What is the military? In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. There are three general categories of military people: active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve & guard forces (usually work a civilian job, but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). And of course there are the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present. But you're here to learn more about the military. There is much to learn! So first the basics. Exactly who is in charge?
The P&P-ASVAB gives you a set number of questions to answer and a set time limit. If you finish a section before your time runs out, you may go back and review your answers and change them if you want to. It’s better to answer all of the questions on the P&P-ASVAB – there is no penalty for guessing because only correct answers are added to make up your final score.

The Mathematics Knowledge section of the exam measures your knowledge of various math areas, such as algebra and geometry. You may be asked to find the square root of a number or the volume of a brick with given dimensions. Algebraic problems may require finding the value of “y” in a given equation. A review of math symbols—such as ≠, ≤, and √—can help you solve the given problems much faster, and using our ASVAB math study guide to practice answering the algebra and geometry questions on the test can help increase your overall AFQT score. The CAT-ASVAB has 16 questions in 20 minutes; the paper-and-pencil version has 25 questions in 24 minutes.
Test scores provide only one measure of your skills and abilities.  Test scores and grades, combined with information about your interests, values, skills, and achievements may help you select appropriate occupations for career exploration.  As you explore careers, you can compare your skills with the skill requirements of occupations in which you are interested.
When you are considered a career in the military you need to take the ASVAB test. But each branch of the military has different ASVAB requirements that you need to meet. They are different levels of education that you must reach to take the test. But you also need to score a certain amount of points on that ASVAB test to gain access into the branch you desire.
A graphic view of the increasing trend in AFQT performance of accessions from FY 1981 through FY 1992 is provided in Figure 2.8. The more significant gains were in Categories I to IIIA, where the percentages increased from 47 percent in FY 1981 to 75 percent in FY 1992. Conversely, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of Category IIIB accessions. Most dramatic has been the decrease in accessions who score in Category IV—from 33 percent in FY 1979 to one percent or less since FY 1991. There has been a gradual decline in the percentage of accessions in Categories I to IIIA in the last seven years, from 75 to 65 percent.
Law prohibits applicants in Category V from enlisting.[6] In addition, there are constraints placed on Category IV recruits; recruits in Category IV must be high school diploma graduates but cannot be denied enlistment solely on this criteria if the recruit is needed to satisfy established strength requirements. Furthermore, the law constrains the percentage of accessions who can fall between Categories IV-V (currently, the limit is 20% of all persons originally enlisted in a given armed force in a given fiscal year).[6]
This continued in the 19th century, with publications like Punch in the British Empire and Le Père Duchesne in France, poking fun at the military establishment. This extended to media other print also. An enduring example is the Major-General's Song from the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera, The Pirates of Penzance, where a senior army officer is satirised for his enormous fund of irrelevant knowledge.
In Medieval Europe, tales of knighthood and chivalry, the officer class of the period captured the popular imagination. Writers and poets like Taliesin, Chrétien de Troyes and Thomas Malory wrote tales of derring-do, featuring Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Galahad. Even in the 21st century, books and films about the Arthurian legend and the Holy Grail continue to appear.
Because most of the concepts and methods used by the military, and many of its systems are not found in commercial branches, much of the material is researched, designed, developed, and offered for inclusion in arsenals by military science organisations within the overall structure of the military. Military scientists are therefore found to interact with all Arms and Services of the armed forces, and at all levels of the military hierarchy of command.
With very few exceptions, becoming a non-commissioned officer (NCO) or petty officer in the U.S. Armed Forces is accomplished by progression through the lower enlisted ranks. However, unlike promotion through the lower enlisted tier, promotion to NCO is generally competitive. NCO ranks begin at E-4 or E-5, depending upon service and are generally attained between three and six years of service. Junior NCOs function as first-line supervisors and squad leaders, training the junior enlisted in their duties and guiding their career advancement.
The Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps each provide tuition assistance (a "kicker") in addition to what you earn through the Montgomery GI Bill. Each service controls the amount of extra money it provides. The Army fund increases the amount of support to as much as $70,000, the Navy fund increases the amount of support to as much as $50,000 and the Marine Corps fund increases the amount of support to as much as $30,000. College Funds are awarded on a competitive basis according to academic merit (i.e., scoring in the top half of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery). To qualify one must also agree to serve six years.

In addition to the AFQT, the military also includes additional composite scores, often called 'line scores.' These scores are based on variations of the ASVAB's ten subtests and are required for certain military careers. For example, an Army Clerical (CL) score is determined by looking at an individual's Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) and Mathematics Knowledge (MK) scores. Note that the subtests considered for different careers can vary depending on the military branch.
Under the Student Loan Repayment Program, when you enlist the Army will pay back up to $65,000 in qualified education loans (up to $20,000 for reservists), the Navy up to $65,000 and the Air Force up to $10,000. Each year 15% of the loan balance or $500, whichever is greater, will be repaid by SLRP. There may also be annual and cumulative caps on the amount repaid. Participants must score 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT). SLRP must be requested at the time of enlistment or reenlistment. Qualified education loans include federal education loans such as the Perkins, Stafford, PLUS, or Consolidation loans, but not private alternative loans. Defaulted loans are not eligible. Payments made under the SLRP are considered taxable income.

You’ll find a great practice test and lots of other information about the ASVAB at the Department of Defense's ASVAB Career Exploration Program site (ASVABprogram.com). Since your test scores can have an impact on your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)—and whether or not you can attend certain special schools (like Airborne school, Sniper school and many others)—we recommend you make the most of these additional resources.
The best way to answer questions in this section is to read each paragraph twice before you answer. First, read it quickly to get the main idea. Next, read it again, paying more attention to the details that relate to the main point. Then, read all of the questions and refer back to the paragraph to help you choose the best answer. If you take this approach, you will be more relaxed and efficient, and less likely to get thrown off the track by being nervous.
Test scores provide only one measure of your skills and abilities.  Test scores and grades, combined with information about your interests, values, skills, and achievements may help you select appropriate occupations for career exploration.  As you explore careers, you can compare your skills with the skill requirements of occupations in which you are interested.
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