What is the ASVAB?

Understanding the ASVAB: Your Gateway to a Military Career

Written by

What is the ASVAB?

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is not just any test—it’s a comprehensive assessment designed to measure your abilities across a variety of skill sets.

It serves a dual purpose: determining your qualification for enlistment in the U.S. military and helping to place you in a role where your talents shine.

Who Should Take the ASVAB?

If you’re in high school and currently thinking about enlisting, the ASVAB is a good first step.

The ASVAB is open to all individuals considering military service, with no restrictions on age or education level.

Keep in mind in order to take the ASVAB, you’ll likely be interacting with a recruiter. You also may have the opportunity to take this at your high school.

Talk to a counselor to see if this is an option for you.

Why is the ASVAB important?

Why prioritize the ASVAB? It’s simple: this test is a critical factor in your military career.

Your score will dictate what careers or jobs you are eligible for.

The higher your ASVAB, the more options you’ll have.

The ASVAB is the military’s way of placing you where you can excel and grow.

What’s on the ASVAB?

There are 9 sections within the ASVAB:

  • General Science
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Word Knowledge
  • Paragraph Comprehension
  • Mathematics Knowledge
  • Electronics Information
  • Auto and Shop Information
  • Mechanical Comprehension
  • Assembling Objects

We go into more detail on how the ASVAB is scored here, but the basic scoring process is based on the Item Response Theory. Your raw scores are converted into a scaled score, reflecting the difficulty of each question.

There are four critical areas that make up the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score are:

  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Word Knowledge
  • Paragraph Comprehension
  • Mathematics Knowledge

A good ASVAB score depends on the branch of the military you’re interested in, but typically a score of 31 is the minimum required to enlist; however, higher scores can greatly expand your job opportunities within the service.

How are ASVAB scores used?

Not only is a minimum score necessary to enlist in the first place, but a higher ASVAB score will enable you to choose from a larger list of available jobs (MOS, Military Occupational Specialties for most branches, or AFSC, Air Force Specialty Codes, for the Air Force).