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.  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.  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.
After adopting the test in 1976 the test became a way of indicating whether or not an individual was 100% qualified to serve. As previously mentioned this aptitude test has a colorful history. That is because it underwent a dramatic change in 2002 and another dramatic change in 2004. The change that occurred in 2002 expanded the categories of the test and the overall difficulty. This can be seen by the addition of all of the diverse categories below:
Getting a low score on the ASVAB might mean missing a chance at the military job you really want–or possibly not getting in the military at all. If the thought of taking the ASVAB has you stressed out, don’t worry- we’re here to help! Our free practice test for the ASVAB will help you identify areas or concepts you may struggle with understanding, so you can maximize the time you have to study and get the score you want the first time.