Written by Fernando Cardona and Eloísa Ocando
One of the first challenges to conquer when you decide to enter the Armed Forces is to pass the ASVAB test with a good score. The first step to achieving this goal is to fully understand what is a good ASVAB score and how your results will be calculated.
It’s important to note that your final score doesn’t strictly correlate to your correct answers. In fact, your score reflects how many questions you answered correctly, compared to the responses of a sample of people who previously took the test. The range of scores (also known as percentiles) goes from 01 to 99. So, let’s say you get a score of 60 and the previous poll had 2000 applicants. In that case, your score would mean 1200 people -or 60% of the total- got the same number or fewer correct answers.
The score requirements to enter every branch of the Armed Forces change according to the branch and its needs. Ask your recruiter about the latest info on scores.
How are ASVAB scoreS calculated?
It is important to know that the questions in the ASVAB test are split into 10 different sub-tests. However, only the scores from four subtests count towards your AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score.
The AFQT score is the one that determines the candidate’s eligibility, that is, it’s the main factor to choose whether or not you are suitable to enter the Armed Forces. The four subtests that count for the AFQT are Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematical Knowledge (MK), Word Knowledge (WK), and Paragraph Comprehension (PC).
EACH BRANCH OF THE Armed Forces asks for a different AFQT score
As we mentioned, the minimum AFQT score changes with each branch of the Armed Forces. In addition, this minimum score is also different for candidates with a high school diploma or those with a GED (General Education Development Test). In general, GED candidates need a higher AFQT score.
Thus, for those who have a high school diploma, the minimum score requirement is 31 to enter the Army and the National Guard. For other forces, the score needed is slightly higher: 32 in Marines, 35 in Naval Force, 36 in Air Force, and 40 in Coast Guard. In case of entering with a GED, the requirement of the minimum AFQT score is higher and all branches need a score of a minimum of 50 and the Air Force needs a minimum of 65.
While many applicants with a score that’s very close to the minimum think is worth retaking the test, our advice is to consider your personal situation and keep in mind that once you enter, no one will notice the score you reached “
What are the scores from other ASVAB subtests used for?
The scores from the other sub-tests, also known as line scores, don’t determine your acceptance. However, they limit the possible specializations and jobs you can be eligible for. These subtests include General Science (GS), Electronics Information (EI), Auto Information (AI), Shop Information (SI), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), and Assembly of Objects (AO). Of course, not all tests will matter for all career options. As such, you should check your desired MOS and check the scores you need to get into your chosen career path.
Every branch of the service, and every MOS, uses different subtest scores to determine whether an applicant fits a given career path. To get this score, the Armed Forces combine different subtests and assign acronyms for better understanding. Here are some examples:
– General Technician (GT): this score pairs your results from word knowledge (WK), paragraph comprehension (PC), and arithmetic reasoning (AR).
– Combat (CO): this merges scores of word knowledge (WK), paragraph comprehension (PC), automobile and purchase information (AS) and mechanical comprehension (MC) subtests.
Should you repeat the ASVAB test?
If you got an AFQT score that allows you to enlist, our recommendation is that you decide based on which job options are open to you. Keep in mind, all subtest scores over 50 are considered good scores.
So for example, if your line scores are low and the recruiter only offers you two jobs that you don’t like, it’s reasonable to think about repeating the test to improve your line scores.
How many times can you take the ASVAB test?
You can take the ASVAB test as many times as you want. However, after the first time, you will have to wait a month before retaking it. If you want to take it a third time, you will have to wait six months. Each time, the last score will erase your previous one and will be valid for two years from the date of presentation.
Additionally, if you’ve already recruited and want to change jobs or MOS, you can retake the test. This new score could allow you to apply for a different job than the one you were originally assigned to.
In summary, it’s important to properly understand your score. While everyone wants a good entry score, it may be more advantageous, even with lower AFQT scores, to have better line scores. The decision will depend on the job you hope to have and your needs and expectations.