Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), Auto & Shop Information (AS), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC). These subtests focus on basic knowledge of science, math, writing and vocabulary, an understanding of structural development and mechanics, auto function and repair, and a knowledge of electric currents, electronic systems, and circuits. These are all skills and knowledge that are necessary for different sectors of military service. Scores in each subtest are based on the student’s ability to answer the questions correctly and to complete the test in time to answer as many of the questions as possible.
The way to prepare for this exam is study hard and then quiz yourself with plenty of practice ASVAB tests. Remember that the exam is identical for all branches, so an Army ASVAB practice test is exactly the same as an ASVAB practice test for the Navy. The most important components of the test are the ones that count towards the Armed Services Qualifications Test, or AFQT. These sections are Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Math Knowledge. For tips and strategies for success on these questions, be sure to review our article on ASVAB Test Prep.
Note: While the U.S. Navy is older than the Marine Corps, the Marine Corps takes precedence due to previous inconsistencies in the Navy's birth date. The Marine Corps has recognized its observed birth date on a more consistent basis. The Second Continental Congress is considered to have established the Navy on 13 October 1775 by authorizing the purchase of ships, but did not actually pass the "Rules for the Regulation of the Navy of the United Colonies" until 27 November 1775. The Marine Corps was established by act of said Congress on 10 November 1775. The Navy did not officially recognize 13 October 1775 as its birth date until 1972, when then–Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo Zumwalt authorized it to be observed as such.
Individuals can also complete a computer version of the test. This is an adaptive test, meaning the difficulty level of each question is determined based on whether the previous question was answered correctly or incorrectly. Aside from the fact that this version of the AFQT is a computer adaptive test, the number of questions that must be answered varies from the written version of the assessment. Individuals only need to answer a total of 59 questions. 89 minutes is allotted for the four sections of the Armed Forces Qualification Test, and test-takers typically have more than enough time to complete each section.
The military uses the verbal expression (VE) score to measure your communicative ability. The score goes toward computing the AFQT score as well as many of the military’s line scores. The military brass determine your VE score by first adding the value of your Word Knowledge (WK) raw score to your Paragraph Comprehension (PC) raw score. The result is then converted to a scaled score ranging from 20 to 62.
For almost a century, the U.S. military has been a pioneer in the field of using aptitude tests to evaluate an individual’s potential for service. The organization also uses the test to determine aptitude for various military occupational specialties (MOS). The use of aptitude tests began during World War I. While the group-administered Army Alpha test measured verbal and numerical ability as well as general knowledge, the Army Beta test was used to evaluate illiterate, unschooled and non-English speaking volunteers and draftees. The Army and Navy General Classifications Tests replaced the Alpha and Beta tests as a means to measure cognitive ability during World War II. The results of these tests, as well as additional classification exams, were used to assign recruits to a particular MOS.
High school students can take the test in their sophomore, junior, or senior years, although scores from sophomore tests can’t be used for enlistment purposes. There is no charge to sit for the exam, and the results will have no impact on your high school academic record or your college application. This is a risk-free way to better evaluate your opportunities for the future after high school graduation.
The test must be completed if you wish to serve in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard. The test can also be taken as a career-exploration tool if you are a high school sophomore, junior, or senior. It takes approximately three hours to complete. If you take the computerized version of the test, results are given immediately. If you complete a paper and pencil test, you’ll get results within two weeks.
The majority of people who complete the exam have little intention of entering the military. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the United States military is actually one of the nation’s largest employers. If you’re undecided about your future after high school graduation, taking the test can give you a better picture of your options in both civilian and military life.
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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.
There is another ASVAB score that's equally important, if not more so, because it is the score that determines if a person is eligible for military service. It's the Armed Forces Qualification Test score, or AFQT score. This score is calculated from only four of the nine Standard Scores on the ASVAB - Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), and Word Knowledge (WK). First, the WK and PC scores are added together, then the sum is doubled. This is known as the Verbal Expression (VE) score. The VE, MK, and AR scores are then added together, and the sum is the AFQT. This score is a straight percentile measure, expressed as a number from 1-99. The number is the percentage of people who scored lower than the test taker. For example, if a person receives an AFQT score of 63, that means that he did better on the test than 63% of the people who have taken it.
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.