Achieving the minimum required AFQT score established by an individual branch gets your foot in the door, but the higher you score, the better. For example, if you need a medical or criminal history waiver in order to enlist, the military personnel who make those decisions are more likely to take a chance on you if they think you’re a pretty smart cookie.
The format is different depending on where you take the test. At MEP sites, the test is computer-based and is given in an adaptive format. This means that questions may get easier or harder based on your answers to previous questions. The ASVAB-CT does not allow you to review or change your answers, which some recruits may find difficult, but it has some advantages over the pencil-and-paper version given at satellite MET locations. Overall, the exam takes only about 1 ½ hours to complete, doing each section at your own pace – and you can see your scores as soon as you finish taking the test. The pencil-and-paper version takes longer (3-4 hours total time), is not adaptive, and has a time limit for each subtest. You are allowed to change your answers for each subtest before moving on to the next one, but only before the time limit is reached for that subtest. In addition, scores must be processed manually and so they are not available for a few days – although a preliminary AFQT score will be calculated and given to your recruiter once you have completed 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.
In addition to the MGIB, there may be additional funds available from the College Fund and Veterans' Educational Assistance Program (VEAP) "kicker". If you are receiving Tuition Assistance (TA) from your branch of service, you may be eligible to use MGIB to supplement or "top up" your tuition assistance. Benefits end 10 years from the date of your last discharge or release from active duty. You may be able to transfer your MGIB entitlement to basic educational assistance to one or more of your dependents, including your spouse and/or children. To apply, file VA Form 22-1990, Application for Education Benefits. For more information, call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551) or visit the GI Bill Education Benefits web site.
There are nine different test areas as part of the ASVAB: general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, mathematics knowledge, electronics information, auto and shop information, assembling objects, and mechanical comprehension. The paragraph comprehension test area contains the fewest questions with 15. The word knowledge test area contains the most questions with 35. All other sections contain 20, 25, or 30 questions. Taking numerious ASVAB practice tests is recommended for test day success.
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).
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.
Figure 2.7 shows FY 1977 as the low point and FY 1992 as the high point in accessing recruits in Categories I to IIIA. In FY 1977, 34 percent of accessions scored in the top half of the AFQT distribution. Only 13 percent of Blacks, 19 percent of Hispanics, and 20 percent of "Others" scored in Categories I–IIIA.  Fifteen years later, in FY 1992, the majority of minority accessions achieved scores in the I–IIIA range (Blacks - 56 percent, Hispanics - 67 percent, "Others" - 67 percent). Hispanics have shown the most marked increase, with a 48-percentage-point gain in Category I to IIIA accessions from FY 1977 to FY 1992.
In order to perform well on the ASVAB, you should take a practice test to get an idea of what you’ll encounter on the actual test. Also, completing a practice test will help you to feel more at ease on test day. Reading the test instructions and focusing your full attention on each question are both important steps to take. As you work through the test, avoid spending too much time on a single question. The test has a time limit and you don’t want to fall into the trap of running out of time before you arrive at the end of the test. Taking the time to provide thoughtful answers to test questions allows you to offer a clear picture of your skills and capabilities. Earning a high score on the ASVAB may give you more options when it comes to choosing a specialty.
Your success on ASVAB test day depends not only on how many hours you put into preparing, but also on whether you prepared the right way. It’s good to check along the way to see whether your studying is paying off. One of the most effective ways to do this is by taking ASVAB practice tests to evaluate your progress. Practice tests are useful because they show exactly where you need to improve. Every time you take a ASVAB practice test, pay special attention to these three groups of questions:
Capability development, which is often referred to as the military 'strength', is arguably one of the most complex activities known to humanity; because it requires determining: strategic, operational, and tactical capability requirements to counter the identified threats; strategic, operational, and tactical doctrines by which the acquired capabilities will be used; identifying concepts, methods, and systems involved in executing the doctrines; creating design specifications for the manufacturers who would produce these in adequate quantity and quality for their use in combat; purchase the concepts, methods, and systems; create a forces structure that would use the concepts, methods, and systems most effectively and efficiently; integrate these concepts, methods, and systems into the force structure by providing military education, training, and practice that preferably resembles combat environment of intended use; create military logistics systems to allow continued and uninterrupted performance of military organisations under combat conditions, including provision of health services to the personnel, and maintenance for the equipment; the services to assist recovery of wounded personnel, and repair of damaged equipment; and finally, post-conflict demobilisation, and disposal of war stocks surplus to peacetime requirements.