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.
Candidates taking the ASVAB are given a AFQT (Armed Forces Qualifying Test) score which is simply a combination of your scores from four tests (Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge, and Paragraph Comprehension). This AFQT score is represented as a percentile (from 1-99) which depicts how well you scored compared to other test takers. For example, if your score is a 57, this means that you scored better than 57% of the other test takers. The AFQT score is used to determine whether you are qualified to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.
There are nine different test areas as part of the ASVAB: general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, mathematics knowledge, electronics information, auto and shop information, assembling objects, and mechanical comprehension. The paragraph comprehension test area contains the fewest questions with 15. The word knowledge test area contains the most questions with 35. All other sections contain 20, 25, or 30 questions. Taking numerious ASVAB practice tests is recommended for test day success.
In order to perform well on the ASVAB, you should take a practice test to get an idea of what you’ll encounter on the actual test. Also, completing a practice test will help you to feel more at ease on test day. Reading the test instructions and focusing your full attention on each question are both important steps to take. As you work through the test, avoid spending too much time on a single question. The test has a time limit and you don’t want to fall into the trap of running out of time before you arrive at the end of the test. Taking the time to provide thoughtful answers to test questions allows you to offer a clear picture of your skills and capabilities. Earning a high score on the ASVAB may give you more options when it comes to choosing a specialty.
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.