ASVAB for Air Force

How important is ASVAB for the Air Force?

If you want to join the U.S. Air Force, ASVAB is the only solution. It is that one test that will get you enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. However, the U.S. Air Force requires you to score a very high score in this test to get enlisted.

Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or the ASVAB is a test that tests the aptitude of examinees. The Verbal, Math, Science and Technology and Spatial aptitudes are tested. The test consists of 10 subtests. They are General Science (GS), Auto Information (AI), Shop Information (SI), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Electronics Information (EI), Math Knowledge (MK), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and Assembling Objects (AO).

The test is conducted by the Department of Defenses and it is common for all military aspirants. There are 2 versions, Computerized ASVAB (CAT-ASVAB) and Paper & Pencil ASVAB (P&P-ASVAB). The subtests are the same but in P&P-ASVAB, there are 9 subtests; since the Auto Information and Shop Information subtests are combined to form one subtest - Auto & Shop Information (AS).

ASVAB for the Air Force

As said earlier, Air Force expects very high standards from its potential candidates. Thus, they set the highest eligibility criterion. There are 10 subtests. 4 of these subtests' (AR, MK, PC & WK) scores are computed to get a score called the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. This score decides if you will get enlisted in the U.S. military or not. The AFQT minimum cut off is 36 to get enlisted in the Air Force.

The other subtests' scores are computed using different formulae to get what are called the composite scores. These scores are used for screening candidates for different Air Force jobs. It is called as "Air Force Specialty Code" or the "AFSC".

The Air Force, before recruiting a candidate, looks for various qualities. One of the very important qualities it looks for is the mental capacity to undergo the training given in the Air Force. This training is very rigorous. It also looks for people with the right attitude for the different Air Force jobs. It helps in identifying individuals with these qualities.

Jobs in the Air Force

The scores secured in this tests are divided into 4 groups. These groups are called the "Qualification Areas". The jobs in the Air Force fall under 4 categories. The composite scores are used to identify candidates who will fit in these job roles. The qualification areas are General (G), Mechanical (M), Administrative (A) and Electronic (E). The subtests and the formulae used for identifying the right candidates for these areas are,

  • General - WK+PC+AR
  • Mechanical - MC+GS+2(AS)
  • Administrative - WK+PC+MK
  • Electronic - AR+MK+EI+GS

Questions Types

All the questions asked in the tests are multiple-choice questions. The table below clearly mentions the number of questions and the time allotted for each subtest in both the versions of the ASVAB.

Subtest Description No. of Questions Time Duration (minutes)

General Science (GS) Knowledge of physical and biological science 16 25 8 11
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) Ability to solve Arithmetic word problems 16 30 39 36
Word Knowledge (WK) Ability to identify the right meaning of the given word 16 35 8 11
Paragraph Comprehension (PC) Ability to collect information from the given passage 11 15 22 13
Math Knowledge (MK) Knowledge of high school math principles 16 25 20 24
Electronics Information (EI) Electricity and electronics knowledge 16 20 8 9
Auto Information (AI) Automobile knowledge 11 25 (AS) 7 11(AS)
Shop Information (SI) Tools and shop technology terminology and practices 11
Mechanical Comprehension (MC) Mechanical and physical principles knowledge 16 25 20 19
Assembling Objects (AO) Ability to understand how an object will look when its different parts are put together 16 25 16 15


Passing the ASVAB with good scores is very important for all Air Force aspirants. With good preparation and a good score in this test, you can join the U.S. Air Force and realize your dreams.