Don’t be fooled by the appearance of the low numbers, the algorithm that computes the AFQT is very sophisticated. Just because your ASVAB score is 40 doesn’t mean that you only got 40% of the questions correct, it could simply mean that you lack strength in one area, but succeed with high praise in another. Your ASVAB score is only a means by which you are categorized for available positions; it is by no means a measure of intelligence.
A good score on the ASVAB is different than a minimum required score. Each of the military branches will have their own minimum required scores (see below). In practice, however, each branch will be more selective in their recruiting. A score of 50 on the ASVAB implies that you scored as well or better than 50% of comparable test-takers. Since ASVAB scores are used for many purposes (e.g., enlistment eligibility, military job placements, and career exploration), it is important that you score well on the ASVAB. A score of 60 or better should be your minimum target.
The ASVAB was created in 1968. By 1976, all branches of the military began using this test. In 2002, the test underwent many revisions, but its main goal of gauging a person’s basic skills remained the same. Today, there is a computerized version of the test as well as a written version. The Department of Defense developed this test and it’s taken by students in thousands of schools across the country. It is also given at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).
The ASVAB is a series of tests developed by the Department of Defense and is used by the U.S. Army to determine whether you have the mental aptitude to enlist. The ASVAB also helps determine which Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) you qualify for. The ASVAB is required to enlist in the U.S. Army and is valid for two years. The ASVAB may be given in a computerized version at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or in a paper version at various Military Entrance Test (MET) sites around the country or at high schools and colleges.
Tests are administered at participating schools. Neither schools nor students incur any costs for taking the ASVAB or using the Career Exploration Program. A test administrator is provided for every testing session and that person has no additional recruitment responsibilities. Various accommodations are available for the ASVAB, such as having questions read aloud, providing extra time, and other accommodations. School staff members are responsible, however, for tests that are administered with accommodations because test administrators are only able to administer the ASVAB by following the standardized procedure. If the test is being used for enlisting, only scores obtained during standardized test sessions (with no accommodations) can be used.
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.
The content of the test has been clearly laid out, but there is still a ton of information concerning the actual place where the test is administered and the time that is allocated for each section. The computerized test is administered in a “military entrance processing station” (MEP) or a satellite region that is identified as a “military entrance tests site” (MET). The difference in the two locations is that the METs are the places that are responsible for administering the written test, while MEPs are the places that administer the computerized tests.
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.