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The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple choice test, administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, used to determine qualification for enlistment in the United States armed forces. It is often optionally administered to American high school students when they are in the 11th grade, though anyone eligible to and interested in enlisting can take it. The ASVAB was first instituted in 1976, and it underwent a revision in 2002. In 2004, the test's percentile ranking scoring system was re-normalized, to ensure that a score of 50% really did represent doing better than exactly 50% of test-takers.
The ASVAB contains nine sections:
- General Science (GS)
- Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
- Word Knowledge (WK)
- Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
- Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
- Electronics Information (EI)
- Auto & Shop (AS)
- Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
- Assembling Objects (AO)
Until 2002, "Numerical Operations" and "Coding Speed" were also administered on ASVAB, but have been dropped. "Assembling Objects" is new as of 2002.
The information collected through the ASVAB is used by the United States Department of Defense for recruiting and research purposes. Scores and personal information obtained during the test are also released to the United States armed forces and the student's local school.
Armed Forces Qualification Test
An Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score is used to determine basic qualification for enlistment.
AFQT Scores are divided into the following categories:
- Category I - 93-99
- Category II- 65-92
- Category IIIA - 60-64
- Category IIIB - 31-59
- Category IVA - 28-30
- Category IVB - 16-25
- Category IVC - 6-15
- Category V - 0-5
The formula for computing this AFQT score is: AR + MK + (2 x VE). The VE (verbal) score is determined by adding the raw scores from the PC and WK tests (i.e., how many questions the aspiring recruit got right on each) and using a table to get the VE score from that combined PC and WK raw score.
AFQT scores are scaled not raw scores, indicating how each examinee performed compared with all other examinees. Thus, someone who receives an AFQT of 55 scored better than 55 percent of all other examinees.
At the moment, no one is allowed to join the U.S. armed forces with an AFQT score lower than 31.
In addition to the VE, various combinations of scaled scores from the nine tests are used to determine qualification for particular specialties. These combinations are called composite scores or line scores. Each of the five armed services sets its own minimum qualifying composite scores for each of its occupational specialties or rates.
Many of the following composite or line score descriptions are incorrect: in 2002 the CS (Coding Speed) and NO (Numerical Operations) tests were eliminated and a new test (AO - Assembling Objects) was added.
Army Line Scores:
- GT - General Technical: VE+AR
- CL - Clerical: VE+AR+MK
- CO - Combat: AR+CS+AS+MC
- EL - Electronics: GS+AR+MK+EI
- FA - Field Artillery: AR+CS+MK+MC
- GM - General Maintenance: GS+AS+MK+EI
- MM - Mechanical Maintenance: NO+AS+MC+EI
- OF - Operators and Food: VE+NO+AS+MC
- SC - Surveillance and Communications: VE+AR+AS+MC
- ST - Skilled Technical: GS+VE+MK+MC
Air Force Line Scores:
- M - Mechanical Comprehension (MC), General Science (GS) and 2 times Auto & Shop Information (AS)
- A - Administrative Numerical Operations * (NO), Coding Speed * (CS), and Verbal Expression (WK plus PC)
- G - General Verbal Expression (WK plus PC) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
- E - Electrical Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), and General Science (GS)
Marine Line Scores:
- MM - Mechanical Maintenance, Construction, Utility and Chemical Maintenance (hazmat) - GS+AS+MK+MC
- GT - General Technical, Special and Officer Programs - VE+AR
- EL -Electronics Repair, Missile Repair, Electronics and Communications -GS+AR+MK+EI
- CL- Clerical, Administrative, Supply & Finance - NO + CS + VE
Navy Line Scores:
- GT - General Technical - AR+VE
- EL - Electronics - AR+EI+GS+MK
- BEE - Engineering and Electronics - AR+GS+2*MK
- ENG - Engineman - AS+MK
- MEC - Mechanical Maintenance - AR+AS+MC
- MEC2 - Mechanical Maintenance 2 - AO+AR+MC
- NUC - Nuclear Field - AR+MC+MK+VE
- OPS - Operations Specialist - AR+CS+2*MK
- HM - Health - GS+MK+VE
- ADM - Administrative - MK+VE
* United States Armed Forces:Required ASVAB Entrance score by service:As of(1/1/07)
-  Air Force 36 (GED Graduate is 65)
-  Coast Guard 36 (GED Graduate is 50)
-  Navy 35 (GED Graduate is 50)
-  Marines 32 (GED Graduate is 50)
-  Army/Army National Guard 31 (GED Graduate is 50)
- ASVAB test description : includes structure of the test, time allotted per section of the test and which sections are counted towards the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score.