What You Need to Know About the ASVAB Test

The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a mandatory test that all military candidates must take before enlisting in any branch of the United States Armed Forces.

The ASVAB currently contains 9 sections:

-Word Knowledge (WK)
-Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
-Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
-Automotive and Shop Information (AS)
-Electronics Information (EI)
-Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
-General Science (GS)
-Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
-Assembling Objects (AO) (New section as of 2002)
Navy applicants also complete a Coding Speed (CS) section.

There is no overall score for the ASVAB. When someone tells you that they received an 80 on their ASVAB, they're talking about their Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) percentile. Therefore, that person's score is 80 percent high than everyone else that took the test.

The AFQT score is important because it determines whether or not you can join the military. The AFQT is made up of only four of the nine ASVAB categories above. They are: Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Word Knowledge (WK), Mathematics Knowlege (MK), and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR).

The PC and WK sections make up what's called the Verbal Expression (VE) of the AFQT score. To compute your AFQT score, the military takes your VE score and doubles it. They then add it to your Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) raw scores. The Formula is 2VE+MK+AR. They then derive your AFQT percentile score by comparing how you did against other test takers.

Only two of the military services use the ASVAB for commissioning qualification. Army Applicants for Army OCS (Officer Candidate School) must score a minimum of 110 on the Army's General Technical (GT) Line Score of the ASVAB.

Marine Corps Candidates for Marine OCC (Officer Candidate Class) or PLC (Platoon Leaders Course), must score a minimum of 115 on the Marine's GT line sore of the ASVAB. Candidates can also qualify with a minmum combined score of 1000 on the verbal and math sections of the SAT, or a combined math and verbal score of 45 on the ACT.

Many candidates seeking help often ask for help with the math portion. However, the AFQT and other composite scores do not just require knowing math and arithmetic. A larger part of the score depends on reading comprehension and word knowledge. That's why you should find a tutor that focuses your ASVAB lessons on both math and reading. A tutor should also have experience with taking the test. Ask your tutor how well they did on the test themselves. You want a tutor that can help you with other science-related and technology related subjects so that you get much better AFQT, GT, and other composite scores.



Michael K.

Effective Physics, Comp Sci, Math Tutor for HS, College, Higher Ed.

800+ hours
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