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.
Individuals can also complete a computer version of the test. This is an adaptive test, meaning the difficulty level of each question is determined based on whether the previous question was answered correctly or incorrectly. Aside from the fact that this version of the AFQT is a computer adaptive test, the number of questions that must be answered varies from the written version of the assessment. Individuals only need to answer a total of 59 questions. 89 minutes is allotted for the four sections of the Armed Forces Qualification Test, and test-takers typically have more than enough time to complete each section.
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.
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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.