Prospective service members are often recruited from high school or college, the target age ranges being 18–35 in the Army, 18–28 in the Marine Corps, 18–34 in the Navy, 18–39 in the Air Force and 18–27 (up to age 32 if qualified for attending guaranteed "A" school) in the Coast Guard. With the permission of a parent or guardian, applicants can enlist at age 17 and participate in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP), in which the applicant is given the opportunity to participate in locally sponsored military activities, which can range from sports to competitions led by recruiters or other military liaisons (each recruiting station's DEP varies).
Personnel may be recruited or conscripted, depending on the system chosen by the state. Most military personnel are males; the minority proportion of female personnel varyies internationally (approximately 3% in India, 10% in the UK, 13% in Sweden, 16% in the US, and 27% in South Africa). While two-thirds of states now recruit or conscript only adults, as of 2017 50 states still relied partly on children under the age of 18 (usually aged 16 or 17) to staff their armed forces.
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.
Each service has a uniformed head who is considered the highest-ranking officer within their respective service, with the exception of the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the chief of the National Guard Bureau. They are responsible for ensuring personnel readiness, policy, planning and training and equipping their respective military services for the combatant commanders to utilize. They also serve as senior military advisors to the President, the Secretary of Defense, their respective service secretaries, as well as other councils they may be called to serve on. They are as follows:
 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).
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).
Anyone who is planning to enlist in the United States Armed Forces should be familiar with the military’s standards and screening processes. An important part of this screening process is the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which is a subsection of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). This standardized assessment measures a candidate’s skills in the areas of paragraph comprehension, word knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, and mathematics knowledge.
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).
In addition to the AFQT, the military also includes additional composite scores, often called 'line scores.' These scores are based on variations of the ASVAB's ten subtests and are required for certain military careers. For example, an Army Clerical (CL) score is determined by looking at an individual's Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) and Mathematics Knowledge (MK) scores. Note that the subtests considered for different careers can vary depending on the military branch.
There are essentially two options when it comes to preparing for this test. First, a person can attempt to reassess all of the information that they learned over a decade by spending hours compiling information. Secondly, a person can find a specially formatted ASVAB practice test that covers all areas of both the written test and computerized test. Clearly, the best choice is the ASVAB practice test. The question becomes “Where does one find an accurate ASVAB practice 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.
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Army.mil says of ASVAB/PiCAT testing, “The ASVAB is usually given in schools by test administrators from the federal government. Schools determine where and when the ASVAB will be given. See your academic advisor for more information. If you’re not currently in school, contact your local recruiter.” Test administration and scheduling procedures are handled differently by each branch of the military.
One set of ASVAB scores – Career Exploration Scores – tells you your current strengths in verbal, math, science, and technical skills. The scores allow you to compare your test performance with that of other students at your grade level and can help you determine your readiness for further education and training in different career areas. You will also receive a Military Entrance Score that is important for entry into the Armed Services. You can discuss your score with a military recruiter.
In the Navy, the rank of Admiral of the Navy theoretically corresponds to that of General of the Armies, though it was never held by active-duty officers at the same time as persons who held the rank of Fleet Admiral. George Dewey is the only person to have ever held this rank. After the establishment of the rank of Fleet Admiral in 1944, the Department of the Navy specified that the rank of Fleet Admiral was to be junior to the rank of Admiral of the Navy. However, since Dewey died in 1917 before the establishment of the rank of Fleet Admiral, the six-star rank has not been totally confirmed.
The Armed Forces Tuition Assistance (TA) Program allows enlisted servicemembers and offers to enroll in courses at accredited colleges, universities, junior colleges, high schools, and vocational-technical schools. TA will pay up to 100% of the cost of the course and up to 100% of the cost of obtaining a high school degree, with a limit of $250 per credit hour and an aggregate annual limit of $4,500. MGIB benefits may be used to "top up" TA benefits, paying the difference between tuition and the TA benefits. Military.com provides a good overview of the tuition assistance program.
After adopting the test in 1976 the test became a way of indicating whether or not an individual was 100% qualified to serve. As previously mentioned this aptitude test has a colorful history. That is because it underwent a dramatic change in 2002 and another dramatic change in 2004. The change that occurred in 2002 expanded the categories of the test and the overall difficulty. This can be seen by the addition of all of the diverse categories below: