Current deployments Conflicts Wars Timeline History: A MC N AF CG Colonial World War II Civil affairs Officers' clubs African Americans Asian Americans Buddhist Americans Jewish Americans Muslim Americans Pakistani Americans Sikh Americans Historiography: Army Center of Military History MC History Division Naval History and Heritage Command Air Force Historical Research Agency American official war artists: Army Art Program AF Art Program

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.

In Medieval Europe, tales of knighthood and chivalry, the officer class of the period captured the popular imagination. Writers and poets like Taliesin, Chrétien de Troyes and Thomas Malory wrote tales of derring-do, featuring Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Galahad. Even in the 21st century, books and films about the Arthurian legend and the Holy Grail continue to appear.


Military history is often considered to be the history of all conflicts, not just the history of the state militaries. It differs somewhat from the history of war, with military history focusing on the people and institutions of war-making, while the history of war focuses on the evolution of war itself in the face of changing technology, governments, and geography.

The various armed forces adopted all of those aspects in 1976. At that point in time, the test was in its written form rather than today’s more common form (computerized test format). The written form covers all of the previously mentioned areas as well, which is why both forms are still available. All-in-all that answers the question concerning the intention of the test.


For those who are interested in enlisting in the military, they are screened using the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which is comprised of a subset of scores from the ASVAB. Successfully passing the AFQT is not the sole requirement for enlisting but is one of the qualifications that must be met. There are various requirements for the different branches of the military and those interested are encouraged to contact recruiters to obtain more information about requirements specific to that branch.
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.
What is the military? In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. There are three general categories of military people: active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve & guard forces (usually work a civilian job, but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). And of course there are the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present. But you're here to learn more about the military. There is much to learn! So first the basics. Exactly who is in charge?
The remaining six sections on the ASVAB are used to drill down and determine what job you are best suited for in the military as these scores will provide in-depth insight into your knowledge, skills and interests. These six sections are: General Science (GS), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Electronics Information (EI), and Assembling Objects (AO), Auto Information (AI) & Shop Information (SI). Please note: AI and SI are combined into one single score (labeled AS) on the paper and pencil test.
Under the Student Loan Repayment Program, when you enlist the Army will pay back up to $65,000 in qualified education loans (up to $20,000 for reservists), the Navy up to $65,000 and the Air Force up to $10,000. Each year 15% of the loan balance or $500, whichever is greater, will be repaid by SLRP. There may also be annual and cumulative caps on the amount repaid. Participants must score 50 or higher on the Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT). SLRP must be requested at the time of enlistment or reenlistment. Qualified education loans include federal education loans such as the Perkins, Stafford, PLUS, or Consolidation loans, but not private alternative loans. Defaulted loans are not eligible. Payments made under the SLRP are considered taxable income.

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.
The test measures competency in 9 different subjects, which include General Science, Electronics Information, Auto and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, Assembling Objects, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Mathematics Knowledge. These last four sections- Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Mathematics Knowledge are the most important, as they make up something called the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualifications Test). An applicant’s AFQT score is what determines whether or not they are able to serve in the military at all, as each branch has minimum scores for enlistment.
Command over the U.S. Armed Forces is established in the Constitution. The sole power of command is vested in the President by Article II as Commander-in-Chief. The Constitution presumes the existence of "executive Departments" headed by "principal officers", whose appointment mechanism is provided for in the Appointments Clause. This allowance in the Constitution formed the basis for creation of the Department of Defense in 1947 by the National Security Act. The DoD is headed by the Secretary of Defense, who is a civilian and member of the Cabinet. The Defense Secretary is second in the U.S. Armed Forces chain of command, with the exception of the Coast Guard, which is under the Secretary of Homeland Security, and is just below the President and serves as the principal assistant to the President in all defense-related matters.[16] Together, the President and the Secretary of Defense comprise the National Command Authority, which by law is the ultimate lawful source of military orders.[17]
AFQT scores are the primary measure of recruit potential. Figure 2.7 indicates the percentage of NPS recruits who scored at or above the 50th percentile (Categories I–IIIA) since FY 1973. Numerical data are in Appendix D, Table D-12. The drop in Category I–IIIA recruits after FY 1976 was due primarily to the miscalibration of the ASVAB. [1] In FY 1976, when new versions of the ASVAB were introduced, an error in calibrating the score scales made the new versions "easier" than the old versions (i.e., applicants received test scores higher than their actual ability). In FY 1980, an independent study of the calibration was made and the test was correctly calibrated. Then, Congress added legal provisions stipulating that no more than 20 percent of accessions could be in Category IV and that such accessions had to be high school diploma graduates. [2] However, as previously stated, Defense Planning Guidance decreases this limit even further, allowing no more than 4 percent of recruits to come from Category IV.
Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester became the first woman to receive the Silver Star, the third-highest U.S. decoration for valor, for direct participation in combat. In Afghanistan, Monica Lin Brown was presented the Silver Star for shielding wounded soldiers with her body.[45] In March 2012, the U.S. military had two women, Ann E. Dunwoody and Janet C. Wolfenbarger, with the rank of four-star general.[46][47] In 2016, Air Force General Lori Robinson became the first female officer to command a major Unified Combatant Command (USNORTHCOM) in the history of the United States Armed Forces.[48]
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