ASVAB – What It Is and How to Prepare
The ASVAB test stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. Though the name of the test might make it sound daunting complicated, it’s not. The role of this test is simply to assess a young adult’s strengths and potential areas for success. Here we will discuss a brief overview of the ASVAB test. We include why it’s important, how it’s scored, and why a tutor can help.
There are actually two kinds of ASVAB test. Military Entrance Processing Stations (or MEPS) is one. MEPS is a part of the standard process of recruitment into the military. Tthe ASVAB CEP is the second kind of ASVAB test. It is a career planning program. Hhigh school students in grades 10, 11, and 12 take this. The results of the CEP test are not limited to military roles, but rather cover a variety of career paths. This includes within the armed forces and civilian life. That said, students tested during or after 11th grade receive scores that can qualify them for enlistment. By taking the test you have nothing to lose but the chance to gain insight about yourself.
The ASVAB test consists of ten subtests, as follow:
- General Science (GS)
- Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
- Word Knowledge (WK)
- Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
- Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
- Electronics Information (EI)
- Auto Information (AI)
- Shop Information (SI)
- Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
- Assembling Objects (AO)
Phew! Winded just from reading that list? While these phrases might sound scary, they generally represent the basic school subjects most of us are already familiar with—reading/writing, math, science, etc. Unlike a standard academic test, however, you may have noticed that the ASVAB also includes questions on technical skills like automation and mechanics. As any tutor will tell you, these subtests are certainly useful for determining the military roles for which a test-taker would be most suited.
What about scoring?
The ASVAB test is scored across 10 categories. As a result, you receive 10 different scores. For those hoping to join the military, the most important score is the Armed Forces Qualification Test, or the AFQT. The AFQT score is based on four testing categories—Paragraph Comprehension, Word Knowledge, Mathematics Knowledge, and Arithmetic Reasoning—and is reported on a percentile scale of 1-99.
The minimum AFQT scores needed to enlist in each brand of the military are as follows: Air Force, 36; Army, 31; Coast Guard, 40; Marine Corps, 32; Navy, 35. If you want to be considered for enlistment bonuses, or if you are applying for recruitment without having completed a high school degree, you will need an AFQT score somewhere between 50-65, depending on the branch of military. Roles in the military would be best fitted for a given applicant are determined by the six subtests excluded in the AFQT score. A tutor will help you improve your scores on both the overall test and the subtests that are most important to you.
If you are taking the ASVAB CEP not as hopeful military recruit but rather, as a high school student looking for career guidance, then you don’t need to worry about obtaining a particular score—unlike with the SAT, you won’t need to send in your test scores when you apply to colleges. In this way, the ASVAB CEP is purely a tool that provides insight to high school students on the cusp of adulthood.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and these will be reflected on the test; it’s completely normal to score poorly in one category and excel in another. But if you’re hoping to join the military in a particular role, it is definitely time to start working with a tutor to be sure that the journey you’ll eventually set off on is right for you.