With very few exceptions, becoming a non-commissioned officer (NCO) or petty officer in the U.S. Armed Forces is accomplished by progression through the lower enlisted ranks. However, unlike promotion through the lower enlisted tier, promotion to NCO is generally competitive. NCO ranks begin at E-4 or E-5, depending upon service and are generally attained between three and six years of service. Junior NCOs function as first-line supervisors and squad leaders, training the junior enlisted in their duties and guiding their career advancement.
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.
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.
As a general rule of thumb, anything over an 85 on the ASVAB will qualify you for nearly any position in the armed forces. But there are slight breakdowns within each score. For example, in order to qualify for Surveillance and Communications (SC) in the Army, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, Auto & Shop and Mechanical Comprehension all require high marks. Though scoring an 85 or above would guarantee you scored in a high enough percentile to qualify for SC.
If you are pressed for time, it may be worthwhile to look into future ASVAB test dates in order to plan ahead in case you get a poor score on your upcoming ASVAB test. You can check with your high school counselor or your military recruiter to make sure that you will be eligible to take future tests along with your planned upcoming test date in the event that you get a bad ASVAB score.
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.
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.
Because most of the concepts and methods used by the military, and many of its systems are not found in commercial branches, much of the material is researched, designed, developed, and offered for inclusion in arsenals by military science organisations within the overall structure of the military. Military scientists are therefore found to interact with all Arms and Services of the armed forces, and at all levels of the military hierarchy of command.
Your success on ASVAB test day depends not only on how many hours you put into preparing, but also on whether you prepared the right way. It’s good to check along the way to see whether your studying is paying off. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking ASVAB practice tests to evaluate your progress. Practice tests are useful because they show exactly where you need to improve. Every time you take a ASVAB practice test, pay special attention to these three groups of questions:
Retesting is possible depending on a variety of circumstances. It is possible to retake the ASVAB or PiCAT, but you will need to coordinate this with your recruiting office. In general you may be required to wait a month or more to retake the test; each branch of the service may have different requirements that must be fulfilled in order to retest.
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.
There are many misconceptions about what it’s like to serve in the U.S. military. If you don’t know any soldiers personally, you might think of the military as a place for infantry, trudging though rough terrain and loading giant artillery. Although that may have been true in the past, today’s military offers many opportunities that aren’t readily apparent to the typical high school graduate. For example, there are jobs in aviation mechanics, medicine, and accounting. There are also peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts by the United States military that require skills in verbal and written communication. Taking the exam can help you determine if you would be well-suited to one of these occupations.
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 AFQT is not a separate test but is the collection of scores from these four sections of the ASVAB. Due to the fact that the AFQT scores determine the eligibility for enlistment into the military, it is important to score as well as possible. This site is designed to provide candidates that are taking the ASVAB with additional opportunities to practice questions in preparation for the types of questions they will receive within the official AFQT test sections. We provide sample practice questions across all four sections, including a score at the end of the practice exam so you can check your performance.
It's important to understand the difference between the ASVAB Standard Scores, and the ASVAB AFQT score. Test takers will receive a separate score for each of the nine sections on the ASVAB. These scores are known as Standard Scores. A Standard Score is used to determine how the test taker compares to the "average" 18-23 year old American on that part of the ASVAB. Not long ago, a large number of people in this age group were given the tests, and these results are the benchmark for Standard Scores. Around half the people in this age group will score a 50 or higher, and about 16% will score a 60 or higher. In other words, the scoring is based on a standard bell curve distribution. Standard Scores are very important when it comes to determining which military job a person will be assigned to.
Mathematics Knowledge tests the ability to solve problems by applying knowledge of mathematical concepts and applications. The problems focus on concepts and algorithms, and involve number theory, numeration, algebraic operations and equations, geometry, measurement and probability. Mathematics Knowledge is one factor that characterizes mathematics comprehension; it also assesses logical thinking.