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.
First, the ASVAB measures your accumulated knowledge in different areas. So if you are currently in school, stay focused and study hard. Your overall knowledge gained in school will most likely be reflected in your ASVAB score. Second, though accumulated knowledge is important, you may be able to raise your score by preparing specifically for the ASVAB, especially in areas where you are weak. Various study guides are available for this purpose (listed left).
General Science tests the ability to answer questions on a variety of science topics drawn from courses taught in most high schools. The life science items cover botany, zoology, anatomy and physiology, and ecology. The earth and space science items are based on astronomy, geology, meteorology and oceanography. The physical science items measure force and motion mechanics, energy, fluids, atomic structure and chemistry.
On 3 December 2015, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that all military combat jobs would become available to women. This gave women access to the roughly 10% of military jobs which were previously closed off due to their combat nature. The decision gave military services until January 2016 to seek exceptions to the rule if they believe that certain jobs, such as machine gunners, should be restricted to men only. These restrictions were due in part to prior studies which stated that mixed gender units are less capable in combat. Physical requirements for all jobs remained unchanged, though. Many women believe this will allow for them to improve their positions in the military, since most high-ranking officers start in combat positions. Since women are now available to work in any position in the military, female entry into the draft has been proposed.
To be admitted to the ASVAB testing room you will need to show a valid id. It is also important to be on time (or early!) since you will be turned away if you show up after the scheduled start time. The ASVAB can be given via computer or pencil and paper. If you are testing at a MEPS site you will take it on a computer. The pencil and paper version is given at most MET sites. The computer version of the test is given as a "computer adaptive test" (CAT) which means that the test will adapt based on the level of the individual test taker (e.g., if you answer many questions correctly, you may be shown fewer questions).
One ASVAB sub-measure, the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT)--which is just a separate analysis of the same tests that focuses only on four of the subtests--is also population-referenced, but its score from 1-99 is a percentile score. This means that if you score a 73, you scored as well as or higher than 73% of test-takers in the national sample.