The Interrelationship Between Marine Corps and ASVAB

Top 5 job options in Marine Corps and ASVAB

Job options in the U.S. Marine Corps are based on the ASVAB scores. This is an exam that the candidates interested in joining the U.S. Military Services must take for the purpose of enlistment and classification. In order to acquaint yourself with the information pertaining to this test, the first part of the article will provide you with the details of the exam; whereas the latter part will explain about the job opportunities and eligibility criteria for the various jobs in the Marine Corps.

About the ASVAB Test

ASVAB is a multi-aptitude test battery, where the skills and knowledge of the examinees in four domains (Science and Technology, Mathematics, Verbal and Spatial) are tested through a battery of tests. There are subtests in each of these domains.

  • The Science and Technology Domain
    1. General Science (GS)
    2. Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
    3. Electronics Information (EI)
    4. Auto Information (AI)
    5. Shop Information (SI)
  • The Mathematics Domain
    1. Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
    2. Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  • The Verbal Domain
    1. Word Knowledge (WK)
    2. Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  • The Spatial Domain
    1. Assembling Objects (AO)

There are 2 versions of the ASVAB test and the candidates can choose the version they would like to take up the test in. The versions are,

1. CAT-ASVAB - This is the computerized test type. There are 10 subtests in this version of this test as given above. This is an adaptive version of the test, which means that, the difficulty level of the questions is adapted to the capacity of the examinees.

2. P&P or Paper & Pencil ASVAB- This is the traditional method of exam administration. In this version, there are 9 subtests. The Auto Information (AI) and Shop Information (SI) are merged into one subtest, the Auto and Shop Information (SI) in this version of the test.

Question Types, Sections and Duration of the Test

All the questions in the exam are multiple-choice questions and there is no negative marking for wrong answers. The total time duration for the test is around 2 hours and 30 minutes. The number of questions and the time allotted for each subtest is different for the two versions of the test. A major difference between the computerized and paper-based formats is that in CAT-ASVAB, each candidate gets a different set of questions but in P&P-ASVAB all the candidates get the same set of questions.

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
145 225 154 149

Another major difference between the two test versions is that the candidates can move to the next subtest after finishing the previous one in the computer-based version; whereas in the pen and paper format, a candidate can move to the next subtest only after the allotted time is finished.

ASVAB Scores

ASVAB scores determine whether a candidate has qualified for the U.S. Military Services or not. There are 3 formats of the score,

I. The Standard Score- This is the standard score that a candidate gets in each subtest after equating. Equating is a process where the scores are statistically linked across the various administration modes and forms. ASVAB scores remain the same irrespective of the mode of administration a candidate receives due to this equating process.

II. The AFQT Score- The Armed Forces Qualification Test score or the AFQT score decides whether a candidate will get enlisted in the U.S. Military Services or not. For each of the military wings, there is a minimum AFQT score which qualifies for selection. The scores in Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension are used for the AFQT score calculation.

III. The Composite Score- The scores of the different subtests are used for the composite score calculation. This is also called the Line Score. These scores decide the candidate's job options in the Marine Corps. This score throws light on the aptitude of the candidates for the different jobs available in the Marine Corps.

Marine Corps Job Options

Based on the above mentioned score formats, candidates are selected for the various job roles available in the U.S. Marine Corps. Jobs in this field are called "Military Occupational Specialty" or the "MOS". To get enlisted in the Marine Corps, one should score a minimum of 32 in the AFQT.
The Line Scores are calculated for selection into the different jobs available in the U.S. Marine Corps. The table below shows the MOS and the Line Scores used for selection.

MOS Composite Scores
Mechanical AR+MC+EI+AS
Clerical MK+WK+PC
General Technician AR+MC+WK+PC
Electrical AR+MK+GS+EI

The top 5 job options in the Marine Corps are in: Electronics, Law Enforcement, Media, technical Support and Logistics. Furthermore, there are specific jobs under each of these fields.


There are a lot of job opportunities available in the U.S. Marine Corps for all candidates who get enlisted. However, the candidates need to work hard to get the desired scores to qualify for the same.