The profession of soldiering as part of a military is older than recorded history itself. Some of the most enduring images of the classical antiquity portray the power and feats of its military leaders. The Battle of Kadesh in 1274 BC was one of the defining points of Pharaoh Ramses II's reign, and is celebrated in bas-relief on his monuments. A thousand years later, the first emperor of unified China, Qin Shi Huang, was so determined to impress the gods with his military might, he was buried with an army of terracotta soldiers. The Romans were dedicated to military matters, leaving to posterity many treatises and writings, as well as a large number of lavishly carved triumphal arches and victory columns.
The CAT-ASVAB is an adaptive test which means the test adapts to the ability of the test-taker. It is possible to administer a shorter test this way than with the pencil and paper test. When you complete a subsection of the test, you can then move onto the next section of the test without having to wait for an administrator. Subsections are still timed however and on average it takes about 1 ½ hours to complete the computer ASVAB.
Jobs in the Marine Corps are referred to as”MOS” (short for Military Occupational Specialty). To find the MOSes you qualify for, the Marine Corps organizes your ASVAB subtest scores into various groups known as line scores. The ASVAB subtests are: General Science (GS); Arithmetic Reasoning (AR); Word Knowledge (WK); Paragraph Comprehension (PC); Numerical Operations (NO); Coding Speed (CS); Auto and Shop Information (AS); Mathematics Knowledge (MK); Mechanical Comprehension (MC); Electronics Information (EI); and Sum of Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension (VE). It’s important to remember that as Numerical Operations (NO) and Coding Speed (CS) subtests are phased out, some line scores may be updated.
The ASVAB is one of the most widely used aptitude tests in the world. The intent of the ASVAB test battery is to assess a candidate's potential for future success in the U.S. Military. Because of the nature of the test, the ASVAB can also be used to give a candidate valuable information about both military and civilian career choices that they may be suited for.
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:
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The General Science section of the test covers earth, space, and physical and life sciences. Because science is such a vast and dynamic topic, focus your study on basic principles. This gives you a good foundation to work through any question that is asked of you. Typical questions may include: “Why is air less dense than water?” or “How do you convert Celsius temperature to Fahrenheit?” The CAT-ASVAB test asks 16 questions in 8 minutes, while the pencil-and-paper version asks 25 questions in 11 minutes.
The percentages of FY 1999 active duty NPS accessions in each AFQT category are shown in Table 2.8. The percentage of recruits in Categories I and II was approximately the same as their civilian counterparts (males - 39 versus 39 percent; females - 34 versus 33 percent). Category III accessions greatly exceeded civilian proportions (males - 61 versus 30 percent; females - 66 versus 37 percent), while the percentage of recruits in Category IV was much lower than in the civilian population (males - 1 percent versus 20 percent; females - less than 1 percent versus 22 percent). The low percentage of Category IV recruits is, in part, a result of DoD limits of 4 percent Category IV recruits, with even lower Service limits. Ten percent of civilian males and 9 percent of civilian females scored in Category V; DoD allows no Category V recruits.
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The MET (Mobile Examination Test) Site ASVAB is only for those who have been referred by a recruiter to take the exam because it is only for enlistment into one of the branches of the military. This exam is broken up into 8 parts and is very similar to the CAT-ASVAB. The primary difference here is that the MET Site ASVAB is conducted with a pencil and paper rather than on the computer. This means that the answers to the MET ASVAB can be changed, but the test is still timed, so it is a good idea to keep track of the time while testing. Also, test takers for the MET ASVAB are not penalized for wrong answers, so always guess and respond to all of the questions in order to maximize your chances for scoring well on the exam.
A Note About Raw Scores. A raw score is not the same as the standard scores you see on your ASVAB score sheet. On the ASVAB, harder questions are worth more points than easier questions. The raw score is the total number of points you earned on that particular ASVAB subtest. You won't know what your raw score is because the military doesn't include that information on the ASVAB score sheet.
The vast majority of ASVAB test takers will ultimately not enlist in the military. The ASVAB Career Exploration Program claims that only two-and-a-half percent of those who participate in the ASVAB join the military. Forty-seven percent of those who take the exam indicate an interest in attending a four-year college, and 16 percent of those who take the exam originally indicate some kind of an interest in joining the military.
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Retesting is possible depending on a variety of circumstances. It is possible to retake the ASVAB or PiCAT, but you will need to coordinate this with your recruiting office. In general you may be required to wait a month or more to retake the test; each branch of the service may have different requirements that must be fulfilled in order to retest.
One ASVAB sub-measure, the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT)--which is just a separate analysis of the same tests that focuses only on four of the subtests--is also population-referenced, but its score from 1-99 is a percentile score. This means that if you score a 73, you scored as well as or higher than 73% of test-takers in the national sample.