What is the military? In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the five armed service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Navy. There are three general categories of military people: active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve & guard forces (usually work a civilian job, but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). And of course there are the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present. But you're here to learn more about the military. There is much to learn! So first the basics. Exactly who is in charge?

The percentages of FY 1999 active duty NPS accessions in each AFQT category are shown in Table 2.8. The percentage of recruits in Categories I and II was approximately the same as their civilian counterparts (males - 39 versus 39 percent; females - 34 versus 33 percent). Category III accessions greatly exceeded civilian proportions (males - 61 versus 30 percent; females - 66 versus 37 percent), while the percentage of recruits in Category IV was much lower than in the civilian population (males - 1 percent versus 20 percent; females - less than 1 percent versus 22 percent). The low percentage of Category IV recruits is, in part, a result of DoD limits of 4 percent Category IV recruits, with even lower Service limits. Ten percent of civilian males and 9 percent of civilian females scored in Category V; DoD allows no Category V recruits.

The AFQT score is a percentile ranking between 1 and 99 that shows where your score is placed in relation to others. For example, if you score a 54 on the AFQT, this means that you scored as well as or better than 54% of other recruits. If you are not satisfied with your score and wish to retake the test to improve your chances at getting selected, you must wait a month before taking it again. You can retake the test as many times as you want, but after 3 attempts the waiting period jumps to 6 months.
Both you and your counselor will receive a copy of the results. Before you take the ASVAB, you will be asked to sign a statement authorizing the Department of Defense to score your test and return your results to your school. Each school determines if it will release your scores to the military services. If you are a junior, a senior, or a postsecondary school student, a recruiter may contact you. This can occur whether or not you take the ASVAB.
Law prohibits applicants in Category V from enlisting.[6] In addition, there are constraints placed on Category IV recruits; recruits in Category IV must be high school diploma graduates but cannot be denied enlistment solely on this criteria if the recruit is needed to satisfy established strength requirements. Furthermore, the law constrains the percentage of accessions who can fall between Categories IV-V (currently, the limit is 20% of all persons originally enlisted in a given armed force in a given fiscal year).[6]
The format is different depending on where you take the test. At MEP sites, the test is computer-based and is given in an adaptive format. This means that questions may get easier or harder based on your answers to previous questions. The ASVAB-CT does not allow you to review or change your answers, which some recruits may find difficult, but it has some advantages over the pencil-and-paper version given at satellite MET locations. Overall, the exam takes only about 1 ½ hours to complete, doing each section at your own pace – and you can see your scores as soon as you finish taking the test. The pencil-and-paper version takes longer (3-4 hours total time), is not adaptive, and has a time limit for each subtest. You are allowed to change your answers for each subtest before moving on to the next one, but only before the time limit is reached for that subtest. In addition, scores must be processed manually and so they are not available for a few days – although a preliminary AFQT score will be calculated and given to your recruiter once you have completed the test.

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.


GED holders who earn 15 college credits 100 level or greater are considered equivalent with those holding high school diplomas, so that they need only the Tier I score to enlist. Eligibility is not determined by score alone. Certain recruiting goal practices may require an applicant to achieve a higher score than the required minimum AFQT score in order to be considered for enlistment. Rules and regulations are subject to change; applicants should call their local recruiting center for up to date qualification information.[4][5]
The ASVAB, or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, is a timed test given to those entering the military. There are several different areas you will be tested in, and Varsity Tutors’ ASVAB Learning Tools focus on the general science and math sections of the ASVAB. The experience is important, because your ultimate score is used to assess your qualifications for various military occupations and specialties once you are enrolled. To achieve a high score, you have to study hard and concentrate on the areas that give you the most trouble. Free ASVAB practice tests online give you the chance to brush up on concepts, work on your weaknesses, and become familiar with the test format while studying the material you’ll be tested on.
High school and postsecondary students can also take the ASVAB test as part of the Department of Defense’s Career Exploration Program. This paper-and-pencil version of the test is the same as the paper-and-pencil enlistment version but excludes the Assembling Objects section. It is intended to help those students considering a career in the military to discover their strengths in both military and civilian jobs. If the student scores high enough in the AFQT section of the test, he may use the score to enlist within the two-year expiration window.
In 1974, the first six women naval aviators earned their wings as Navy pilots. The Congressionally mandated prohibition on women in combat places limitations on the pilots' advancement,[36] but at least two retired as captains.[37] In 1989, Captain Linda L. Bray, 29, became the first woman to command American soldiers in battle during the invasion of Panama. The 1991 Gulf War proved to be the pivotal time for the role of women in the U.S. Armed Forces to come to the attention of the world media; there are many reports of women engaging enemy forces during the conflict.[38]
There are nine different test areas as part of the ASVAB: general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, mathematics knowledge, electronics information, auto and shop information, assembling objects, and mechanical comprehension. The paragraph comprehension test area contains the fewest questions with 15. The word knowledge test area contains the most questions with 35. All other sections contain 20, 25, or 30 questions. Taking numerious ASVAB practice tests is recommended for test day success.
Development of military doctrine is perhaps the more important of all capability development activities, because it determines how military forces were, and are used in conflicts, the concepts and methods used by the command to employ appropriately military skilled, armed and equipped personnel in achievement of the tangible goals and objectives of the war, campaign, battle, engagement, action or a duel.[31] The line between strategy and tactics is not easily blurred, although deciding which is being discussed had sometimes been a matter of personal judgement by some commentators, and military historians. The use of forces at the level of organisation between strategic and tactical is called operational mobility.
The first recorded use of the word military in English, spelled militarie, was in 1585.[2] It comes from the Latin militaris (from Latin miles, meaning "soldier") through French, but is of uncertain etymology, one suggestion being derived from *mil-it- – going in a body or mass.[3][4] The word is now identified as denoting someone that is skilled in use of weapons, or engaged in military service, or in warfare.[5][6]

You’ll need to bring valid identification (photo ID, SSN card) to be admitted into the ASVAB testing room. Arrive on time— you’ll be turned away and required to reschedule if you are late. Your recruiter may give you a ride to and from the session, but he/she is not permitted in the testing room. You will not need to bring a calculator for the test.
Individuals can also complete a computer version of the test. This is an adaptive test, meaning the difficulty level of each question is determined based on whether the previous question was answered correctly or incorrectly. Aside from the fact that this version of the AFQT is a computer adaptive test, the number of questions that must be answered varies from the written version of the assessment. Individuals only need to answer a total of 59 questions. 89 minutes is allotted for the four sections of the Armed Forces Qualification Test, and test-takers typically have more than enough time to complete each section.
The ASVAB test can be taken at your school or a MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Stations) or MET (Mobile Examination Test) sites.  When the ASVAB is administered at your school, it is usually part of the Student Testing Program or Career Exploration Program.  When the ASVAB is given at MEPS or MET sites, it is part of the Enlistment Testing Program.  The ASVAB test content is the same no matter where you take it, except that you will not have to take the Assembling Objects test if you take the test at your school (as part of the Student Testing Program).  When you take the test in the Student Testing Program you will receive three composite scores (Verbal Skills, Math Skills, and Science and Technical Skills).  When you take the ASVAB as part of the Enlistment Testing Program, you will receive an AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score and Service composite scores.  These scores are used for assigning your military job.
The history of the U.S. Armed Forces dates to 14 June 1775, with the creation of the Continental Army, even before the Declaration of Independence marked the establishment of the United States. The Continental Navy, established on 13 October 1775, and Continental Marines, established on 10 November 1775, were created in close succession by the Second Continental Congress in order to defend the new nation against the British Empire in the American Revolutionary War.

Candidates taking the ASVAB are given a AFQT (Armed Forces Qualifying Test) score which is simply a combination of your scores from four tests (Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge, and Paragraph Comprehension). This AFQT score is represented as a percentile (from 1-99) which depicts how well you scored compared to other test takers. For example, if your score is a 57, this means that you scored better than 57% of the other test takers. The AFQT score is used to determine whether you are qualified to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Command over the U.S. Armed Forces is established in the Constitution. The sole power of command is vested in the President by Article II as Commander-in-Chief. The Constitution presumes the existence of "executive Departments" headed by "principal officers", whose appointment mechanism is provided for in the Appointments Clause. This allowance in the Constitution formed the basis for creation of the Department of Defense in 1947 by the National Security Act. The DoD is headed by the Secretary of Defense, who is a civilian and member of the Cabinet. The Defense Secretary is second in the U.S. Armed Forces chain of command, with the exception of the Coast Guard, which is under the Secretary of Homeland Security, and is just below the President and serves as the principal assistant to the President in all defense-related matters.[16] Together, the President and the Secretary of Defense comprise the National Command Authority, which by law is the ultimate lawful source of military orders.[17]
SOC is a consortium of more than 1550 colleges and universities that provide educational opportunities for servicemembers and their families. It is co-sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and managed for the DoD by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES). Course work can be done on campus, at military installations and armories, and at a distance by computer or correspondence. Associate, bachelor, and graduate-level degree programs are available. Special curriculum areas include SOCAD (Army), SOCNAV (Navy), SOCMAR (Marines), and SOCGuard (Army National Guard). In addition, SOC operates ConAP (Concurrent Admissions Program) to increase college enrollment of Army enlistees (Army and Army Reserves). ConAP allows you to enlist in the Army at the same time as you apply for college. DANTES also operates its own Distance Learning Program. For more information, contact:
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.
For almost a century, the U.S. military has been a pioneer in the field of using aptitude tests to evaluate an individual’s potential for service. The organization also uses the test to determine aptitude for various military occupational specialties (MOS). The use of aptitude tests began during World War I. While the group-administered Army Alpha test measured verbal and numerical ability as well as general knowledge, the Army Beta test was used to evaluate illiterate, unschooled and non-English speaking volunteers and draftees. The Army and Navy General Classifications Tests replaced the Alpha and Beta tests as a means to measure cognitive ability during World War II. The results of these tests, as well as additional classification exams, were used to assign recruits to a particular MOS.
The AFQT is often mistakenly called the “overall ASVAB score.” You commonly hear someone say, “I got a 67 on the ASVAB,” or “My ASVAB score was 92.” That’s not correct; it implies that the AFQT is derived from all nine subtests of the ASVAB, and it’s not. The AFQT score is computed from just four of the ASVAB subtests that measure your math and communicative ability.

Additionally, all services except for the Air Force have an active warrant officer corps. Above the rank of warrant Officer One, these officers may also be commissioned, but usually serve in a more technical and specialized role within units. More recently, they can also serve in more traditional leadership roles associated with the more recognizable officer corps. With one notable exception (Army helicopter and fixed-wing pilots), these officers ordinarily have already been in the military often serving in senior NCO positions in the field in which they later serve as a warrant officer as a technical expert. Most Army pilots have served some enlisted time. It is also possible to enlist, complete basic training, go directly to the Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama and then on to flight school.
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).
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