Good ASVAB Scores

Utility of Good ASVAB Scores

Though there are no separate ASVAB tests for enlisting to the various branches of US armed forces, the minimum score requirements for enlisting and classifying into job titles differ for the various services. Getting good ASVAB scores is, therefore, quite important, if you are aspiring for any specific branch and/or position.

ASVAB Scores

Depending on the version of ASVAB you take, there are nine (in the traditional ASVAB) or ten (in the CAT-ASVAB) subtests in the ASVAB test; out of which, the scores of only four subtests are used to calculate the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score determining the eligibility to enlisting. The entire ASVAB test score is used to classify selected candidates into appropriate job roles within the concerned branch of service. However, it should be noted that not the individual scores, but the relative or Standard Scores against a selected sample of applicants is counted for. Plus, each of the force branches like the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard has its own AFQT and ASVAB score requirements for enlisting and classifying. So, it can be assumed that good ASVAB scores is a relative concept that changes with the branch and career option you are looking at.





The AFQT scores are reported in percentiles between 1 and 99; for example, an AFQT score of 78 indicates that the candidate did as good as or better than 78% of the national, representative sample. And based on the AFQT score ranges, there are AFQT Categories. Refer to the official ASVAB website for more on the categories (http://official-asvab.com/understand_coun.htm). For information on the calculation of Standard Scores and the development of the scoring scale, refer to http://official-asvab.com/docs/1997score_scale.pdf.

Utility of ASVAB Scores - for Enlisting

Though each branch has a different qualifying AFQT score, the minimum AFQT scores fall in the 30 -45 range, currently. While Marines and Army have a qualifying score requirement of 31, Coast Guard has a minimum AFQT score of 45. Hence, if you are aspiring for a career in Coast Guard, an AFQT score of 45 or above only counts among good ASVAB scores for you. Anything that is less would not hold good for enlisting into the Coast Guard, but can get you a chance in any of the other forces, if you qualify the minimum criteria therein. A list of minimum AFQT scores required or good ASVAB scores for various branches is given below:

Armed Forces Minimum AFQT Scores Required
Coast Guard 45
Air Force 36
Navy 35
Army 31
Marines 31

Utility of ASVAB Scores - for Classifying

Job roles within the forces are, however, determined not based on your AFQT scores, but are based on the total ASVAB scores grouped appropriately (line scores or qualification areas). Each of the branches has different line score sets of different subtests as per job role requirements. The core lines or qualification areas of Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps are listed below:

Air Force

Army

Marine Corps

Qualification Areas / Lines

  • General (G)

  • Mechanical (M)

  • Administrative (A)

  • Electrical (E)

  • Clerical (CL)

  • Combat (CO)

  • Electronics (EL)

  • Field Artillery (FA) General Maintenance (GM)

  • General Technical (GT)

  • Mechanical Maintenance (MM)

  • Operators and Food (OF)

  • Surveillance and Communications (SC)

  • Skilled Technical (ST)

  • Clerical (CL)

  • Electronics (EL)

  • General Technical (GT)

  • Mechanical Maintenance (MM)

  • Skilled Technical (ST)

Accordingly, good ASVAB scores differ for each of the branches and as per the job roles that you are looking at. For example, if you are looking for an Air Force career in Electrical field, you should aim at getting good ASVAB scores in the associated subtests of Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), and General Science (GS). Good ASVAB scores in the same subtests qualify you for jobs in Electronics field in the Marine Corps, as well. A score of EL100 makes you qualify for the position of Geographic Intelligence Specialist, while a score of E70 qualifies for careers in Missile & Space Facilities and Precision Measurement Equip Lab.

For more on the qualification areas/lines, subtests included, and respective job role requirements for various branch forces, refer to the respective army, navy, air force, coast guard, or marines website. You may also find useful information online at: http://www.military.com/ASVAB/0,,ASVAB_MOS.html
It is therefore, important that you understand the score groupings and requirements for each of the branches before taking the exam. A good grasp of the utility of the AFQT scores and ASVAB scores in classifying of jobs as well as enlisting helps you focus on the core areas/subtests that are relevant to your career interests.




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