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The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple choice test, administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, used to determine qualification for enlistment in the United States armed forces. It is often offered to American high school students when they are in the 10th, 11th and 12th grade, though anyone eligible for enlistment may take it. There has never been a requirement that a test-taker with a qualifying score enlist in the military, and the test may simply determine personal aptitude at a particular career.
The ASVAB was first introduced in 1968 and was adopted by all branches of the military in 1976. In 2002 it underwent a major revision. In 2004, the test's percentile ranking scoring system was re-normalized, to ensure that a score of 50% really did represent doing better than exactly 50% of test-takers.
The ASVAB currently contains nine sections. The duration of each test varies from as low as ten minutes up to 36 minutes for Arithmetic Reasoning; the entire ASVAB is three hours long.
Navy applicants also complete a Coding Speed (CS) test.
AFQT required minimum scores for people with a high school diploma as of October 2012 (unless otherwise noted) are as follows:
|Tier I||Tier II|
|Branch||≥ HS Diploma||= GED|
|Coast Guard||45||50 with 15 college credits|
|*Army National Guard||31||50|
|*Air National Guard||31||50|
GED holders who earn 15 college credits 100 level or greater are considered equivalent with those holding high school diplomas. This would result in only needing the minimum score to enlist. Enlisted is not determined by score alone. Certain recruiting goal practices may require an applicant to achieve a higher score than the required minimum AFQT score in order to be considered for enlistment.
The information collected through the ASVAB is used by the United States Department of Defense for research purposes. Scores and personal information obtained during the test are released to the student's local school and to United States armed forces recruiters, at the option of the school.
An Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score is used to determine basic qualification for enlistment.
AFQT Scores are divided into the following categories:
The formula for computing an AFQT score is: AR + MK + (2 x VE) where VE = PC + WK.
The VE (verbal) score is determined by adding the raw scores from the PC and WK tests (i.e., how many questions the aspiring recruit got right on each) and using a table to get the VE score from that combined PC and WK raw score.
AFQT scores are not raw scores, but rather percentile scores indicating how each examinee performed compared with all other examinees. Thus, someone who receives an AFQT of 55 scored better than 55 percent of all other examinees. Maximum possible score is 99 as a person can do better than 99 percent of those who took the test, but he cannot do better than himself, so the high percentile is 99.
Law prohibits applicants in Category V from enlisting. In addition, there are constraints placed on Category IV recruits; recruits must be high school diploma graduates. Furthermore, the law constrains the percentage of accessions who can fall in Category IV (currently, the limit is 20%).
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.
|OF||Operators and Food||VE+AS+MC|
|SC||Surveillance and Communications||VE+AR+AS+MC|
|* SF||Special Forces||GT≥107 CO≥98|
|BEE||Basic Electricity and Electronics||AR+GS+2*MK|
|MEC2||Mechanical Maintenance 2||AO+AR+MC|
|OPS||Operations Specialist||WK, PC, AR, MK, AO|
|* SEALs||Special Operations||GS+MC+EI≥165 or VE+MK+MC+CS≥220 (minimum for BUD/S)|
Air Force/National Guard Composite Scores (Standard AFQT score AR + MK + (2 x VE))
|G||General||VE + AR|
|M||Mechanical||MC + GS (2 × AS)|
|A||Administrative||NO + CS + VE|
|E||Electrical||AR + MK + EI + GS|
|* MARSOC||Special Operations||GT=105|