ABCs of the ASVAB

Military Job Line Scores

students in an exam hall in a further education college
••• Roy Mehta/Iconica

The ASVAB is an exam you will have to take prior to serving in the military. It is something you should study for and actually understand how the test questions work. Being prepared by taking a few sample tests and practicing your weaknesses could be the difference between you getting a job you really want and a job you may actually hate. Don't be in a rush to enlist - go into a recruiter's office when you are ready, not just because you turned 18.

The Two Types of Scores (AFQT and Line Scores)

There are two types of scores that are created when you take the ASVAB. You will take the test and receive the AFQT Score and you will also have Line Scores. Both of these scores are created by adding together different sections of the ASVAB - also called subtests.

The AFQT score is used solely to determine whether or not a person is eligible to join a particular branch of the military. The AFQT score is not used to determine whether or not someone is qualified to be trained in a specific military job. The Armed Services Qualification Test (AFQT) score is derived from four of the nine subtests of the ASVAB: Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Word Knowledge (WK), Mathematics Knowlege (MK), and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR). 

Some branches of military job qualification are determined based on Line Scores, which are derived from individual ASVAB subtest scores. See below how the Air Force, Army, and USMC qualify their recruits for certain jobs or in military speak (Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC). Though the Navy and Coast Guard do not use Line Scores, they still use the actual subtests of the ASVAB to help determine proper placement of recruits.

Air Force

The Air Force has four composite score areas made up from the individual ASVAB sub-tests, known as MAGE. All of the Air Force line scores are percentile scores, ranging from 0-99. The four composite score areas that make up MAGE are:

  • M = Mechanical Aptitude Score - Determined from General Science (GS), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), and Auto/Shop (AS).
  • A = Administrative Aptitude Score - Verbal Expression (VE).
  • G = General Aptitude Score - Determined from Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) and Verbal Expression (VE).
  • E = Electronics Aptitude Score - Determined from General Science (GS), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), and Electronics Information (EI).

See our Air Force Enlisted Job Description & Qualifications pages to see what composite scores are required for each Air Force enlisted AFSC (job).

Army

The Army determines job qualification from ten separate composite scores made up from various sub-tests of the ASVAB. The Army Composite Line Scores are:

  • Clerical (CL) - Determined from Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Mathematics Knowledge (MK).
  • Combat (CO) - Determined from Verbal Expression (VE), Auto & Shop (AS) and Mechanical Comprehension (MC).
  • Electronics (EL) - Determined from General Science (GS), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Electronic Information (EI).
  • Field Artillery (FA) - Determined from Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Mechanical Comprehension (MC).
  • General Maintenance (GM) - Determined from General Science (GS), Auto & Shop (AS), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Electronics Information (EI).
  • General Technical (GT) - Determined from Verbal Expression (VE) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR).
  • Mechanical Maintenance (MM) - Determined from Auto & Shop (AS), Mechanical Comprehension (MC) and Electronic Information (EI).
  • Operators and Food (OF) - Determined from Verbal Expression (VE), Auto & Shop (AS) and Mechanical Comprehension (MC).
  • Surveillance and Communications (SC) - Determined from Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Auto & Shop (AS) and Mechanical Comprehension (MC).
  • Skilled Technical (ST) - Determined from General Science (GS), Verbal Expression (VE), Mechanical Comprehension (MC) and Mathematics Knowledge (MK).

    See our Army Enlisted Job Description & Qualifications pages to see what composite scores are required for specific Army MOS's (jobs).

    Marine Corps

    The Marine Corps determines job qualifications from three separate composite scores made up from various sub-tests of the ASVAB. The Marine Corps Composite Scores are:

    • Electronics Repair, Missile Repair, Electronics & Communications (EL) - Determined from General Science (GS), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Electronic Information (EI).
    • General Maintenance, Construction, Utility and Chemical Maintenance (MM) - Determined from General Science (GS), Auto & Shop (AS), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Electronics Information (EI).
    • General Technical, Special and Officer Programs (GT) - Determined from Verbal Expression (VE) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR).

      Take a look at Marine Corps Enlisted Job Description & Qualifications pages to see what composite scores are required for specific Marine Corps MOS's (jobs).

      Navy & Coast Guard

      The Navy and the Coast Guard don't use line scores. Instead, the use direct ASVAB subtest standard scores for job qualification determination. In other words, if a Navy job requires an ASVAB score of "VE+EI+AR=90," that means the total of your Verval Expression score, your Electronic Information score, and your Arithmetic Reasoning score must be equal to, or above 90.