ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. It is a test that was originally established in 1968 to measure and predict the success of an applicant in various academic and occupational pursuits in the military. High school and post-secondary students and adults take the test more than one million times each year. If you’re interested in joining the military, or if you already have and would like to take a sample test, simply navigate through the ten practice test sections and take whichever tests you’d like as often as you’d like.
The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the largest militaries in terms of the number of personnel. It draws its personnel from a large pool of paid volunteers. Although conscription has been used in the past in various times of both war and peace, it has not been used since 1972, but the Selective Service System retains the power to conscript males, and requires that all male citizens and residents residing in the U.S. between the ages of 18–25 register with the service.
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 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.
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 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.