ASVAB Scores And Their Relationship To Future Military Careers

136624946-resultsIt is critical to know how ASVAB scores are calculated and what they are used for.  The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests are used to identify whether a candidate is qualified to enlist in a particular branch of the U.S. Military.  The ASVAB test is also used to determine which military jobs (referred to as MOS for Military Occupational Specialties) a candidate is best suited for.  ASVAB scores can also be used by test takers to help explore which careers they may be a good fit for them – whether they go into the military or not. While no one officially passes or fails the ASVAB, each branch of the military has specific minimum scores required for enlistment.  Your scores also affect the type of military job, enlistment bonuses and salary you are eligible for.

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ASVAB Scores – How They Are Calculated

The ASVAB test consists of multiple choice questions in ten distinct categories (sub tests) listed below:

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  • Word Knowledge (WK)
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
  • General Science (GS)
  • Electronics Information (EI)
  • Auto Information (AI)
  • Shop Information (SI)
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
  • Assembling Objects (AO)

Students are given a Standard Score for each of the subtests. Standard Scores are derived from your Raw Scores (total number of points you receive on each subtest). The Standard Scores are a statistically derived score that typically ranges from 30 and 70 for each subtest. The Standard Scores are created such that a 50 represents a mean (average) score and there is a standard deviation of 10 (implying that 95% of test takers are within two standard deviations, 20 pts, of the mean of 50).

An applicant’s Standard Scores on each of the individual sub tests are used to calculate two separate types of scores: Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) scores and Composite Scores. These are the important scores that are used to determine enlistment eligibility and MOS/Job qualifications.

AFQT Scores – Eligibility for Enlistment

AFQT scores are a critical component of your ASVAB scores. AFQT scores are based on your scores from the following four subtests:

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  • Word Knowledge (WK)
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK)

AFQT scores are represented as percentiles in the range of 1 to 99. The percentile score indicates how a candidate’s score compares to a reference group of test takers. If an ASVAB candidate has an AFQT score of 65, this implies that their score is higher than 65% of the test takers in the reference sample group.

The formula for AFQT scores is:
AFQT = MK + AR + 2xVE, where
MK = Your Mathematics Knowledge Scores
AR = Your Arithmetic Knowledge Scores
VE = PC + WK = Your Paragraph Comprehension (PC) scores + Your Word Knowledge Scores (WK)

This score is then converted to a percentile by comparing it to scores from the representative sample group. Once the AFQT score is computed as a percentile, it is then categorized as follows:

Category  AFQT Range
93 – 99
II 65 – 92
III A  50 – 64
III B  31 – 49
IV A  21 – 30
IV B  16 – 20
IV C 10 – 15
V 1 - 9

The minimum score requirements of the different branches of the U.S. Armed Services are listed below:

Air Force AFQT Score Requirements

Minimum AFQT Score (with High School Diploma): 36
Minimum AFQT Score (with GED): 65

Army AFQT Score Requirements

Minimum AFQT Score (with High School Diploma): 31
Minimum AFQT Score (with GED): 31

Coast Guard AFQT Score Requirements

Minimum AFQT Score (with High School Diploma): 40
Minimum AFQT Score (with GED): 50

Marine Corps AFQT Score Requirements

Minimum AFQT Score (with High School Diploma): 32
Minimum AFQT Score (with GED): 50

Navy AFQT Score Requirements

Minimum AFQT Score (with High School Diploma): 31
Minimum AFQT Score (with GED): 50


Composite Scores – MOS/Job Assignments

Composite Scores are sometimes referred to as “line scores”, “aptitude area scores”, or “MOS scores”. These scores are derived by adding different combinations of the sub test standard scores. Composite scores are used by the different branches of the U.S. Armed Services to determine which military jobs (or Military Occupational Specialities/MOS) may be the best fit for you. These composite scores are only one factor in determining which military job is right for you. The recruiter will also use job availability, physical and medical qualifications, and eligibility for security clearance as additional factors. Each branch of the service also defines their own composite scores and eligibility requirements. Some of these definitions and requirements are shown below:

Air Force Composite Scores

Composite Score Standard Scores Formula
Mechanical  Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Verbal Expression (VE), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Auto and Shop Information (AS) AR + 2xVE + MC + AS
Administrative  Verbal Expression (VE), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) VE + MK
General  Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) VE + AR
Electronics  Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), General Science (GS) AR + MK + EI + GS

Army Composite Scores

Composite Score Standard Scores Formula
General  Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) VE + AR
Technical, Clerical, Combat, Electronics Repair, Field Artillery, General Maintenance, Mechanical Maintenance, Operators/Food, Surveillance/Communication Skilled Technician Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Mathematics Knowledge (MK). General Science (GS), Electronics Information (EI), Auto Information (AI), Shop Information (SI), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Assembling Objects (AO) Weighted combinations of all ASVAB Subtests

Marine Corps Composite Scores

Composite Score Standard Scores Formula
Mechanical  Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Auto and Shop Information (AS), Electronics Information (EI)  AR + MC + AS + EI
Clerical  Verbal Expression (VE), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) VE + MK
General Technician Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mechanical Comprehension (MC)  VE + AR + MC
Electronics  Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), General Science (GS) AR + MK + EI + GS

Navy Composite Scores

Composite Score Standard Scores Formula
General Technician Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) VE + AR 
Electronics General Science (GS), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI) GS + AR + MK + EI
Basic Electricity and Electronics  General Science (GS), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) GS + AR + 2xMK
Engineering  Auto and Shop Information (AS), Mathematics Knowledge (MK)  AS + MK
Mechanical 1 Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Auto and Shop Information (AS), Mechanical Comprehension (MC) AR + AS + MC
Mechanical 2 Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Assembling Objects (AO) AR + MC + AO
Nuclear  Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Mechanical Comprehension (MC) VE + AR + MK + MC
Operations  Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Assembling Objects (AO) VE + AR + MK + AO
Hospitalman  Verbal Expression (VE), General Science (GS), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) VE + GS + MK
Administrative Verbal Expression (VE), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) VE + MK

source: http://official-asvab.com/military_app.htm

Understanding ASVAB scores is critical if you want to enlist in the U.S. Military and get the military career of your dreams. The ASVAB test is an aptitude test but is not a perfect measure of your knowledge, skills and abilities. Your scores do not guarantee whether you will be successful in a future occupation. Your ASVAB scores, however, need to be good enough to get you into the military branch of your choice.