Candidates taking the ASVAB are given a AFQT (Armed Forces Qualifying Test) score which is simply a combination of your scores from four tests (Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge, and Paragraph Comprehension). This AFQT score is represented as a percentile (from 1-99) which depicts how well you scored compared to other test takers. For example, if your score is a 57, this means that you scored better than 57% of the other test takers. The AFQT score is used to determine whether you are qualified to enlist in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The ASVAB was created in 1968. By 1976, all branches of the military began using this test. In 2002, the test underwent many revisions, but its main goal of gauging a person’s basic skills remained the same. Today, there is a computerized version of the test as well as a written version. The Department of Defense developed this test and it’s taken by students in thousands of schools across the country. It is also given at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).
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).
In addition to the ASVAB's AFQT, each branch has military occupational specialty, or MOS, scores. Combinations of scores from the nine tests are used to determine qualification for a MOS. These combinations are called "aptitude area scores", "composite scores", or "line scores". Each of the five armed services has its own aptitude area scores and sets its own minimum composite scores for each MOS.
For those who are interested in enlisting in the military, they are screened using the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which is comprised of a subset of scores from the ASVAB. Successfully passing the AFQT is not the sole requirement for enlisting but is one of the qualifications that must be met. There are various requirements for the different branches of the military and those interested are encouraged to contact recruiters to obtain more information about requirements specific to that branch.
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.
A good score on the ASVAB is different than a minimum required score. Each of the military branches will have their own minimum required scores (see below). In practice, however, each branch will be more selective in their recruiting. A score of 50 on the ASVAB implies that you scored as well or better than 50% of comparable test-takers. Since ASVAB scores are used for many purposes (e.g., enlistment eligibility, military job placements, and career exploration), it is important that you score well on the ASVAB. A score of 60 or better should be your minimum target.
In addition, your scores on the other ASVAB composite tests will determine your career field or military occupation eligibility. Since enlistment bonuses are usually tied to your choice of occupations, the better the score, the more opportunities you have. But keep in mind, it is impossible to literally "ace" the ASVAB, so your goal should be to simply do your best.
In the 2000s, women can serve on U.S. combat ships, including in command roles. They are permitted to serve on submarines. Women can fly military aircraft and make up 2% of all pilots in the U.S. Military. In 2003, Major Kim Campbell was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for landing her combat damaged A-10 Thunderbolt II with no hydraulic control and only one functional engine after being struck by hostile fire over Baghdad.