Taking the PiCAT exam may, depending on circumstances including scores and other factors, may relieve a new recruit of having to take the ASVAB in a proctored setting. In the past, recruits who were preparing to enter military service at Military Entrance Processing Station would take the ASVAB in a group setting; PiCAT can help new recruits avoid having to retake the test. PiCAT test performance and other factors will determine whether or not the ASVAB has to be taken at MEPS.
The Auto and Shop Information section of the ASVAB test measures your knowledge of automobile technology and basic repairs. The shop questions are about basic wood and metals. For example, you will encounter questions such as “Shock absorbers on a car connect the axle to the: wheel, chassis, drive shaft, or exhaust pipe?” You may be asked what sanding blocks are used for, followed by the following choices: preventing high spots and ridges on sanded surfaces, preventing dirt from collecting on the sandpaper, stretching the length of sandpaper, or prolonging the use of the sandpaper. The CAT-ASVAB test has two parts: the first part covering automotive material asks 11 questions in 7 minutes; the 11 shop information questions are allotted 6 minutes. The paper-and-pencil version asks 25 questions in 11 minutes.
The ASVAB tests recruits in ten different areas. It is presented as ten short tests administered over a three-hour period. Traditionally, the ASVAB is a “proctored” test, meaning that it has required supervision to administer in order to maintain the integrity of the test. However, changes to military recruiting and technology in general have helped the ASVAB evolve as a 21st century tool.
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.
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.
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.