What is ASVAB test?

The ASVAB Test

The first question in most defense candidates is: What is the ASVAB test? ASVAB means Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. It is a standardized test used by the United States Armed Forces to test the aptitude and logical potential of the candidates seeking to enlist in the armed forces. The ASVAB test is designed to test the individual’s knowledge and ability in maths, science, logical skills, etc.

Military Entrance Processing Stations(MEPS)

The ASVAB test is conducted and administrated by the Defence Department (DoD) civilians and is supported by military personnel proctors. Approximately 1 million military applicants, high school, and post-secondary students, and aspirants are administrated annually. For every 40 students and aspirants, 1 proctor is assigned to ensure test security and validity. 

Purpose of ASVAB Test

Primary Purpose: To access and predict individual aptitude

The primary purpose of the ASVAB test conducted by the military is to determine the individual’s suitability for different military occupational specialties (MOS) or jobs within the armed forces. This is necessary for the individual to recognize their strength and ability in the areas of the field where they are likely to succeed and contribute effectively.

In addition to the job placement of the individuals, the ASVAB score helps recruiters recognize valuable information to military recruiters about an individual’s academic and vocational strengths. The test helps the military assess candidates’ abilities and match them with the various jobs and roles in the military based on their areas of interest in various branches (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard).

ASVAB Test Structure

Format for the ASVAB Test

The ASVAB test consists of multiple-choice questions(MCQs) divided into nine subsets. The subsets in the ASVAB test are divided into two main categories: The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) and the Career Exploration Score.

Subsets included in ASVAB Test

Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT):

The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) is a component of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery(ASVAB) conducted by the US defense forces. AFQT Test is comprised of four subsets: Arithmetic Reasoning(AR), Mathematics Knowledge(MK), Paragraph Comprehension(PC), and Word Knowledge(WK).

The scores scored by the individuals in these subsets are used to calculate the AFQT score. This AFQT score is expressed in percentile indicating the performance of the individual candidate compared to the other candidates.

Apart from these four subsets, a few more subsets may be included in the AFQT test. These subtests help determine eligibility for particular military occupations.

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Career Exploration Score(CES):

The remaining of the subsets in 9 subsets come under the Career Exploration Score(CES). These five subsets provide information about the potential career paths for the individual within the military. By evaluating the scores of the subsets that come under the Career Exploration Score(CES), the military can evaluate and judge the performance of the individual.

These subtests cover areas such as General Science(GS), Mechanical Comprehension(MC), Electronics Information(EI), Auto and Shop Information, and Assembling Objects(AO).

Scoring system

ASVAB Scoring is represented in very subsets and various methods, it includes score representation as:-

  • Standard Scores (SS): In the ASVAB test each subset is scored in a range of 1 to 100. where a score of 50 represents the mean score, a score above 50 represents the above-average score or good score, and a score below 50 represents the below-average score or poor score.
  • Percentile score: The individual score scored by candidates is then converted to the percentile score. The percentile score represents the performance of the candidate as compared to the others. For example, the 90.28 percentile of the score represents that the candidate scored more than 90.28 percent of the candidate.

Test Administration

In the the test administration, we are going to discuss the process of the test, and how and where is taken. Here is the process you should follow:-

Contact a Recruiter

Firstly, you have to reach out to the recruiter of the branch you are interested in (e.g., Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard). This can be done by visiting the official website of each branch.

Schedule an Appointment

After contacting a Recruiter, candidates can fix and schedule an appointment, regarding the test, where and when it will be taken. The test is typically administered at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) or satellite locations.

Visit the Training center

After scheduling an appointment visit the testing location for the test, this can be the military entrance processing station or any remote or satellite location.

Bring Necessary documentation

On reaching the test center you should carry valid and necessary documents that are required (e.g., official birth certificate, social security card, Selective Service Registration verification for men only, High school/college transcripts, etc.)

Take the Test and Receive the Scores

After reading to the test center e.g., MEPS, take the test, and within some time you will receive you’ll receive your AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) and can judge how well you performed in the exam.

Additional Tips

  • It’s important to prepare for the ASVAB by reviewing study materials and practice tests. Many resources are available online and through military recruiting offices.
  • Be on time for your scheduled test appointment.
  • Dress appropriately for the testing environment.

How to prepare for the ASVAB Test

Preparing for the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test is essential to achieving the best possible score and maximizing your military career options. Here are some tips on how to prepare for the ASVAB:-

1. Understand the Test Format:

Before starting the preparation for the ASVAB test we need to understand the syllabus for the ASVAB test and should have a deep and thorough understanding of the subsets that are included in the ASVAB test e.g., arithmetic reasoning, mathematics knowledge, word knowledge, and paragraph comprehension.

2. Appropriate Study Material and resources:

To start the preparation, the candidate must refer to the official study material provided by the Department of Defense (DoD). The Department of Defense provides study resources that are specifically designed to help you prepare for the test.

3. Focus on Weak Areas:

Generally, candidates face Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Word Knowledge as their weak areas, so to tackle the ASVAB test candidates should focus and invest their time in these topics.

4. Time Management and Study Regularly:

Since the ASVAB test is a time-bound exam, so the candidate must manage their time on each related topic and should give equal time for each subset. Apart from time management regular study also becomes important.

5. Physical Fitness:

In defense and armed forces, physical fitness plays a very crucial role that generally candidates ignore and then regret after failing the medical and fitness test. Candidates must focus on their Physical Health. Make sure you are physically prepared for any fitness assessments that may be part of the enlistment process.

Military BranchMinimum AFQT Score
Coast Guard40


What is a Good AFQT Score?

A score above 50 is considered an average score or a good score

Is a Calculator allowed in the exam center?

No, Any kind of electronic device is not allowed

Can a Person give the test in different languages like Spanish?

No, the candidate is supposed to give the test in English only