What are the standard ASVAB requirements?

ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. In more simple terms, it is an aptitude test. This test, however, is unlike aptitude tests for general civilians. It is an aptitude test specifically designed for people who want to join the armed forces. Read on to discover what the standard requirements of the ASVAB are.

Different ASVAB requirements for each arm of the military

asvab requirements

The differing arms of the military require different aptitudes. The ASVAB is the most widely used form of assessment worldwide and is not specific to the US armed forces. Each of the principal armed forces has their own minimum ASVAB requirements which you must attain to enlist successfully. The principal armed forces include the army, navy, air force, marines and coast guard.

The actual AFTAB comprises nine parts. One sub-section of the ASVAB is the AFQT, or Armed Services Qualification Test. This comprises four of the nine individual sections in the AVSAB: Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Math Knowledge MK) and two tests covering Verbal Reasoning. These two tests comprise Word Knowledge (WK) and Paragraph Comprehension(PC).

The army require a minimum score of 31 for the AFQT. The pass mark for the navy is a little higher at 35.The pass mark to join the marines is the same as the army at 31. Higher again is the air force at 36. The hardest branch of the armed forces to join is the coast guard who require a pass mark of 45. Interestingly, 31 is also the score required to enlist in the reserve forces.

After this, additional aptitude tests are taken to discover which area in the armed forces will suit you best. The better your scores in both the ASVAB and other tests, the more options will be made available to you. Aside from the components of the AFQT, the ASVAB includes tests for General Science (GS) and Auto & Shop (AS). The final three tests are Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Electronics Information (EI), and Assembling Objects (AO).

The ASVAB score is based on a combination of the results for all the tests taken. The AFQT however, the ASVAB score is not an average of the scores from the four sections. It is your position or ranking based on the score of all the others who have taken the ASVAB. A score of 31 means you are equal to or better than 31% of all the other applicants.

Once you’ve taken the test, how would you know that you’ve made it?

You have to look at your scores in each of the domains of the test, as well as the cumulative score known as the AFQT score or the Armed Forces Qualification Test Score. These scores must pass the minimum ASVAB requirements set by the military. It’s a different cut-off score per military branch; some branches of the army favor some subjects more than the others. To better understand the breakdown of the cut-off scores, you can visit any website discussing army enlistment.

But in general, applicants to the army must have a minimum AFQT score of 32 in order to qualify for training. But a minimum AFQT score of 50 is needed in order to qualify for enlistment benefits. For the Marine Corps, the minimum score needed is also 32, while it’s 35 for the Navy and 40 for the Coast Guard. Exceptions can be made for those who scored lower than these ASVAB requirements, but there has to be special reasons that would warrant to special treatment. Getting a low score on the first attempt is not a problem anyway; the ASVAB can be re-taken if an interested applicant fails to get a qualifying score on the first try

What happens when you get a better than average ASVAB score?

Getting more than the minimum AFQT score means your options will increase when joining the armed forces. The ASVAB score you get will determine which branches of the armed forces are available to you. Similarly, certain opportunities may not be available if you do not score well.

You will notice above that the 9 different tests have an abbreviation. Auto & Shop is (AS) and General Science is (GS). This is important to understand when calculating the minimum ASVAB requirements to enrol in a specific section of the armed services. It also helps establish who is better suited to which particular trade.

Take the navy ASVAB requirements as a clear example. To be a cook you don’t have to be the most technically skilled of people. The ASVAB requirement to join the navy as a trainee cook is a combined score for VE + AR of 88. Note that in the navy scoring, VE is the equivalent to the general Verbal Reasoning section in the ASVAB test.

However, you may want to enter the navy as a solar technician. Then you need to have a combined test score of 223. The tests are AR (Arithmetic Reasoning) + MK (Mechanical Knowledge) + EI (Electronics Information) + GS (General Science). You will see that these tests are also very different to the tests for a cook. This is because different skills are needed.

In between there is the Yeoman. Interestingly, the yeoman can have a minimum ASVAB requirement in a choice of areas. The score required as a minimum is 105 for a combination of VE + MK. However a combined score of 157 for VE + MK + GS will achieve the same result. This means someone who is a bit weak on general science, but who is very good at Mechanical knowledge, still has a very good chance of joining the navy as a yeoman.

It is worth trying out a few ASVAB tests online. This will help give you an idea where your skills lie. It is also good practice for the real thing! After all, the minimum ASVAB requirement is just that. You want to try and get the best marks you can.


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