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AFQT scores are the primary measure of recruit potential. Figure 2.7 indicates the percentage of NPS recruits who scored at or above the 50th percentile (Categories I–IIIA) since FY 1973. Numerical data are in Appendix D, Table D-12. The drop in Category I–IIIA recruits after FY 1976 was due primarily to the miscalibration of the ASVAB.  In FY 1976, when new versions of the ASVAB were introduced, an error in calibrating the score scales made the new versions "easier" than the old versions (i.e., applicants received test scores higher than their actual ability). In FY 1980, an independent study of the calibration was made and the test was correctly calibrated. Then, Congress added legal provisions stipulating that no more than 20 percent of accessions could be in Category IV and that such accessions had to be high school diploma graduates.  However, as previously stated, Defense Planning Guidance decreases this limit even further, allowing no more than 4 percent of recruits to come from Category IV.
Educational Opportunities–More educational opportunities are available than ever before. Alternatives to traditional education, such as online courses and weekend or evening programs, allow individuals to obtain higher education while working full-time. New technology, such as live podcasts and streaming videos on demand, make it possible for people to learn at their own pace in their own place. Education is a lifelong process. Many people now choose to combine their education with work experience. For instance, instead of attending a four-year college immediately after high school, some people get a two-year degree in a particular field and then enter the job force. At some point, they may choose to complete a certificate program or a four-year degree to advance in their chosen field. Other people choose to enter the Military to take advantage of the educational benefits and training that is provided. There are a variety of occupations and career paths that you can pursue with different levels of education. Do not rule out a given career field simply because you think that the educational requirements might be more than what you would like to pursue after high school.
As a general rule of thumb, anything over an 85 on the ASVAB will qualify you for nearly any position in the armed forces. But there are slight breakdowns within each score. For example, in order to qualify for Surveillance and Communications (SC) in the Army, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, Auto & Shop and Mechanical Comprehension all require high marks. Though scoring an 85 or above would guarantee you scored in a high enough percentile to qualify for SC.
On the Learning Tools website, your options include 10-question ASVAB General Science practice tests. These ask you to use terms in context, define terms, and complete basic math problems. You may also be asked to categorize items and answer questions related to general scientific facts. The ASVAB Math Practice Tests are exercises that challenge your ability to correctly answer word problems based on sales and profit, speed, time, area, and other relational concepts.
After adding so much information to the aptitude test, there was a bit of difficulty interpreting the test results. In addition to that, a vast majority of test takers were deemed as being under qualified based on their test results. This is why the percentile change was made. It ensured that a 50% actually correlated with a person doing better than 50% of the test takers. Those revisions have worked hand-in-hand with the preparation of the armed forces.
The vast majority of ASVAB test takers will ultimately not enlist in the military. The ASVAB Career Exploration Program claims that only two-and-a-half percent of those who participate in the ASVAB join the military. Forty-seven percent of those who take the exam indicate an interest in attending a four-year college, and 16 percent of those who take the exam originally indicate some kind of an interest in joining the military.
This continued in the 19th century, with publications like Punch in the British Empire and Le Père Duchesne in France, poking fun at the military establishment. This extended to media other print also. An enduring example is the Major-General's Song from the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera, The Pirates of Penzance, where a senior army officer is satirised for his enormous fund of irrelevant knowledge.
The AFQT score is a percentile score. What does that mean? In 1997, a study, known as the "Profile of American Youth," was conducted by the Department of Defense in cooperation with the Department of Labor. DOD administered the ASVAB to around 12,000 individuals, ranging in age from 16 to 23. Your AFQT score is a comparison of how well you scored on the four subtests, compared to those who took the ASVAB as part of the 1997 survey. In other words, if you have an AFQT score of 70, that means you scored as well or better than 70 percent of those 12,000 folks.
One ASVAB sub-measure, the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT)--which is just a separate analysis of the same tests that focuses only on four of the subtests--is also population-referenced, but its score from 1-99 is a percentile score. This means that if you score a 73, you scored as well as or higher than 73% of test-takers in the national sample.