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.
Taking the PiCAT exam may, depending on circumstances including scores and other factors, may relieve a new recruit of having to take the ASVAB in a proctored setting. In the past, recruits who were preparing to enter military service at Military Entrance Processing Station would take the ASVAB in a group setting; PiCAT can help new recruits avoid having to retake the test. PiCAT test performance and other factors will determine whether or not the ASVAB has to be taken at MEPS.
The vast majority of people who take the CAT-ASVAB test finish it as the time constraints are not very aggressive. However, if a respondent isn’t able to finish in time, the remaining unanswered questions are scored as if the respondent had answered them randomly. This is obviously not an ideal way to finish up the test and most often results in even poorer scores.
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In broad usage, the terms "armed forces" and "military" are often treated as synonymous, although in technical usage a distinction is sometimes made in which a country's armed forces may include both its military and other paramilitary forces. Armed force is the use of armed forces to achieve political objectives. There are various forms of irregular military forces, not belonging to a recognized state; though they share many attributes with regular military forces, they are less often referred to as simply "military".
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On the CAT-ASVAB, you answer one question at a time and can’t go back and change your answers once you’ve submitted them. If you answer a question correctly, you get a more difficult question, but if you are incorrect, you are given an easier question to answer. This is called “adaptive” testing. Once you finish a section you can go on to the next section at your own pace.