The ASVAB is routinely reviewed to eliminate any potential biases from questions and scoring. The exam underwent a major revision in 2002. Two years later, a renormalization of the percentile scoring system was performed to ensure that a 50 percent score represented performing better than 50 percent of all test takers. The 10-section ASVAB improves the matching of volunteers with available jobs and helps match job openings with qualified individuals.
You can take the test as a junior or senior in high school and use the score to enlist, provided that you are at least 17 years old and took the test no earlier than 2 years before you begin enlistment processing. If you are at least 17, you can take the test at a Military Processing Station (MEP) or a satellite Military Entrance Test (MET) location.
The other written test format is the Student ASVAB which is given at high schools, vocational schools, or colleges. This test lasts approximately three hours. The Written Arithmetic Reasoning subtest of the ASVAB consists of 30 multiple choice questions, which must be answered in 36 minutes. Below are a few sample questions which are very similar to the actual questions you'll see on the ASVAB:
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.
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.
A graphic view of the increasing trend in AFQT performance of accessions from FY 1981 through FY 1992 is provided in Figure 2.8. The more significant gains were in Categories I to IIIA, where the percentages increased from 47 percent in FY 1981 to 75 percent in FY 1992. Conversely, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of Category IIIB accessions. Most dramatic has been the decrease in accessions who score in Category IV—from 33 percent in FY 1979 to one percent or less since FY 1991. There has been a gradual decline in the percentage of accessions in Categories I to IIIA in the last seven years, from 75 to 65 percent.
Your choice of military career depends on your success on the ASVAB. Those looking to score the highest will use an ASVAB Test Study Guide for an overall review and back this up with a set of ASVAB Test Flashcards to drill down on problem areas. Responsibility is a key value of our nation's military, and the first step is taking responsibility for your own ASVAB preparation.
All test takers are given a summary results sheet that shows their percentile score in every test area. A percentile score of 50 means that a score was achieved that was better than 50 percent of all test takers. Percentile scores are given specifically for test takers of their gender and their grade level. Information obtained from the test is only shared with agencies within the Department of Defense. Test takers are informed that their specific scores will be used for up to two years for recruiting purposes. After two years, test scores will be used for research purposes only.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.
Jobs in the Marine Corps are referred to as”MOS” (short for Military Occupational Specialty). To find the MOSes you qualify for, the Marine Corps organizes your ASVAB subtest scores into various groups known as line scores. The ASVAB subtests are: General Science (GS); Arithmetic Reasoning (AR); Word Knowledge (WK); Paragraph Comprehension (PC); Numerical Operations (NO); Coding Speed (CS); Auto and Shop Information (AS); Mathematics Knowledge (MK); Mechanical Comprehension (MC); Electronics Information (EI); and Sum of Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension (VE). It’s important to remember that as Numerical Operations (NO) and Coding Speed (CS) subtests are phased out, some line scores may be updated.
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.
The President of the United States is the Commander in Chief, who is responsible for all final decisions. The Secretary of the Department of Defense (DoD) has control over the military and each branch - except the Coast Guard, which is under the Dept. of Homeland Security. With over 2 million civilian and military employees, the DoD is the world's largest "company."
As of 2017, the U.S. spends about US$610 billion annually to fund its military forces and Overseas Contingency Operations. Put together, the U.S. constitutes roughly 40 percent of the world's military expenditures. The U.S. Armed Forces has significant capabilities in both defense and power projection due to its large budget, resulting in advanced and powerful technologies which enables a widespread deployment of the force around the world, including around 800 military bases outside the United States. The U.S. Air Force is the world's largest air force, the U.S. Navy is the world's largest navy by tonnage, and the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps combined are the world's second largest air arm. In terms of size, the U.S. Coast Guard is the world's 12th largest naval force. 
Test scores provide only one measure of your skills and abilities. Test scores and grades, combined with information about your interests, values, skills, and achievements may help you select appropriate occupations for career exploration. As you explore careers, you can compare your skills with the skill requirements of occupations in which you are interested.