How the ASVAB Score Is Computed

The Real Score of the ASVAB

Army recruiter with potential candidate
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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 CategoryScore Range
    I93-99
    II65-92
    IIIA50-64
    IIIB31-49
    IVA21-30
    IVB16-20
    IVC10-15
    V1-9

    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+PCVE Score
    0-320
    4-521
    6-922
    8-922
    10-1125
    12-1327
    14-1529
    16-1731
    18-1932
    20-2134
    22-2336
    24-2538
    26-2740
    28-2942
    30-3144
    32-3345
    34-3547
    36-3749
    38-3950
    40-4152
    42-4354
    44-4556
    46-4758
    48-4960
    5062

    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 ScorePercentile (AFQT)
    80-1201
    121-1242
    125-1273
    128-1314
    132-1345
    135-1376
    138-1397
    140-1428
    143-1449
    145-14610
    147-14811
    149-15012
    151-15313
    15414
    155-15615
    157-15816
    159-16017
    161-16218
    163-16419
    16520
    166-16721
    168-16922
    170-17123
    17224
    173-17425
    17526
    176-17727
    17828
    179-18029
    18130
    18231
    183-18432
    18533
    18634
    187-18835
    18936
    19037
    19138
    19239
    19340
    19441
    195-19642
    19743
    19844
    19945
    20046
    20147
    20248
    20349
    20450
    20551
    20652
    207-20853
    20954
    21055
    21156
    21257
    21358
    21459
    21561
    21662
    21763
    21864
    21965
    22066
    22167
    22268
    22369
    22470
    22571
    22672
    22773
    22874
    22975
    23076
    23177
    23278
    23379
    23480
    23581
    23682
    23783
    238-23984
    24085
    24186
    24287
    24388
    24489
    24590
    24691
    24792
    24893
    24994
    25095
    25196
    25297
    25398
    254-32099

    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:

    BranchDiplomaGED
    Air Force3665
    Army3150
    Coast Guard4050
    Marines3250
    National Guard3150
    Navy3550