For almost a century, the U.S. military has been a pioneer in the field of using aptitude tests to evaluate an individual’s potential for service. The organization also uses the test to determine aptitude for various military occupational specialties (MOS). The use of aptitude tests began during World War I. While the group-administered Army Alpha test measured verbal and numerical ability as well as general knowledge, the Army Beta test was used to evaluate illiterate, unschooled and non-English speaking volunteers and draftees. The Army and Navy General Classifications Tests replaced the Alpha and Beta tests as a means to measure cognitive ability during World War II. The results of these tests, as well as additional classification exams, were used to assign recruits to a particular MOS.
In Medieval Europe, tales of knighthood and chivalry, the officer class of the period captured the popular imagination. Writers and poets like Taliesin, Chrétien de Troyes and Thomas Malory wrote tales of derring-do, featuring Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and Galahad. Even in the 21st century, books and films about the Arthurian legend and the Holy Grail continue to appear.
ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. It is a test that was originally established in 1968 to measure and predict the success of an applicant in various academic and occupational pursuits in the military. High school and post-secondary students and adults take the test more than one million times each year. If you’re interested in joining the military, or if you already have and would like to take a sample test, simply navigate through the ten practice test sections and take whichever tests you’d like as often as you’d like.
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.
The scores from the other tests are used to determine what type of specialty you might be best suited for. These "composite" scores (also known as line scores, MOS scores, or aptitude area scores) are calculated by adding together combinations of the different sub test standard scores. These composite scores are then used to determine which different military jobs (aka Military Occupational Specialties or MOS) may be the best fit for you. Each branch of the military will have their own approach to these composite scores.
 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).
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A century or so later, in the hands of writers such as Jean Froissart, Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare, the fictional knight Tirant lo Blanch, and the real-life condottieri John Hawkwood would be juxtaposed against the fantastical Don Quixote, and the carousing Sir John Falstaff. In just one play, Henry V, Shakespeare provides a whole range of military characters, from cool-headed and clear-sighted generals, to captains, and common soldiery.
Personnel may be posted to bases in their home country or overseas, according to operational need, and may be deployed from those bases on exercises or operations anywhere in the world. During peacetime, when military personnel are generally stationed in garrisons or other permanent military facilities, they mostly conduct administrative tasks, training and education activities, technology maintenance, and recruitment.
In exchange for a service commitment, the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program provides you with money for college while you're in school. You must take one military science course along with your other college courses and, upon graduation, enter the service as a commissioned officer. (There is no military commitment for the first year in ROTC, allowing you to pursue ROTC on a trial basis to see if ROTC is for you.) Full ROTC scholarships pay for almost all tuition, fees and books charges for four years of college. ROTC scholarships also come in one, two and three-year lengths. For more information, call 1-800-USA-ROTC (Army), 1-800-USA-NAVY (Navy), 1-866-423-7682 (Air Force) and 1-800-MARINES (Marines).
The President, Secretary of Defense and other senior executive officials are advised by a seven-member Joint Chiefs of Staff, which is headed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking officer in the United States military and the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The rest of the body is composed of the heads of each of the DoD's service branches (the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force) as well as the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Although commanding one of the five military branches, the Commandant of the Coast Guard is not a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Despite being composed of the highest-ranking officers in each of the respective branches, the Joint Chiefs of Staff does not possess operational command authority. Rather, the Goldwater-Nichols Act charges them only with advisory power.
Tests are administered at participating schools. Neither schools nor students incur any costs for taking the ASVAB or using the Career Exploration Program. A test administrator is provided for every testing session and that person has no additional recruitment responsibilities. Various accommodations are available for the ASVAB, such as having questions read aloud, providing extra time, and other accommodations. School staff members are responsible, however, for tests that are administered with accommodations because test administrators are only able to administer the ASVAB by following the standardized procedure. If the test is being used for enlisting, only scores obtained during standardized test sessions (with no accommodations) can be used.
The AFQT score is a percentile ranking between 1 and 99 that shows where your score is placed in relation to others. For example, if you score a 54 on the AFQT, this means that you scored as well as or better than 54% of other recruits. If you are not satisfied with your score and wish to retake the test to improve your chances at getting selected, you must wait a month before taking it again. You can retake the test as many times as you want, but after 3 attempts the waiting period jumps to 6 months.
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.