From the time of its inception, the U.S. Armed Forces played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged as a result of victory in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. Even so, the founders of the United States were suspicious of a permanent military force. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, continuing to serve as the armed forces of the United States, although a number of its officers resigned to join the military of the Confederate States. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the Cold War's onset, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the Secretary of Defense; and created the Department of the Air Force and the National Security Council. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.

The CAT-ASVAB is a computer-based exam that is only provided at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) for enlistment purposes. The test is customized based on the taker’s answers, so if one question is answered correctly, the next one will be more difficult. This exam is timed, although users have the option of pacing themselves throughout the exam. However, it is not possible to go back through the test and check answers or change responses after they have been submitted. The CAT-ASVAB is broken down into 10 subparts, including basics such as arithmetic and verbal skills as well as auto information, electronics, shop, and mechanical knowledge.

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.


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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