The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple choice test, administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, used to determine qualification for enlistment in the United States Armed Forces. It is often offered to U.S. high school students when they are in the 10th, 11th and 12th grade, though anyone eligible for enlistment may take it.
The ASVAB was first introduced in 1968 and was adopted by all branches of the military in 1976. It underwent a major revision in 2002. In 2004, the test's percentile rank scoring system was renormalized, to ensure that a score of 50% really did represent doing better than exactly 50% of the test takers.
The ASVAB contains nine sections and takes three hours to complete. The duration of each section varies between 7 and 39 minutes, the longest being for Arithmetic Reasoning. The test is typically administered in a computerized format at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) or in a written format at satellite locations called Military Entrance Test (MET) sites. Testing procedures vary depending on the mode of administration.
Computerized test format
- General Science (GS) – 15 questions in 8 minutes
- Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) – 15 questions in 39 minutes
- Word Knowledge (WK) – 15 questions in 8 minutes
- Paragraph Comprehension (PC) – 10 questions in 22 minutes
- Mathematics Knowledge (MK) – 15 questions in 20 minutes
- Electronics Information (EI) – 15 questions in 8 minutes
- Automotive and Shop Information (AS) – 10 questions in 7 minutes
- Mechanical Comprehension (MC) – 15 questions in 20 minutes
- Assembling Objects (AO) – 15 questions in 40 minutes
- Verbal Expression (VE) Score = (WK)+(PC)
Written test format
- General Science (GS) – 45 questions in 20 minutes
- Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) – 30 questions in 36 minutes
- Word Knowledge (WK) – 35 questions in 11 minutes
- Paragraph Comprehension (PC) – 15 questions in 13 minutes
- Mathematics Knowledge (MK) – 25 questions in 24 minutes
- Electronics Information (EI) – 20 questions in 9 minutes
- Automotive and Shop Information (AS) – 25 questions in 11 minutes
- Mechanical Comprehension (MC) – 25 questions in 19 minutes
- Assembling Objects (AO) – 25 questions in 15 minutes
- Verbal Expression (VE) Score = (WK)+(PC)
Navy applicants also complete a Coding Speed (CS) test.
- "Numerical Operations" (NO)
- "Space Perception" (SP)
- "Tool Knowledge" (TK)
- "General Information" (GI)
- "Attention to Detail" (AD)
- "Coding Speed" (CS)
Armed Forces Qualification Test
An Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score is used to determine basic qualifications for enlistment.
The AFQT scores are divided into the following categories
- Category I: 93–99
- Category II: 65–92
- Category III A: 50–64
- Category III B: 31–49
- Category IV A: 21–30
- Category IV B: 16–20
- Category IV C: 10–15
- Category V: 0–9
- The formula for computing an AFQT score is: AR + MK + (2 × VE).
- The VE (verbal) score is determined by adding the raw scores from the PC and WK tests and using a table to get the VE score from that combined PC and WK raw score.
- AFQT scores are not raw scores, but rather percentile scores indicating how each examinee performed compared with the base youth population. Thus, someone who receives an AFQT of 55 scored better than 55 percent of all other members of the base youth population. The highest possible percentile is 99.
- The minimum score for enlistment varies according to branch of service and whether the enlistee has a high school diploma.
|Tier I||Tier II|
|Branch||≥ HS Diploma||= GED|
|Coast Guard||40||50 with 15 college credits|
|*Army National Guard||31||50|
|*Air National Guard||50||50|
GED holders who earn 15 college credits 100 level or greater are considered equivalent to those holding high school diplomas so they need only the Tier I score to enlist. Eligibility is not determined by the score alone. Certain recruiting goal practices may require an applicant to achieve a higher score than the required minimum AFQT score in order to be considered for enlistment. Rules and regulations are subject to change; applicants should call their local recruiting center for up-to-date qualification information.
Law prohibits applicants in Category V from enlisting. In addition, there are constraints placed on Category IV recruits; recruits in Category IV must be high school diploma graduates but cannot be denied enlistment solely on this criteria if the recruit is needed to satisfy established strength requirements. Furthermore, the law constrains the percentage of accessions who can fall between Categories IV-V (currently, the limit is 20% of all persons originally enlisted in a given armed force in a given fiscal year).
In addition to the ASVAB's AFQT, each branch has military occupational specialty, or MOS, scores. Combinations of scores from the nine tests are used to determine qualification for a MOS. These combinations are called "aptitude area scores", "composite scores", or "line scores". Each of the five armed services has its own aptitude area scores and sets its own minimum composite scores for each MOS.
|OF||Operators and Food||VE+AS+MC|
|SC||Surveillance and Communications||VE+AR+AS+MC|
|* SF||Special Forces||GT≥110 CO≥100|
|BEE||Basic Electricity and Electronics||AR+GS+2*MK|
|MEC2||Mechanical Maintenance 2||AO+AR+MC|
|OPS||Operations Specialist||WK, PC, AR, MK, AO|
|HM||Hospital Corpsman (medical)||GS+MK+VE|
|* SEALs||Special Operations||GS+MC+EI≥165 or VE+MK+MC+CS≥220 (minimum for BUD/S)|
|AET||Aviation Electrical Technician||MK+EI+GS≥172 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65|
|AMT||Aviation Maintenance Technician||AR+MC+AS+EI≥220 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65|
|AST||Aviation Survival Technician||VE+MC+AS≥162 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65|
|EM||Electrician's Mate||MK+EI+GS≥153 & AR≥52|
|ET||Electronics Technician||MK+EI+GS≥172 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65|
|FS||Food Service Specialist||VE+AR≥105|
|HS||Health Services Technician||VE+MK+GS+AR≥207 & AR≥50|
|IT||Information Systems Technician||MK+EI+GS≥172 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65|
|ME||Maritime Enforcement Specialist||VE+AR≥100|
|MK||Machinery Technician||AR+MC+AS≥154 or VE+AR≥105|
|MST||Marine Science Technician||VE+AR≥114 & MK≥56|
|PA||Public Affairs Specialist||VE+AR≥109 & VE≥54|
|SK||Storekeeper||VE+AR≥105 & VE≥51|
Air Force/Air National Guard Composite Scores (Standard AFQT score AR + MK + (2 x VE))
|M||Mechanical||GS + MC + AS|
|G||General||VE + AR|
|E||Electrical||AR + MK + EI + GS|
|* MARSOC||Special Operations||GT=105|
- Kapp, Lawrence (25 February 2002), Recruiting and Retention in the Active Component Military: Are There Problems? (PDF), Defense Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade; Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress
- "ASVAB". Military.com. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
- "What To Expect When You Take the ASVAB". Department of Defense, Official site of the ASVAB. 19 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
- Military.com (9 August 2022). "ASVAB Scores and Army Jobs". Military.com. Retrieved 25 September 2022.
- "Minimum ASVAB Scores".
- "10 Steps to Joining the Military – Step 2: Decide if you're ready". Retrieved 3 February 2012.
- 10 USC Sec. 520
- "ASVAB and Air Force Jobs". Military.com. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
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