What Is the ASVAB Test?

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, is a timed test given to high school or college students intending to be military applicants. Military recruiters use the ASVAB to determine whether an applicant is qualified to enter the military and suitable for a role as a specialist.

The test is given as a paper and pencil or computerized version and takes approximately three hours to complete. It was developed by the Department of Defense and measures aptitude in ten areas. The scores in four areas, paragraph comprehension, word knowledge, mathematics knowledge and arithmetic reasoning, are considered the Armed Forces Qualification test, or AFQT. They determine whether an applicant can enlist in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps. Applicants who fail to meet the qualifying score of 31 the first time can retake the test after waiting one month. The test scores are valid for two years.

The test also measures general science, electronics information, auto and shop information, coding speed, mechanical comprehension and assembling objects. These scores determine the applicant’s qualification for recruitment bonuses or Military Occupational Specialties. MOS positions in the army include clerical, combat, electronics, field artillery, general maintenance, general technical, mechanical maintenance, and operators and food. An applicant with a high score on the ASVAB has a better chance of getting a preferred job in the military.