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 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.
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|
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:
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)|
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: