The first step that one will take after deciding to pursue a career in the military is taking the Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery test. This is more commonly referred to as the ASVAB. The ASVAB not only determines whether or not a candidate is qualified to serve in the armed forces but also shows which specific job they have the most aptitude for.
The ASVAB test is taken by individuals interested in joining the U.S. military. It may be taken by high school students in the 10th, 11th or 12th grade. Or, it may be taken by someone who has earned a GED or higher degree. Along with determining your suitability for enlistment, the score you receive on this test lets officials know what military occupational specialties you may qualify for. 
The ASVAB is one of the most widely used aptitude tests in the world. The intent of the ASVAB test battery is to assess a candidate's potential for future success in the U.S. Military. Because of the nature of the test, the ASVAB can also be used to give a candidate valuable information about both military and civilian career choices that they may be suited for.
Many high schools give students the opportunity to take the ASVAB as part of career exploration. If you chose not to take one in high school, then you will have to schedule a time to take it. You can contact the Armed Forces Recruiting Officer in your area and you can schedule an appointment with a local recruiter from the branch of the military you wish to join.

One set of ASVAB scores – Career Exploration Scores – tells you your current strengths in verbal, math, science, and technical skills.  The scores allow you to compare your test performance with that of other students at your grade level and can help you determine your readiness for further education and training in different career areas.  You will also receive a Military Entrance Score that is important for entry into the Armed Services.  You can discuss your score with a military recruiter.

Initially, recruits without higher education or college degrees will hold the pay grade of E-1 and will be elevated to E-2 usually soon after basic training. Different services have different incentive programs for enlistees, such as higher initial ranks for college credit, being an Eagle Scout and referring friends who go on to enlist as well. Participation in DEP is one way recruits can achieve rank before their departure to basic training.
The President, Secretary of Defense and other senior executive officials are advised by a seven-member Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is headed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking officer in the United States military and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[20] The rest of the body is composed of the heads of each of the DoD's service branches (the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force) as well as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Although commanding one of the five military branches, the Commandant of the Coast Guard is not a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Despite being composed of the highest-ranking officers in each of the respective branches, the Joint Chiefs of Staff does not possess operational command authority. Rather, the Goldwater-Nichols Act charges them only with advisory power.[21]

To be admitted to the ASVAB testing room you will need to show a valid id. It is also important to be on time (or early!) since you will be turned away if you show up after the scheduled start time. The ASVAB can be given via computer or pencil and paper.  If you are testing at a MEPS site you will take it on a computer.  The pencil and paper version is given at most MET sites.  The computer version of the test is given as a "computer adaptive test" (CAT) which means that the test will adapt based on the level of the individual test taker (e.g., if you answer many questions correctly, you may be shown fewer questions).

Figure out which areas to focus on based on your career goals. If you’re not interested in a job requiring a score on the Mechanical Comprehension subtest, you don’t need to worry about doing well on that subtest. If you don’t need to worry about mechanics, don’t bother preparing for that section. Spend the time on Word Knowledge or Arithmetic Reasoning.

Standard Scores are scores that have a fixed mean and standard deviation in the population of examinees. A Standard Score indicates how many units of the standard deviation a particular score is above or below the mean. In the case of the ASVAB subtests, the mean is set to 50 and the standard deviation is set to 10. Thus, a Standard Score of 40 indicates that the examinee scored 1 standard deviation below the mean. A Standard Score of 70 indicates that the examinee scored 2 standard deviations above the mean. To learn more about how standard scores are derived and used, click here.
The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) is used by all of the Services to determine if an applicant is eligible for the military. Four of the ASVAB subtests are combined to form the AFQT. It measures general cognitive ability and is composed of verbal and mathematics subtests. AFQT scores are grouped into categories for reporting purposes. The table below shows the AFQT categories and the percentile score ranges corresponding to the categories. Applicants that score in AFQT category IIIA or higher may qualify for enlistment incentives.
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