The exam is not a “pass or fail” test. Your score in each area reflects your own unique abilities. Of course, you will want to study with the aim of doing your best so that you can qualify for a job that fits your skills and career interests. Your AFQT score is compared to the scores of other recruits in the 18-23 year age bracket to see how your potential measures up.
As a general rule of thumb, anything over an 85 on the ASVAB will qualify you for nearly any position in the armed forces. But there are slight breakdowns within each score. For example, in order to qualify for Surveillance and Communications (SC) in the Army, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, Auto & Shop and Mechanical Comprehension all require high marks. Though scoring an 85 or above would guarantee you scored in a high enough percentile to qualify for SC.
The AFQT score is a percentile score. What does that mean? In 1997, a study, known as the "Profile of American Youth," was conducted by the Department of Defense in cooperation with the Department of Labor. DOD administered the ASVAB to around 12,000 individuals, ranging in age from 16 to 23. Your AFQT score is a comparison of how well you scored on the four subtests, compared to those who took the ASVAB as part of the 1997 survey. In other words, if you have an AFQT score of 70, that means you scored as well or better than 70 percent of those 12,000 folks.
This will show you exactly what your weak areas are, and where you need to devote more study time. Ask yourself why each of these questions gave you trouble. Was it because you didn’t understand the material? Was it because you didn’t remember the vocabulary? Do you need more repetitions on this type of question to build speed and confidence? Dig into those questions and figure out how you can strengthen your weak areas as you go back to review the material.
Since 1976, the multiple-choice ASVAB has been used for initial aptitude screening as well as MOS classification. The exam has changed since its inception. While some parts have remained, such as arithmetic reasoning and word knowledge, others like tool knowledge have been removed in favor of questions related to assembling objects. After nearly 20 years of research and development, a computer-adaptive version of the exam was implemented in 1996. The CAT-ASVAB is the first large-scale adaptive battery test to be administered in high-stakes environments like a Military Entrance Processing Station. The paper and pencil, or P&P version is still used at a variety of other military testing sites.
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.
The content of the test has been clearly laid out, but there is still a ton of information concerning the actual place where the test is administered and the time that is allocated for each section. The computerized test is administered in a “military entrance processing station” (MEP) or a satellite region that is identified as a “military entrance tests site” (MET). The difference in the two locations is that the METs are the places that are responsible for administering the written test, while MEPs are the places that administer the computerized tests.
The various armed forces adopted all of those aspects in 1976. At that point in time, the test was in its written form rather than today’s more common form (computerized test format). The written form covers all of the previously mentioned areas as well, which is why both forms are still available. All-in-all that answers the question concerning the intention of the test.
Law prohibits applicants in Category V from enlisting. In addition, there are constraints placed on Category IV recruits; recruits in Category IV must be high school diploma graduates but cannot be denied enlistment solely on this criteria if the recruit is needed to satisfy established strength requirements. Furthermore, the law constrains the percentage of accessions who can fall between Categories IV-V (currently, the limit is 20% of all persons originally enlisted in a given armed force in a given fiscal year).
Whereas recruits who join as officers tend to be upwardly-mobile, most enlisted personnel have a childhood background of relative socio-economic deprivation. For example, after the US suspended conscription in 1973, "the military disproportionately attracted African American men, men from lower-status socioeconomic backgrounds, men who had been in nonacademic high school programs, and men whose high school grades tended to be low".
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