks “how many times” per day or week, you know you are dealing with multiplication. If it asks “how many in each,” you should be thinking about division. The CAT-ASVAB has 16 questions in 39 minutes; the paper-and-pencil version has 30 questions in 36 minutes.


The Arithmetic Reasoning section of the test measures your ability to solve arithmetic word problems. You may be asked questions such as “If the tire of a car rotates at a constant speed of 552 times in 1 minute, how many times will the tire rotate in half an hour?” Therefore, reviewing common math key words associated with each operation is recommended. For example, if you see the key words “in all,” the problem deals with addition. If the problem asks you to “find the difference,” you are being asked to subtract. If a question asks “how many times” per day or week, you know you are dealing with multiplication. If it asks “how many in each,” you should be thinking about division. The CAT-ASVAB has 16 questions in 39 minutes; the paper-and-pencil version has 30 questions in 36 minutes.
There is another ASVAB score that's equally important, if not more so, because it is the score that determines if a person is eligible for military service. It's the Armed Forces Qualification Test score, or AFQT score. This score is calculated from only four of the nine Standard Scores on the ASVAB - Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), and Word Knowledge (WK). First, the WK and PC scores are added together, then the sum is doubled. This is known as the Verbal Expression (VE) score. The VE, MK, and AR scores are then added together, and the sum is the AFQT. This score is a straight percentile measure, expressed as a number from 1-99. The number is the percentage of people who scored lower than the test taker. For example, if a person receives an AFQT score of 63, that means that he did better on the test than 63% of the people who have taken it.
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High school and postsecondary students can also take the ASVAB test as part of the Department of Defense’s Career Exploration Program. This paper-and-pencil version of the test is the same as the paper-and-pencil enlistment version but excludes the Assembling Objects section. It is intended to help those students considering a career in the military to discover their strengths in both military and civilian jobs. If the student scores high enough in the AFQT section of the test, he may use the score to enlist within the two-year expiration window.


It’s best to keep the contact information of your nearest recruiting office or your actual recruiter; they are your best bet for getting your scores. ASVAB scores are valid for up to two years before you need to retest so most offices will send your current scores via mail. If you can’t get yours by mail, you can pick them up from your local recruiting office.
According to the ASVAB testing site, the branches of the military use the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score to place soldiers into training groups. The AFQT score is comprised of four of the ASVAB subtests: the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), and Word Knowledge (WK). The AFQT score is computed on a percentile score from 1 to 99; the higher the percentile score, the more likely a soldier is to get a military job he wants. In addition, branches of the military use individual subtest scores, such as Auto and Shop, to place soldiers for individual training.
For applicants with a high school diploma, the minimum required AFQT score to enlist in the Coast Guard is 40, while GED applicants must score a 50. GED recruits make up only 5 percent of each year's Coast Guard class. If an applicant's ASVAB subtest scores qualify for a specific job that is in demand, use of a waiver is possible if the applicant agrees to enlist for that job.
There are many misconceptions about what it’s like to serve in the U.S. military. If you don’t know any soldiers personally, you might think of the military as a place for infantry, trudging though rough terrain and loading giant artillery. Although that may have been true in the past, today’s military offers many opportunities that aren’t readily apparent to the typical high school graduate. For example, there are jobs in aviation mechanics, medicine, and accounting. There are also peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts by the United States military that require skills in verbal and written communication. Taking the exam can help you determine if you would be well-suited to one of these occupations.
The content of the test has been clearly laid out, but there is still a ton of information concerning the actual place where the test is administered and the time that is allocated for each section. The computerized test is administered in a “military entrance processing station” (MEP) or a satellite region that is identified as a “military entrance tests site” (MET). The difference in the two locations is that the METs are the places that are responsible for administering the written test, while MEPs are the places that administer the computerized tests.
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