The ASVAB tests recruits in ten different areas. It is presented as ten short tests administered over a three-hour period. Traditionally, the ASVAB is a “proctored” test, meaning that it has required supervision to administer in order to maintain the integrity of the test. However, changes to military recruiting and technology in general have helped the ASVAB evolve as a 21st century tool.
Prospective service members are often recruited from high school or college, the target age ranges being 18–35 in the Army, 18–28 in the Marine Corps, 18–34 in the Navy, 18–39 in the Air Force and 18–27 (up to age 32 if qualified for attending guaranteed "A" school) in the Coast Guard. With the permission of a parent or guardian, applicants can enlist at age 17 and participate in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), in which the applicant is given the opportunity to participate in locally sponsored military activities, which can range from sports to competitions led by recruiters or other military liaisons (each recruiting station's DEP varies).
Educational Opportunities–More educational opportunities are available than ever before. Alternatives to traditional education, such as online courses and weekend or evening programs, allow individuals to obtain higher education while working full-time. New technology, such as live podcasts and streaming videos on demand, make it possible for people to learn at their own pace in their own place. Education is a lifelong process. Many people now choose to combine their education with work experience. For instance, instead of attending a four-year college immediately after high school, some people get a two-year degree in a particular field and then enter the job force. At some point, they may choose to complete a certificate program or a four-year degree to advance in their chosen field. Other people choose to enter the Military to take advantage of the educational benefits and training that is provided. There are a variety of occupations and career paths that you can pursue with different levels of education. Do not rule out a given career field simply because you think that the educational requirements might be more than what you would like to pursue after high school.
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.
Anyone who is planning to enlist in the United States Armed Forces should be familiar with the military’s standards and screening processes. An important part of this screening process is the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which is a subsection of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This standardized assessment measures a candidate’s skills in the areas of paragraph comprehension, word knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, and mathematics knowledge.
The military organization is characterized by a strict hierarchy divided by military rank, with ranks normally grouped (in descending order of authority) as officers (e.g. Colonel), non-commissioned officers (e.g. Sergeant), and personnel at the lowest rank (e.g. Private Soldier). While senior officers make strategic decisions, subordinated military personnel (soldiers, sailors, marines, or airmen) fulfil them. Although rank titles vary by military branch and country, the rank hierarchy is common to all state armed forces worldwide.
The way to prepare for this exam is study hard and then quiz yourself with plenty of practice ASVAB tests. Remember that the exam is identical for all branches, so an Army ASVAB practice test is exactly the same as an ASVAB practice test for the Navy. The most important components of the test are the ones that count towards the Armed Services Qualifications Test, or AFQT. These sections are Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Math Knowledge. For tips and strategies for success on these questions, be sure to review our article on ASVAB Test Prep.
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".
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 Student ASVAB is the most flexible of the exams. It is typically provided to high school students to help them assess their skills, job prospects, potential military positions, or college majors. The ASVAB for students is essentially the same as the MET ASVAB exam, only students are not necessarily testing for positions within the military. The students’ school counselors examine their scores and help them decide on what to do after graduating from high school. This test is still an important component of a student’s education because it can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and help set them on the right track for their future career goals.