What Are AFQT Scores of the ASVAB Tests?
These Tests Are Based on Four Subtests of the ASVAB
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a series of tests that everyone who enlists in the U.S. military has to take. It allows the military to determine what job an enlisted person is suited for.
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).
History of the ASVAB
When Congress passed the Selective Service Act in 1948, it required the Department of Defense to develop a uniform screening test to be used by all of the services.This was the first iteration of the AFQT, 100 multiple choice questions, with each branch of the service setting its own standards for minimum required scores.
The DoD refined the test, standardizing it across all the branches during the 1960s. The ASVAB was officially introduced in 1976 as the test used across the U.S. military.
Why the AFQT Is Important
The present-day AFQT score is the most important ASVAB score, because it determines whether you can join the military service of your choice. Each of the services branches has set its own minimum AFQT scores.
The AFQT score is a percentile score. What does that mean? In 1997, a study known as the "Profile of American Youth" was conducted by the Department of Defense in cooperation with the Department of Labor. DOD administered the ASVAB to around 12,000 individuals, ranging in age from 16 to 23.
Your AFQT score is a comparison of how well you scored on the four subtests, compared to those who took the ASVAB as part of the 1997 survey. In other words, if you have an AFQT score of 70, that means you scored as well or better than 70 percent of those 12,000 folks.
The military divides AFQT scores into the following categories. The lower your category number, the more attractive candidate you are to the military for enlistment:
- Category I - 93-99
- Category II - 65-92
- Category IIIA - 50-64
- Category IIIB - 31-49
- Category IVA - 21-30
- Category IVB - 16-20
- Category IVC - 10-15
- Category V - 0-9
In the early 1990s, Congress passed a law stating that no Category V recruits could be accepted for enlistment in any of the military services, and no more than 20 percent of accessions could be in Category IV. Additionally, Congress required that any Category IV accessions had to be high school diploma graduates (no GEDs).
However, the military services have even stricter standards for enlistment.
Computing an AFQT Score
To compute your AFQT score, the military takes your Verbal Expression (VE) score and doubles it. They then add it to your Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) raw scores. The Formula is 2VE+MK+AR. The then compare the result to a table to derive your AFQT percentile score.
Note that a raw score is not the same as the standard scores you see on your ASVAB score sheet. On the ASVAB, harder questions are worth more points than easier questions. The raw score is the total number of points you earned on that particular ASVAB subtest. You won't know what your raw score is because the military doesn't include that information on the ASVAB score sheet.
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