The four most important sections of the test—Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Mathematics Knowledge-make up your Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT) score. Your AFQT score ranges from 0 to 100 and determines if you are able to enlist in the military and which jobs and programs you may qualify for when you are in.
Personnel may be recruited or conscripted, depending on the system chosen by the state. Most military personnel are males; the minority proportion of female personnel varyies internationally (approximately 3% in India, 10% in the UK, 13% in Sweden, 16% in the US, and 27% in South Africa). While two-thirds of states now recruit or conscript only adults, as of 2017 50 states still relied partly on children under the age of 18 (usually aged 16 or 17) to staff their armed forces.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is used by each branch of the military to determine a military recruit’s aptitude in ten different areas. The ASVAB test helps assign new recruits into career fields they may be well-suited for, but the ASVAB should not be considered an IQ test. It is a multiple-aptitude battery that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success in the military. The ASVAB test is also administered to millions of high school and post-secondary students making it one of the most widely used tests in the world.
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.
The AFQT score is a percentile score. What does that mean? In 1997, a study, known as the "Profile of American Youth," was conducted by the Department of Defense in cooperation with the Department of Labor. DOD administered the ASVAB to around 12,000 individuals, ranging in age from 16 to 23. Your AFQT score is a comparison of how well you scored on the four subtests, compared to those who took the ASVAB as part of the 1997 survey. In other words, if you have an AFQT score of 70, that means you scored as well or better than 70 percent of those 12,000 folks.
There are nine sections on the exam: General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Electronics Information, Automotive and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, Assembling Objects, and Verbal Expression. The time limits for each section range from 10 – 36 minutes; the entire exam takes three hours.
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Mathematics Knowledge tests the ability to solve problems by applying knowledge of mathematical concepts and applications. The problems focus on concepts and algorithms, and involve number theory, numeration, algebraic operations and equations, geometry, measurement and probability. Mathematics Knowledge is one factor that characterizes mathematics comprehension; it also assesses logical thinking.