How the ASVAB Score Is Computed

The Real Score of the ASVAB

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam is used to determine enlistment eligibility for potential recruits, assign recruits to military jobs, and aid students in career exploration. It consists of 10 subtests, and the scores on those subtests are used to determine the best jobs for those entering a branch of the military. Scores from four of the subtests are used to determine an Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score, which determines eligibility for enlistment. Each branch of the military has different standards.

The Subtests

The 10 subtests are each part of one of four domains: math, science/technical, spatial, and verbal.

The math domain includes:

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR): Word problems using arithmetic.
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK): High school-level math.

The science/technical domain includes:

  • General Science (GS): Physical and biological sciences.
  • Electronics Information (EI): Electricity and electronics.
  • Auto Information (AI): Automobile technology; one part of the AS* score.
  • Shop Information (SI)*: Tools and shop terminology and practices; one part of the AS* score.
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC): Mechanical and physical principles.

The verbal domain includes:

  • Word Knowledge (WK): Definitions and synonyms in a given context.
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC): Reading for comprehension.

The spatial domain includes:

  • Assembling Objects (AO): Seeing how objects will look when assembled.

*Note: AI and SI are separate tests, but they are combined into one score labeled AS.

Two Types of Tests

A computerized version of the test (CAT-ASVAB) is available at all testing locations. Some locations also offer a paper and pencil (P&P-ASVAB). The tests are similar and designed to result in similar scores for tests takers, regardless of which version they choose. The key difference is that the CAT-ASVAB is adaptive, which means the software chooses questions based on previous responses. On the P&P-ASVAB version, AI and SI are combined into a single AS section.

AFQT

The AFQT is a combination of the four scores from the math and verbal domains, which consists of AR, MK, WK, and PC. 

AFQT scores are reported as percentiles between 1-99. An AFQT percentile score indicates the percentage of examinees in a reference group that scored at or below that particular score. Thus, an AFQT score of 95 indicates that the examinee scored as well as or better than 95% of a nationally representative sample of 18- to 23-year-olds. An AFQT score of 60 indicates that the examinee scored as well as or better than 60% of the nationally representative sample.

AFQT scores are divided into separate categories, based on percentile rank:

AFQT Category Score Range
I 93-99
II 65-92
IIIA 50-64
IIIB 31-49
IVA 21-30
IVB 16-20
IVC 10-15
V 1-9

The percentile score is based on a raw score calculated using the formula AFQT=2VE+AR+MK. The first step is to determine the Verbal Expression (VE) score by adding together the WK and PC scores and using the chart below:

WK+PC VE Score
0-3 20
4-5 21
6-9 22
8-9 22
10-11 25
12-13 27
14-15 29
16-17 31
18-19 32
20-21 34
22-23 36
24-25 38
26-27 40
28-29 42
30-31 44
32-33 45
34-35 47
36-37 49
38-39 50
40-41 52
42-43 54
44-45 56
46-47 58
48-49 60
50 62

After determining the VE score, multiply it by two, then add the AR and MK scores. The raw score is then compared to the reference group to determine the percentile rank. ASVAB uses the results of a 1997 study of examinees aged 18-23 as its reference group. Match a raw score to the percentile rank below to determine the overall AFQT score:

Standard Score Percentile (AFQT)
80-120 1
121-124 2
125-127 3
128-131 4
132-134 5
135-137 6
138-139 7
140-142 8
143-144 9
145-146 10
147-148 11
149-150 12
151-153 13
154 14
155-156 15
157-158 16
159-160 17
161-162 18
163-164 19
165 20
166-167 21
168-169 22
170-171 23
172 24
173-174 25
175 26
176-177 27
178 28
179-180 29
181 30
182 31
183-184 32
185 33
186 34
187-188 35
189 36
190 37
191 38
192 39
193 40
194 41
195-196 42
197 43
198 44
199 45
200 46
201 47
202 48
203 49
204 50
205 51
206 52
207-208 53
209 54
210 55
211 56
212 57
213 58
214 59
215 61
216 62
217 63
218 64
219 65
220 66
221 67
222 68
223 69
224 70
225 71
226 72
227 73
228 74
229 75
230 76
231 77
232 78
233 79
234 80
235 81
236 82
237 83
238-239 84
240 85
241 86
242 87
243 88
244 89
245 90
246 91
247 92
248 93
249 94
250 95
251 96
252 97
253 98
254-320 99

Minimum AFQT Scores for Enlistment

The minimum scores each branch of the military requires depends on whether a potential recruit has a high school diploma or a GED. Those with GEDs need higher AFQT scores.

For high school graduates, the requirements are:

Branch Diploma GED
Air Force 36 65
Army 31 50
Coast Guard 40 50
Marines 32 50
National Guard 31 50
Navy 35 50
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