Initially, recruits without higher education or college degrees will hold the pay grade of E-1 and will be elevated to E-2 usually soon after basic training. Different services have different incentive programs for enlistees, such as higher initial ranks for college credit, being an Eagle Scout and referring friends who go on to enlist as well. Participation in DEP is one way recruits can achieve rank before their departure to basic training.
There are different minimum AFQT score requirements for enlisting in the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard, although requirements will vary depending upon whether you have a high school diploma or a GED. Minimum score requirements change on a fairly regular basis, with higher scores being required during times of above-average enlistment levels. Enlistment bonuses, which are determined by your choice of military occupation, may also be influenced by AFQT scores.
 See two documents: Sims, W.H. and Truss, A.R., A Reexamination of the Normalization of Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Forms 6, 7, 6E, and 7E (Alexandria, VA: Center for Naval Analyses, September 1980); and Laurence, J.H. and Ramsberger, P.F., Low-Aptitude Men in the Military: Who Profits, Who Pays? (New York: Praeger, 1991).
Achieving the minimum required AFQT score established by an individual branch gets your foot in the door, but the higher you score, the better. For example, if you need a medical or criminal history waiver in order to enlist, the military personnel who make those decisions are more likely to take a chance on you if they think you’re a pretty smart cookie.
The ASVAB currently contains 9 sections (except the written test, which contains 8 sections). The duration of each test varies from as low as ten minutes up to 36 minutes for Arithmetic Reasoning; the entire ASVAB is three hours long. The test is typically administered in a computerized format at Military Entrance Processing Stations, known as MEPS, or at a satellite location called a Military Entrance Test (MET) site. The ASVAB is administered by computer at the MEPS, while a written version is given at most MET sites. Testing procedures vary depending on the mode of administration.
A military recruiter determines if the candidate is a possible recruit. A recruiter will ask about marital status, health, education, drug use, and arrest record. It is important for the candidate to be upfront and truthful when answering questions. Once the recruiter has determined the individual is qualified for additional processing, the ASVAB is scheduled. A physical examination may also be conducted at the time of the test.
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.