The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a test that covers basic knowledge such as math and verbal skills, writing skills, and vocabulary. It is a required test for entrance into the military, but it can also be an indicator for general aptitude skills for other purposes. For those looking to go into military service, the ASVAB score is a crucial indicator of prospective job placement, so it is very important to take this test seriously and to focus on your strengths when taking the exam. Higher test scores often mean better jobs, higher salary, and more opportunities for advancement in the military.
The exam is not a “pass or fail” test. Your score in each area reflects your own unique abilities. Of course, you will want to study with the aim of doing your best so that you can qualify for a job that fits your skills and career interests. Your AFQT score is compared to the scores of other recruits in the 18-23 year age bracket to see how your potential measures up.
Trends in recruiting 1975–2001 showing total numbers of enlisted recruits in all branches of US armed forces in light blue and percentage of recruiting goals met in dark blue. Percentage of recruits with at least a high school diploma is shown in gold, percentage with an above average AFQT in orange, and the percentage called "high quality", with both a diploma and above-average AFQT score, is in purple.
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.
One ASVAB sub-measure, the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT)--which is just a separate analysis of the same tests that focuses only on four of the subtests--is also population-referenced, but its score from 1-99 is a percentile score. This means that if you score a 73, you scored as well as or higher than 73% of test-takers in the national sample.