AFQT scores are reported as percentiles between 1-99. An AFQT percentile score indicates the percentage of examinees in a reference group that scored at or below that particular score. For current AFQT scores, the reference group is a sample of 18 to 23 year old youth who took the ASVAB as part of a national study conducted in 1997. Thus, an AFQT score of 95 indicates that the examinee scored as well as or better than 95% of the nationally-representative sample of 18 to 23 year olds. An AFQT score of 60 indicates that the examinee scored as well as or better than 60% of the nationally-representative sample.
There is another ASVAB score that's equally important, if not more so, because it is the score that determines if a person is eligible for military service. It's the Armed Forces Qualification Test score, or AFQT score. This score is calculated from only four of the nine Standard Scores on the ASVAB - Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), and Word Knowledge (WK). First, the WK and PC scores are added together, then the sum is doubled. This is known as the Verbal Expression (VE) score. The VE, MK, and AR scores are then added together, and the sum is the AFQT. This score is a straight percentile measure, expressed as a number from 1-99. The number is the percentage of people who scored lower than the test taker. For example, if a person receives an AFQT score of 63, that means that he did better on the test than 63% of the people who have taken it.
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The paper-and-pencil version of the test administered at a Mobile Examination Test (MET) site usually takes 3–4 hours. The time needed to take the CAT-ASVAB test can vary. The test is adaptive. If the candidates answer a question correctly, they are given one of increasing difficulty. If the candidates miss a question, they are subsequently given an easier item. This pattern continues until the test is finished. Because of its adaptive nature, the CAT-ASVAB test generally takes about half the time of the paper-and-pencil version.
The other written test format is the Student ASVAB which is given at high schools, vocational schools, or colleges. This test lasts approximately three hours. The Written Arithmetic Reasoning subtest of the ASVAB consists of 30 multiple choice questions, which must be answered in 36 minutes. Below are a few sample questions which are very similar to the actual questions you'll see on the ASVAB:
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.
Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), Auto & Shop Information (AS), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC). These subtests focus on basic knowledge of science, math, writing and vocabulary, an understanding of structural development and mechanics, auto function and repair, and a knowledge of electric currents, electronic systems, and circuits. These are all skills and knowledge that are necessary for different sectors of military service. Scores in each subtest are based on the student’s ability to answer the questions correctly and to complete the test in time to answer as many of the questions as possible.
Figure 2.7 shows FY 1977 as the low point and FY 1992 as the high point in accessing recruits in Categories I to IIIA. In FY 1977, 34 percent of accessions scored in the top half of the AFQT distribution. Only 13 percent of Blacks, 19 percent of Hispanics, and 20 percent of "Others" scored in Categories I–IIIA.  Fifteen years later, in FY 1992, the majority of minority accessions achieved scores in the I–IIIA range (Blacks - 56 percent, Hispanics - 67 percent, "Others" - 67 percent). Hispanics have shown the most marked increase, with a 48-percentage-point gain in Category I to IIIA accessions from FY 1977 to FY 1992.
Nations are political and military units, but they are not necessarily the most important units in economic life, nor are they very much alike in any economic sense. All that nations really have in common is the political fact of their sovereignty. Indeed, the failure of national governments to control economic forces suggest that nations are irrelevant to promoting economic success.
Your performance in four basic areas – Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), and Word Knowledge (WK) determines whether you’ve made the grade. Your scores in the AR, MK, and Verbal Composite (VE, which is WK+PC) sections add up to the all-important “AFQT” (Armed Forces Qualifying Test) score that recruiters use to see if you are eligible to serve.
First, the ASVAB measures your accumulated knowledge in different areas. So if you are currently in school, stay focused and study hard. Your overall knowledge gained in school will most likely be reflected in your ASVAB score. Second, though accumulated knowledge is important, you may be able to raise your score by preparing specifically for the ASVAB, especially in areas where you are weak. Various study guides are available for this purpose (listed left).
25. Use the following passage to answer questions 25 and 26. Sarah is about to fly from New York to Los Angeles. She packs the night before and checks her list three times. Anxiety keeps her from sleeping well. The next morning, she accidentally puts salt in her coffee instead of sugar. She forgets her purse and has to go back to the house to get it. Finally, she arrives at the airport just in time to catch her flight. The flight is uneventful, and soon Sarah is landing at LAX. Her sister is waiting for her. What was the main idea of this passage?
It is critical to know how ASVAB scores are calculated and what they are used for. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests are used to identify whether a candidate is qualified to enlist in a particular branch of the U.S. Military. The ASVAB test is also used to determine which military jobs (referred to as MOS for Military Occupational Specialties) a candidate is best suited for. ASVAB scores can also be used by test takers to help explore which careers they may be a good fit for them – whether they go into the military or not. While no one officially passes or fails the ASVAB, each branch of the military has specific minimum scores required for enlistment. Your scores also affect the type of military job, enlistment bonuses and salary you are eligible for.
You often hear people say something like, "I got a 70 on the ASVAB." What they are talking about is the ASVAB AFQT score or Armed Forces Qualification Test Score. Many people think the AFQT score is the overall ASVAB score, but that's not correct. In fact, the AFQT score is derived from only four of the nine ASVAB subtests: Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Word Knowledge (WK), Mathematics Knowlege (MK), and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR).