This advice, though well-intentioned, doesn’t address the needs of some new recruits who are interested in specific career fields but are worried about their test performance-especially in areas related to math comprehension. Potential recruits who feel deficient in math, language, or science skills should have a frank conversation with their recruiter to discuss possible refresher study or even supplemental classes in any self-perceived “problem areas” before taking the test.
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.
It's important to understand the difference between the ASVAB Standard Scores, and the ASVAB AFQT score. Test takers will receive a separate score for each of the nine sections on the ASVAB. These scores are known as Standard Scores. A Standard Score is used to determine how the test taker compares to the "average" 18-23 year old American on that part of the ASVAB. Not long ago, a large number of people in this age group were given the tests, and these results are the benchmark for Standard Scores. Around half the people in this age group will score a 50 or higher, and about 16% will score a 60 or higher. In other words, the scoring is based on a standard bell curve distribution. Standard Scores are very important when it comes to determining which military job a person will be assigned to.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB test--also known as the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test). This is the score used by the recruiter to determine a potential recruit’s enlistment eligibility, assign a recruit to a military jobs, and aid students in career exploration. The AFQT is actually a subset of the ASVAB - only with scores of four of the ten test sections calculated.
The ASVAB site goes on to explain that “after the final ability estimate is computed, it is converted to a standard score on the ASVAB score scale that has been statistically linked to the ability estimate through a process called equating. Equating studies are conducted for every paper and pencil ASVAB form to ensure that scores have the same meaning regardless of which test form the examinee receives.”
Figure 2.7 shows FY 1977 as the low point and FY 1992 as the high point in accessing recruits in Categories I to IIIA. In FY 1977, 34 percent of accessions scored in the top half of the AFQT distribution. Only 13 percent of Blacks, 19 percent of Hispanics, and 20 percent of "Others" scored in Categories I–IIIA.  Fifteen years later, in FY 1992, the majority of minority accessions achieved scores in the I–IIIA range (Blacks - 56 percent, Hispanics - 67 percent, "Others" - 67 percent). Hispanics have shown the most marked increase, with a 48-percentage-point gain in Category I to IIIA accessions from FY 1977 to FY 1992.
The Student ASVAB is the most flexible of the exams. It is typically provided to high school students to help them assess their skills, job prospects, potential military positions, or college majors. The ASVAB for students is essentially the same as the MET ASVAB exam, only students are not necessarily testing for positions within the military. The students’ school counselors examine their scores and help them decide on what to do after graduating from high school. This test is still an important component of a student’s education because it can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and help set them on the right track for their future career goals.