ASVAB Score Scale

Why is it important to understand ASVAB score scale?

The ASVAB or the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery score is your passport to joining the U.S. Armed Forces. This exam is administered by the Department of Defenses to identify the potential candidates for the U.S. Military Services. If you are planning to take up the test, then you must know about the ASVAB score scale in depth.

ASVAB Scores

The ASVAB scores are released in three formats:

1. The Standard Scores- The ASVAB is composed of different subtests and the number of subtests is different in the two versions of the test; such that, there are 10 subtests in the case of the computerized ASVAB and 9 in the case of the traditional paper ASVAB. The scores of the individual subtests after they undergo a process called "equating" are termed as 'the Standard Scores'. To nullify any difference arising from the difference in the form or administration mode, in which a candidate takes up the test, the ASVAB score is subjected to the equating process. This process is statistically linked across the different forms and administration modes. Due to this process of "equating", all ASVAB scores hold the same meaning irrespective of the ASVAB version that the candidate attempts.

2. The AFQT Scores- The Armed Forces Qualifying Test or the AFQT is the scoring format that decides whether a candidate has got enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces or not. This score is computed from the standard scores of four of the subtests. Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Word Knowledge are the four subtests whose scores are used for computing the AFQT. This score is reported in the percentile format ranging between 1 and 99. The scores are then categorized as follows:

AFQT Category Percentile Score Range
I 93-99
II 65-92
IIIA 50-64
III B 31-49
IV A 21-30
IV B 16-20
IV C 10-15
V 1-9

3. The Composite Scores- Various rules and formulae are applied on the standard scores to obtain the composite scores. These scores are used for the allotment of jobs after getting enlisted in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Importance of ASVAB Scores

The ASVAB score scale is primarily used for three purposes:

1. Enlistment Eligibility- The candidate's eligibility for the military Services is determined by the AFQT score he/she gets. Each wing of the U.S. Armed Forces requires a different minimum AFQT score. These requirements are:

  • Air Force - 40
  • Army - 31
  • Navy - 35
  • Coast Guard - 45
  • Marines - 32

2. Military Job Assignment- The next most important application of the ASVAB score scale is its use in the allotment of military jobs to the enlisted candidates. The composite scores are used for this purpose as they help in identifying the candidates' aptitude and suitability to the different available military jobs. Different rules and formulae are used for each of the available jobs. The website, gives the details of how the composite score is calculated for different job roles.

3. Career Exploration- A career exploration program is offered to those students who take up this test. This helps the students identify a career path that is best suited for their aptitude based on the ASVAB score scale.

Importance of Understanding the ASVAB Score Scale

Candidates who are serious about getting enlisted in the U.S. Military Services have to know about the ASVAB score scale. They have to decide on their target score based on the ASVAB score scale as each wing of the Military requires a different minimum score for enlistment. Moreover, the job allotment also depends on these scores. The composite scores, used for a given job, reflect on the candidates' aptitude that is required for that particular field. Moreover, these scores help one determine a target score. Having a target score in mind and working towards achieving it is important, since it helps in self-motivation.


All the candidates who are attempting the ASVAB must know how the ASVAB is scored and how these scores are used. This knowledge will help them prepare in a better way and consequently get them enlisted in the U.S. Military Services.

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