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.
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.
Obviously, the most important way to prepare to take the test is to spend plenty of time reviewing practice test questions. Look at questions from all sections of the test, but pay special attention to questions on the Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Mathematics Knowledge sections, which will be used to calculate your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score for enlistment.
High school and postsecondary students can also take the ASVAB test as part of the Department of Defense’s Career Exploration Program. This paper-and-pencil version of the test is the same as the paper-and-pencil enlistment version but excludes the Assembling Objects section. It is intended to help those students considering a career in the military to discover their strengths in both military and civilian jobs. If the student scores high enough in the AFQT section of the test, he may use the score to enlist within the two-year expiration window.
While you may want to get the ASVAB over with, it is important to give yourself enough time to prepare and practice for the ASVAB. Once you take the test you will have to wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take the test if you got a non-passing score, or if you want a better grade. After you retake the test twice, you will need to wait for a 6 month time period before being able to take the test again. For this reason, it is important to pick an ASVAB test date that gives you plenty of time to practice and prepare for each section of the test.

By military department, $146.9 billion was allocated for the Department of the Army, $168.8 billion for the Department of the Navy, $161.8 billion for the Department of the Air Force and $102.8 billion for DoD-wide spending.[6] By function, $138.6 billion was requested for personnel, $244.4 billion for operations and maintenance, $118.9 billion for procurement, $69.0 billion for research and development, $1.3 billion for revolving and management funds, $6.9 billion for military construction and $1.3 billion for family housing.[6]
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.
If you're looking for more information on the ASVAB, we've also written extensive articles about the test to help you feel confident on test day. Read through these informational ASVAB resources at any time to learn more about the purpose of the ASVAB, important concepts related to ASVAB qualification requirements, passing scores, registration process, test-taking strategies and much more.
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.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is the most widely used multiple-aptitude test battery in the world. As an aptitude test, the ASVAB measures your strengths, weaknesses, and potential for future success. The ASVAB also provides you with career information for various civilian and military occupations and is an indicator for success in future endeavors whether you choose to go to college, vocational school, or a military career.
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.
Registration for the ASVAB is done entirely through your local recruiter. They will not want to start the application process without being confident that you will be a qualified applicant, so they will first ask you some information about your age, fitness, and marital status, among other things. They will likely also administer a short practice exam before taking you to a testing center to either give you a realistic idea of which jobs you would qualify for or to help you decide if it would be better to study before taking it.

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.
Direct commission: civilians who have special skills that are critical to sustaining military operations and supporting troops may receive direct commissions. These officers occupy leadership positions in law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, intelligence, supply-logistics-transportation, engineering, public affairs, chaplain, oceanography and others.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is the most widely used multiple-aptitude test battery in the world. As an aptitude test, the ASVAB measures your strengths, weaknesses, and potential for future success. The ASVAB also provides you with career information for various civilian and military occupations and is an indicator for success in future endeavors whether you choose to go to college, vocational school, or a military career.
Anyone who is planning to enlist in the United States Armed Forces should be familiar with the military’s standards and screening processes. An important part of this screening process is the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which is a subsection of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This standardized assessment measures a candidate’s skills in the areas of paragraph comprehension, word knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, and mathematics knowledge.
You are tested in four critical areas — Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge (see below) — these scores count towards your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. The AFQT score determines whether you’re qualified to enlist in the U.S. military. Your scores in the other areas of the ASVAB determine how qualified you are for certain military specialties. Score high, and your chances of getting the specialty/job you want increase. The better score you get, the better chance you have of pursuing the specialty or field that you desire.
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.
PiCAT testing does require a shorter “verification test” for new recruits. This is in the form of a short, proctored test that lasts about a half an hour. Depending on circumstances, recruits may be required to take this verification test at a Military Entrance Processing Station, or within 30 days of taking PiCAT if the recruit is not going to MEPS right away. Those who do not pass the verification test will be required to take the ASVAB.
After the final ability estimate is computed, it is converted to a standard score on the ASVAB score scale that has been statistically linked to the ability estimate through a process called equating. Equating studies are conducted for every paper and pencil ASVAB form to ensure that scores have the same meaning regardless of which test form the examinee receives.
Ready to start preparing for the ASVAB? Take our free, 15-question ASVAB practice test on Study.com. Each free practice test comes with a diagnostic report of your strengths and weaknesses, so you'll know what to study next. After establishing a high-level understanding of what you need to focus on, become a Study.com member and gain access to custom ASVAB study guides and additional practice tests!
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.
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.
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