The ASVAB Test - All You Need to Know About It

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test or the ASVAB test is one of the most popular tests in the States and taken mostly by school students who want to join the United States Armed Forces.

What is the test designed for?

The test has been designed to predict future academic and occupational success in military by the test takers. Introduced in 1968, the test has been the subject of a number of studies and it seems that the test can assess a test takers academic ability in a number of occupations and is not just limited to the United States Military services alone. The results state the weakness of the student as well as the strengths and let the student know in which areas he or she can excel at.

Who can apply?

Today, anybody who is in a high school (10th,11th or 12th grade) can take the test. You can also take the test if you qualify for enlistment. More than 14,000 schools across the nation carry out this test. Every year, there are more than a million students who take this test, giving an authority to the importance of this test.

What does the test consist of?

The ASVAB test has 10 sections (for computer based test). Computer based test is adaptive (you get harder questions if you answer right) There are 9 sections for paper based tests. More than 70% students take computer based tests. It deals with your understanding the concepts and knowledge of Arithmetic Reasoning, Words, Paragraph Comprehension as well as Mathematics. You have to score well in each of the sections to have an overall good score.

Test Sections
ASVAB has following 10 sections: Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), General Science (GS), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Electronics Information (EI), and Assembling Objects (AO), Auto & Shop Information (AS).
AI and SI are administered as separate tests in the CAT-ASVAB (computer version), but combined into one single score (AS) in paper based test.

AFQT score is calculated based on scores in Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Mathematics Knowledge (MK).

The aptitude test also determines whether you are actually fit to be in the army or not. After all, working in the military isn't for everybody. You need to be fit physically and have the right mental aptitude, in the absence of which you may not be able to survive in the environment. While a low score might deter your chances of joining the military it is also true that getting a high score will mean incentives and bonuses coming your way, urging you to join and be a part of the nation's military forces.

How are the marks calculated?

There is no negative marking system in ASVAB as yet. You get marks for each correct answer and there are multiple-choice questions. The ASVAB test is taken in the traditional paper and pencil format as well as through computers. Students need to see which of the two they prefer.

After 2004, the test has been normalized and the result is on a percentile basis. This means, if you have got a 50 percentile, it will mean that you are better than exactly 50 percent of other test takers for that particular exam.

How do students prepare?

Those serious about the ASVAB test start their preparations early. It is often seen that students do a thorough research and take practice tests to verse themselves with the pattern of the test and to master the skills required. A pre ASVAB test ensures that the student can gauge their performance correctly and improve in the weak areas so that they can perform well in the real test. Students should note which area among the four areas (words, paragraph comprehension, mathematics and arithmetic reasoning) they are particularly weak at and concentrate on it. Studying in a quiet environment helps students. Often, aptitude development is required, especially is students are scared or have a fear of the exam.

More about the test

The ASVAB test is one that helps students decide which area of the military they should join. Depending on marks as well as credits, students can be given admission to different areas of the military. So, one can try to be in the army, another in the navy while another as a coast guard. The test results help know which type of military job suits your mental aptitude. The minimum required score for each branch of service differs. For instance, right now, the minimum marks for joining the Navy is 35 and for the Air Force is 36.

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