ASVAB Test Scoring

What are Good ASVAB Scores?

Since 1976, all the branches of the US armed forces have been using the single ASVAB test for classifying candidates into job roles as well as enlisting. For those who are aspiring for a military career, ASVAB scores are, therefore, critically important. Here is an article explaining the various aspects of ASVAB scores with respect to various branches of military services - ASVAB test scoring, good ASVAB scores, minimum required scores, etc.

What are ASVAB Scores?

The ASVAB test battery consists of nine or ten tests depending on the version of the test you take (nine in the paper and pencil-based version of the test and ten in the CAT-ASVAB). However, the ASVAB test scoring process ensures that scores are linked through an equating process, and you are not in any disadvantageous or advantageous position because of the version of the test you take. The ASVAB test scoring process is based on the Item Response Theory model with an underlying three parameter logistic model.





There are two main types of ASVAB scores:

  • The Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score, which is a combined score of only four subtests of the battery.
  • The overall ASVAB score of the entire battery.

The AFQT scores are generally reported in percentiles 1 - 99; for example, an AFQT score of 90 indicates that the candidate has performed as good as or better than 90% of the representative sample. Thus, it is not the individual scores that are used for enlisting, but the relative or Standard Scores against the selected sample of applicants.

Refer to the following links for more information on AFQT categories, Standard Scores, the ASVAB test scoring process, and the development of the scoring scale:

How Important are ASVAB Scores?

The AFQT scores are used to determine the eligibility of a candidate to enlisting, while the ASVAB total scores are used for selecting appropriate job roles for selected candidates. Though the test content is the same across the various branches of military services, different service branches like Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marines, and Air Force have their own criteria or different minimum score requirements. Hence achieving relevant good ASVAB scores with respect to the branch of service you prefer is very essential.

The current ASVAB test scoring requirements (AFQT) for enlisting to various branches of the forces are as follows. (It should be remembered that these criteria and score requirements are prone to change without any prior notice):

Military Services AFQT Score Required for Enlisting
Air Force 36
Army 31
Coast Guard 45
Marines 31
Navy 35

The overall ASVAB test scoring requirements for classification into job roles also differ based on the branch of service. For this, the subtests are further grouped into various Qualification Areas or Lines and the line/group scores are used to determine the candidate's aptitude for and abilities in various clusters of jobs, like Mechanical, Electrical, General, and the like as appropriate in the various branches.

For more information on the score requirements for various branches, the various Lines or Qualification Areas, and the subtest clusters associated with each, refer to the official ASVAB website http://official-asvab.com/military_rec.htm; or visit http://www.military.com/ASVAB/0,,ASVAB_MOS.html.

What are Good ASVAB Scores?

As there are different minimum ASVAB test scoring requirements for various branches, the concept of good ASVAB scores is a relative one. Based on the kind of occupation or military job role that you are looking at and the branch of service you are interested in, the good ASVAB scores differ. For example, an AFQT score of 31 will be good for enlisting into Army and the Marines, however, is not good enough for a Navy or Coast Guard career. Similarly, lines and line score requirements also differ within the branches.

Thus, the ASVAB scores are your gateway into military - for enlisting and classifying into appropriate job roles. It is important that you understand the score groupings and requirements for each of the branches before taking the exam. It can help you focus on respective areas of the ASVAB test as per your interest and aptitudes, and try to get good ASVAB scores as required in the appropriate clusters/lines as required.




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