Commander-in-chief: President of the United States Secretary of Defense Deputy Secretary of Defense Secretary of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Joint Chiefs of Staff: Chairman Vice Chairman United States Congress: Committees on Armed Services: Senate House Active duty four-star officers United States military seniority National Security Act of 1947 Goldwater–Nichols Act
It is critical to know how ASVAB scores are calculated and what they are used for.  The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests are used to identify whether a candidate is qualified to enlist in a particular branch of the U.S. Military.  The ASVAB test is also used to determine which military jobs (referred to as MOS for Military Occupational Specialties) a candidate is best suited for.  ASVAB scores can also be used by test takers to help explore which careers they may be a good fit for them – whether they go into the military or not. While no one officially passes or fails the ASVAB, each branch of the military has specific minimum scores required for enlistment.  Your scores also affect the type of military job, enlistment bonuses and salary you are eligible for.
General Science tests the ability to answer questions on a variety of science topics drawn from courses taught in most high schools. The life science items cover botany, zoology, anatomy and physiology, and ecology. The earth and space science items are based on astronomy, geology, meteorology and oceanography. The physical science items measure force and motion mechanics, energy, fluids, atomic structure and chemistry.
NEW! - Utilize these flashcards to help you learn and remember the most important terms you will find on your ASVAB Word Knowledge test.  Navigate through the flashcards by clicking next and previous.  You can press Flip to see the definitions.  If you got the definition correct, mark it "correct" - otherwise mark it incorrect.  When you get through all of the flashcards, you will be given the option to review all the cards, or just the ones you marked incorrect. Good luck!
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.
There are several different authorized pay grade advancement requirements in each junior-enlisted rank category (E-1 to E-3), which differ by service. Enlistees in the Army can attain the initial pay grade of E-4 (specialist) with a four-year degree, but the highest initial pay grade is usually E-3 (members of the Army Band program can expect to enter service at the grade of E-4). Promotion through the junior enlisted ranks occurs after serving for a specified number of years (which can be waived by the soldier's chain of command), a specified level of technical proficiency or maintenance of good conduct. Promotion can be denied with reason.
Army.mil says of ASVAB/PiCAT testing, “The ASVAB is usually given in schools by test administrators from the federal government. Schools determine where and when the ASVAB will be given. See your academic advisor for more information. If you’re not currently in school, contact your local recruiter.” Test administration and scheduling procedures are handled differently by each branch of the military.
All test takers are given a summary results sheet that shows their percentile score in every test area. A percentile score of 50 means that a score was achieved that was better than 50 percent of all test takers. Percentile scores are given specifically for test takers of their gender and their grade level. Information obtained from the test is only shared with agencies within the Department of Defense. Test takers are informed that their specific scores will be used for up to two years for recruiting purposes. After two years, test scores will be used for research purposes only.
Our comprehensive study guide for the AFQT is written by our AFQT experts, who painstakingly researched the topics and the concepts that you need to know to ace your AFQT. Our original research into the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), offered by the Department of Defense (DOD), reveals the specific content areas and the essential skills that are critical for you to know on the AFQT. We've taken the information and developed a study guide that is guaranteed to help you be successful on the AFQT.

The Student ASVAB is the most flexible of the exams. It is typically provided to high school students to help them assess their skills, job prospects, potential military positions, or college majors. The ASVAB for students is essentially the same as the MET ASVAB exam, only students are not necessarily testing for positions within the military. The students’ school counselors examine their scores and help them decide on what to do after graduating from high school. This test is still an important component of a student’s education because it can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and help set them on the right track for their future career goals.


The AFQT has been used in non-military settings as a proxy measure of intelligence, for example, in Herrnstein & Murray's book The Bell Curve. Because of the test's significance both inside and outside military settings, it is important to examine what the test measures, i.e. to evaluate the construct validity of the AFQT. Kaufman's 2010 review stated that David Marks (2010) scanned the literature for datasets containing test estimates for populations or groups taking both the AFQT and tests of literacy. One study on nine groups of soldiers differing in job and reading ability found a correlation of .96 between the AFQT and reading achievement (Sticht, Caylor, Kern, & Fox, 1972). Another study showed significant improvements among Black and Hispanic populations in their AFQT scores between 1980 and 1992 while Whites only showed a slight decrement (Kilburn, Hanser, & Klerman, 1998). Another study obtained reading scores for 17-year olds for those same ethnic groups and dates (Campbell et al., 2000) and found a correlation of .997 between reading scores and AFQT scores. This nearly perfect correlation was based on six pairs of data points from six independent population samples evaluated by two separate groups of investigators. According to Marks, "On the basis of the studies summarized here, there can be little doubt that the Armed Forces Qualifications Test is a measure of literacy." However, it is important to note that AFQT has been shown to correlate more highly with classic IQ tests than they do with one another, and that the "crystallized" intelligence measured by AFQT is measured very similarly by Wechsler, in particular.[8]
Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Mathematics Knowledge (MK). Scores on the AFQT are used to determine your eligibility for enlistment in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps. The other six test scores on the ASVAB tests are used to determine the best job for you in the military as your grades will demonstrate knowledge, skill, and interest in certain subjects and tasks. 

25. Use the following passage to answer questions 25 and 26. Sarah is about to fly from New York to Los Angeles. She packs the night before and checks her list three times. Anxiety keeps her from sleeping well. The next morning, she accidentally puts salt in her coffee instead of sugar. She forgets her purse and has to go back to the house to get it. Finally, she arrives at the airport just in time to catch her flight. The flight is uneventful, and soon Sarah is landing at LAX. Her sister is waiting for her. What was the main idea of this passage?

If you are pressed for time, it may be worthwhile to look into future ASVAB test dates in order to plan ahead in case you get a poor score on your upcoming ASVAB test. You can check with your high school counselor or your military recruiter to make sure that you will be eligible to take future tests along with your planned upcoming test date in the event that you get a bad ASVAB score.
Once you have learned about yourself, you are ready to begin exploring different career options.  Chances for a rewarding career are improved if you select a career field that matches your interests, values, skills, and abilities.  While learning about various careers, you should be constantly asking yourself, “How well does this career match my current interests, values, and abilities?” and “Will this career lead to a lifestyle I want?”
A good score on the ASVAB is different than a minimum required score.  Each of the military branches will have their own minimum required scores (see below).  In practice, however, each branch will be more selective in their recruiting.  A score of 50 on the ASVAB implies that you scored as well or better than 50% of comparable test-takers.  Since ASVAB scores are used for many purposes (e.g., enlistment eligibility, military job placements, and career exploration), it is important that you score well on the ASVAB.  A score of 60 or better should be your minimum target.
The ASVAB was created in 1968. By 1976, all branches of the military began using this test. In 2002, the test underwent many revisions, but its main goal of gauging a person’s basic skills remained the same. Today, there is a computerized version of the test as well as a written version. The Department of Defense developed this test and it’s taken by students in thousands of schools across the country. It is also given at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).
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.

Air Force recruits must score at least 36 points the 99-point ASVAB. The overall ASVAB score is known as the AFQT score, or Armed Forces Qualification Test score. Exceptions may be made, however, for a handful of high school graduates who can score as low as 31. The vast majority, some 70 percent, of those accepted for an Air Force enlistment achieve a score of 50 or above.
While considered part of the non-commissioned officer corps by law, senior non-commissioned officers (SNCOs) referred to as chief petty officers in the Navy and Coast Guard, or staff non-commissioned officers in the Marine Corps, perform duties more focused on leadership rather than technical expertise. Promotion to the SNCO ranks, E-7 through E-9 (E-6 through E-9 in the Marine Corps) is highly competitive. Personnel totals at the pay grades of E-8 and E-9 are limited by federal law to 2.5 percent and 1 percent of a service's enlisted force, respectively. SNCOs act as leaders of small units and as staff. Some SNCOs manage programs at headquarters level and a select few wield responsibility at the highest levels of the military structure. Most unit commanders have a SNCO as an enlisted advisor. All SNCOs are expected to mentor junior commissioned officers as well as the enlisted in their duty sections. The typical enlistee can expect to attain SNCO rank after 10 to 16 years of service.

You’ll find a great practice test and lots of other information about the ASVAB at the Department of Defense's ASVAB Career Exploration Program site (ASVABprogram.com). Since your test scores can have an impact on your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)—and whether or not you can attend certain special schools (like Airborne school, Sniper school and many others)—we recommend you make the most of these additional resources.
The Arithmetic Reasoning section of the test measures your ability to solve arithmetic word problems. You may be asked questions such as “If the tire of a car rotates at a constant speed of 552 times in 1 minute, how many times will the tire rotate in half an hour?” Therefore, reviewing common math key words associated with each operation is recommended. For example, if you see the key words “in all,” the problem deals with addition. If the problem asks you to “find the difference,” you are being asked to subtract. If a question asks “how many times” per day or week, you know you are dealing with multiplication. If it asks “how many in each,” you should be thinking about division. The CAT-ASVAB has 16 questions in 39 minutes; the paper-and-pencil version has 30 questions in 36 minutes.
Auto and Shop Information tests aptitude for automotive maintenance and repair, and wood and metal shop practices. The test covers several areas commonly included in most high school auto and shop courses, such as automotive components, automotive systems, automotive tools, troubleshooting and repair, shop tools, building materials, and building and construction procedures.

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.


Taking the PiCAT exam may, depending on circumstances including scores and other factors, may relieve a new recruit of having to take the ASVAB in a proctored setting. In the past, recruits who were preparing to enter military service at Military Entrance Processing Station would take the ASVAB in a group setting; PiCAT can help new recruits avoid having to retake the test. PiCAT test performance and other factors will determine whether or not the ASVAB has to be taken at MEPS.
General Science tests the ability to answer questions on a variety of science topics drawn from courses taught in most high schools. The life science items cover botany, zoology, anatomy and physiology, and ecology. The earth and space science items are based on astronomy, geology, meteorology and oceanography. The physical science items measure force and motion mechanics, energy, fluids, atomic structure and chemistry.
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