You often hear people say something like, "I got a 70 on the ASVAB." What they are talking about is the ASVAB AFQT score or Armed Forces Qualification Test Score. Many people think the AFQT score is the overall ASVAB score, but that's not correct. In fact, the AFQT score is derived from only four of the nine ASVAB subtests: Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Word Knowledge (WK), Mathematics Knowlege (MK), and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR).
The Paragraph Comprehension section of the test measures your ability to read a passage and interpret the information contained within it. You may read a selection and be asked to interpret the author’s purpose, or what a particular word in the passage means, based on the context of the sentence where it appears. To help you better prepare for the exam, the Paragraph Comprehension section of the ASVAB practice test has passages of similar length and style to those on the actual ASVAB test. The CAT-ASVAB test has 11 questions in 22 minutes; the paper-and-pencil version has 15 questions in 13 minutes.
The Armed Forces Qualifying Test, commonly known as the AFQT, is used by the United States military to assess prospective service members. The questions on this test are taken from the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery. The following ASVAB subject areas are included in the test: arithmetical reasoning (AR), mathematics knowledge (MK), verbal expression (VE), paragraph comprehension (PC), and word knowledge (WK). These are the most general academic content areas on the ASVAB. The formula for computing scores on the AFQT test is AR + MK + (2 x VE), with VE = PC + MK. Scores are then placed in the following categories: Category I (93 to 99), Category II (65 to 92), Category IIIA (50 to 64), Category IIIB (31 to 49), Category IVA (21 to 30), Category IVB (16 to 20), Category IVC (10 to 15), and Category V (0 to 9). These AFQT test score categories are percentiles, which indicate how well the test-taker performed relative to others. A person scoring a 50, for example, performed as well as or better than half of the other test-takers. The percentile score is based on the raw score (number of questions answered correctly) and the difficulty of the test version. The minimum passing score for the AFQT varies between branches of the military.
The ASVAB is a series of timed aptitude tests that are used to classify selected candidates into appropriate job roles as well as ultimately decide the eligibility of candidates for US military service. In other words, perform poorly on this test and you could severely limit your opportunities in the military or even prevent yourself from serving.
Capability development, which is often referred to as the military 'strength', is arguably one of the most complex activities known to humanity; because it requires determining: strategic, operational, and tactical capability requirements to counter the identified threats; strategic, operational, and tactical doctrines by which the acquired capabilities will be used; identifying concepts, methods, and systems involved in executing the doctrines; creating design specifications for the manufacturers who would produce these in adequate quantity and quality for their use in combat; purchase the concepts, methods, and systems; create a forces structure that would use the concepts, methods, and systems most effectively and efficiently; integrate these concepts, methods, and systems into the force structure by providing military education, training, and practice that preferably resembles combat environment of intended use; create military logistics systems to allow continued and uninterrupted performance of military organisations under combat conditions, including provision of health services to the personnel, and maintenance for the equipment; the services to assist recovery of wounded personnel, and repair of damaged equipment; and finally, post-conflict demobilisation, and disposal of war stocks surplus to peacetime requirements.
As an adjective, military originally referred only to soldiers and soldiering, but it soon broadened to apply to land forces in general, and anything to do with their profession. The names of both the Royal Military Academy (1741) and United States Military Academy (1802) reflect this. However, at about the time of the Napoleonic Wars, 'military' began to be used in reference to armed forces as a whole, and in the 21st century expressions like 'military service', 'military intelligence', and 'military history' encompass naval and air force aspects. As such, it now connotes any activity performed by armed force personnel.
Once the ASVAB is over, participants are given a score. This score is used by recruiters to determine which branch of the military would be a good fit for a given test-taker. The most important score for the ASVAB for military purposes is the AFQT score. The AFQT score looks at results from the following sections: Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Math Knowledge (MK), and multiplies the Verbal Composite (VE) score by two. This is because the Verbal Composite Score is composed of both the Word Knowledge and the Paragraph Comprehension scores. Each branch of the military requires a different minimum AFQT score for its members. For the army and marines, this number is 31, for the navy 35, the air force 36, and the coast guard 45. Therefore, this test is a crucial part of any military career, and can determine potential jobs and advancement opportunities. Along with advancement opportunities come higher salaries and greater benefits, which makes the ASVAB an essential element for prospective military service personnel at any level.
A graphic view of the increasing trend in AFQT performance of accessions from FY 1981 through FY 1992 is provided in Figure 2.8. The more significant gains were in Categories I to IIIA, where the percentages increased from 47 percent in FY 1981 to 75 percent in FY 1992. Conversely, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of Category IIIB accessions. Most dramatic has been the decrease in accessions who score in Category IV—from 33 percent in FY 1979 to one percent or less since FY 1991. There has been a gradual decline in the percentage of accessions in Categories I to IIIA in the last seven years, from 75 to 65 percent.
Test scores provide only one measure of your skills and abilities. Test scores and grades, combined with information about your interests, values, skills, and achievements may help you select appropriate occupations for career exploration. As you explore careers, you can compare your skills with the skill requirements of occupations in which you are interested.