The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or ASVAB is an exam that is designed to test an individual’s overall intelligence and aptitude for the various branches of the military. The test is not directly administered by any branch of the military, but it is commonly offered to teenagers by their local high school. The US military requires that anyone attempting to enter into it take this test to best determine what branch they are suited for as well as the type of work they should pursue within the military.
While anyone may take the ASVAB, the scores are meaningless until a person possesses at minimum a High School Diploma or a GED. The military will not accept anyone who does not, at least, have a High School Diploma or GED. In some instances, branches such as the Coast Guard require 15 college credits alongside a GED to be eligible for enrollment in their branch.
Taking the ASVAB can also open the doors up to a continued education that many people could have never afforded before. Acceptance into the military often times comes with the ability to further your education through the military for free by utilizing the ROTC programs that most Universities have or through the vocational training offered by the military before deployment.
Prep Course/Study Guides
Preparatory courses for the ASVAB are not as commonplace as prep courses for other tests, but in larger areas it is easy to search and find private tutors or smaller courses being offered by organizations that are aimed at improving test-takers ASVAB scores. Similarly, there is not an overabundant amount of study guide material for the ASVAB. However, there are plenty practice exams available on the US Military’s website and other materials produced by more popular test prep companies that you can purchase online or at your local bookstore. The important thing to remember is if you want to do well, take your time studying and do not wait until the last minute to cram all the studying in that you possibly can!
About the Exam and Scoring
The ASVAB is an entirely multiple choice exam that consists of nine different sections that in total take approximately 3 hours to complete. The sections of the test are as follows: General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Verbal Expression, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Electronics Information, Automotive and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, and Assembling Objects.
The amount of time for each section of the test varies for some sections, such as General Science the test taker may only have an average of 30 seconds per question while on other sections that are more reading intensive, such as Paragraph Comprehension the test taker will have an average of 2 minutes for each question.
After completing the test it will be graded and a percentile score will be given, it is called an “Armed Forces Qualification Test Score (AFQT).” This may seem confusing since you take the ASVAB, but the ASVAB gives you an AFQT score. The lowest score that is allowed by any branch of the military is a 31, which is the minimum score required by the Army for those holding a High School Diploma or a GED. In contrast, the Air Force and Navy require a score of at least 50 for those holding a High School Diploma (the Air Force require a minimum score of 65 for those who only have their GED). For a full list of the scores required for each individual branch visit the US Military’s website!