Understanding the method used to determine ASVAB scores, as well as its intended usage, is essential.
The ASVAB, Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, is a multi-aptitude test that measures developed abilities and helps predict future academic and occupational success. The ASVAB measures your strengths, weaknesses, and potential for future success in four domains: verbal, math, science and technical, and spatial.
Like most life-changing experiences, joining the military is a career path that offers many opportunities but can also be confusing at times, especially if you don't prepare for it.
Understanding ASVAB Scores
Since its initial release in 1968, it has developed into a recognized multi-aptitude test that, after eight years, has been accepted by all US military branches.
Each US military branch namely; the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, Marine Corps, and the Navy have their own minimum standards which vary uniformly with their own minimum regulated ASVAB Scores.
Minimum ASVAB Score Requirements
Remember that this list of minimum criteria is provided generally. In other words, each branch might have specific differences.
Call and speak with your local recruiter to learn more about the eligibility of your selected branch or branch of the military, as well as any potential limitations.
- Must be 17- 39 years old, applicants under 18 must have a parent’s consent authorized by their parents or their current legal guardian.
- For US citizens, you must be able to show a document that proves your legal residency
- For US commonwealth area residents, you can enlist but you must present certain documents to prove your legal status.
- For non-US applicants, you must present certain documents to prove your legal status.
- Should pass a military-regulated physical evaluation.
- Should pass a military-regulated mental screening.
- Must be a high school graduate
- ASVAB scores for people with high school diplomas often need to be a few points lower than those with GEDs.
- A higher score is required of applicants with a GED (General Educational Diploma) alone than for those with a high school diploma.
- To ensure your place in the military, you must be able to pass the ASVAB test with flying colors.
ASVAB Knowledge Areas
General Sciences – quantifies prior knowledge of earth and life, aerospace sciences, and practical applications of sciences.
Arithmetic Reasoning – ability to analyze and solve simple to advanced arithmetic problems and mathematical word analysis
Word Knowledge – quantifies the ability to comprehend the literal and figurative definition of words via synonymous terms.
Paragraph Comprehension – scales the ability to acquire definite data from written literature or similar materials
Mathematics Knowledge – scales capacity in learning and applying mathematical concepts and subsequent derivations.
Electronics Information – scales prior knowledge about electromotive force, electric circuits, electronic devices, and electrical-related applications
Auto & Shop Information – scale prior knowledge about locomotive repair and maintenance along with metal and wood methods.
Mechanical Comprehension – quantifies knowledge about certain mechanical principles, structural backing systems, and properties of varying materials
Assembling Objects – measures ability with geometrical and spatial associations.
How Is the ASVAB Scored?
When you take the ASVAB, you'll get three scores:
- Standard Scores
- Composite Scores
- AFQT Score
Standard Scores are on a scale of 0-100. On this score range, 50 is the mean, or average, and every 10 points from the mean represent one standard deviation. This means that a Standard Score of 60 would be above average. Most test takers score between 30 and 70.
While your subtest scores don’t really tell you much alone, they can be combined in different ways to give you what is called composite scores (or line scores).
ASVAB Composite Scores
The Standard Scores from your nine subtest score categories are combined to create composite scores, sometimes referred to as line scores.
These results are used to determine which military jobs you have the best chance of succeeding in. The skills required for each position are calculated separately by each military branch.
The specific ASVAB subtests used to determine whether test takers are qualified for particular military roles are shown in the table below.
Keep in mind that your "VE" score, which stands for "Verbal Expression," is calculated by adding your Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension scores.
The most significant score you'll receive on the ASVAB is unquestionably your AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score. Your ability to enlist in the US military is based on this score.
The AFQT score is a combination of your scores on the following subtests:
- Arithmetic Reasoning
- Mathematics Knowledge
- Paragraph Comprehension
- Word Knowledge
The percentile score, or how well you performed in comparison to other test takers, are measured on a scale from 1 to 99. For instance, if you get a 53 on the AFQT, this indicates that you performed as well as or better than 53% of test takers. The better you performed on the ASVAB, the higher your percentile, and the more probable it is that you will be eligible for enlisting.
The following ASVAB score chart shows the different score ranges and categories you could fall in, as defined by the official ASVAB website:
Although there isn't a set passing or failing score for the ASVAB, you still want to achieve a high enough AFQT score to be eligible for recruitment in the military branch you wish to join.
The ASVAB: What Is a Good Score? Minimum Scores Required to Enlist
Good ASVAB scores will allow you to enlist in the military branch of your choice. each branch has its own minimum required AFQT score. If you’re thinking of joining the Air Force, for example, you’ll need to know the minimum required Air Force ASVAB score.
The required minimum AFQT score for each branch of service as well as for individuals with high school diplomas or GEDs can be found in the table below. Be aware that some branches seldom ever accept applicants with merely GEDs.
For those with a high school diploma, the Air Force and Army have the lowest minimum AFQT scores (31) and the Coast Guard has the highest (40). If you have a GED, you must have an AFQT score of at least 50 in order to join any branch of the military.
Tips for Getting Great ASVAB Scores
Prioritize Your AFQT Score
The AFQT score is a combination of your scores on the 4 subtests: Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Word Knowledge
This means that since these four subtests make up the majority of the AFQT score, you should focus more of your test prep on them than on the other six. In other words, while you prepare for the ASVAB, you should focus mostly on your verbal and math skills.
Practice With Real Sample Questions
Real test questions are the best way to practice for any test, including the ASVAB. This will help you understand how questions are often phrased and the type of material you will be evaluated on.
You should always prioritize questions and practice tests created by the makers of the ASVAB exams; this ensures you’ll get an accurate sense of what to expect on test day.
Focus on Your Weaknesses
Make sure you devote more effort to strengthening your greatest weaknesses while you study for the ASVAB (within the realms of verbal and math). By doing this, you'll be able to correct your errors more quickly and eventually increase your AFQT score.