The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test, usually shortened to just ASVAB, is a test given by the United States military to help assess candidates’ basic skill and knowledge levels. Overall the test scores determine acceptance into the military and in what area you might excel. ASVAB results are given as standard scores, which means that the numbers reported are relative to how the population in general scores on the same test. Scores of 50 and over mean that your score is as good or better than the national average. Scores below 50 indicate that you have scored less than average.
The ASVAB comes in several different forms. Each of these is used in slightly different ways. The institutional version of the test is used in high schools, and the ASVAB results from this version are used to help school counselors guide students to appropriate career paths. The computerized version of the test is the complete examination and is used by the military to aid in determining a person’s fitness for the military as well as what training is most appropriate. A short version of the test can help to decide if a person is ready to take the full ASVAB, and retesting after enlistment may help to determine eligibility to train for different jobs.
The test consists of nine different sections, including assembling objects, mechanical comprehension and electronics information. Each area is scored separately and shows your ranking when compared to the rest of the population of people in the age range of 18 to 23. Many of these scores are strictly used to determine aptitude, and will indicate to the military which jobs you are most likely to do well in. The higher the score, the more likely you are to do well in a related field.
Four of the ASVAB results are combined together to create the Armed Forces Qualification Test, or the AFQT, which has its own score. The tests used for the AFQT are mathematics knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge and paragraph comprehension. As with the individual ASVAB results, an AFQT result of 50 indicates that you have scored at least as well as half the national average. A higher score means you have scored better than that percentage of people.
When interpreting your ASVAB results, the individual scores are useful for the various areas of aptitude, but the overall AFQT determines whether or not you can get into the military at all. A score of one to nine means you are not eligible to enlist. Anything above that means you can enlist, but you may have limits on which branch of the service and which jobs are open to you. If you score 93 or above you are in the top group and you may find that you are offered recruitment incentives such as bonuses and job choice for enlisting.