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Trends in recruiting 1975–2001 showing total numbers of enlisted recruits in all branches of U.S. armed forces in light blue and percentage of recruiting goals met in dark blue. The percentage of recruits with at least a high school diploma is shown in gold, percentage with an above-average AFQT in orange, and the percentage called "high quality", with both a diploma and above-average AFQT score, is in purple.[1]

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple choice test, administered by the United States Military Entrance Processing Command, used to determine qualification for enlistment in the United States Armed Forces. It is often offered to U.S. high school students when they are in the 10th, 11th and 12th grade, though anyone eligible for enlistment may take it.[2]


The ASVAB was first introduced in 1968 and was adopted by all branches of the military in 1976. It underwent a major revision in 2002. In 2004, the test's percentile rank scoring system was renormalized, to ensure that a score of 50% really did represent doing better than exactly 50% of the test takers.



The ASVAB contains nine sections and takes three hours to complete. The duration of each section varies between 7 and 39 minutes, the longest being for Arithmetic Reasoning. The test is typically administered in a computerized format at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) or in a written format at satellite locations called Military Entrance Test (MET) sites. Testing procedures vary depending on the mode of administration.[3]

Computerized test format

Written test format

Navy applicants also complete a Coding Speed (CS) test.


Armed Forces Qualification Test

An Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score is used to determine basic qualifications for enlistment.

The AFQT scores are divided into the following categories

- The formula for computing an AFQT score is: AR + MK + (2 × VE).

- The VE (verbal) score is determined by adding the raw scores from the PC and WK tests and using a table to get the VE score from that combined PC and WK raw score.

- AFQT scores are not raw scores, but rather percentile scores indicating how each examinee performed compared with the base youth population. For example, if someone receives an AFQT score of 55 that means they scored higher than 55 percent of all other members of the base youth population. The highest possible percentile score is 99.

- The minimum score for enlistment varies according to branch of service and whether the enlistee has a high school diploma.[4]

Minimum AFQT[5]
Tier I Tier II
Branch ≥ HS Diploma = GED
Army 31 50
Marines 31 50
Air Force 31 50
Navy 31 50
Coast Guard 40 50 with 15 college credits
*Army National Guard 31 50
*Air National Guard 50 50

GED holders who have earned 15 college credits in courses at the 100 level or higher are considered equivalent to those holding high school diplomas, so they need only the Tier I score to enlist. However, eligibility is not determined by the score alone. Depending on current recruitment goals an applicant may be required to achieve a higher score than the required minimum AFQT score in order to be considered for enlistment. Up-to-date information about eligibility requirements can be obtained from local recruiting centers.[5][6]

Applicants in Category V are legally ineligible for enlistment.[7] Applicants in Category IV must be high school diploma holders (unless they are needed to satisfy “established strength” requirements). The law limits the percentage of accessions who can fall between Categories IV and V (currently, the limit is 20% of all persons originally enlisted in a given armed force in a given fiscal year).[7]

Composite scores

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In addition to the ASVAB's AFQT, each branch has military occupational specialty, or MOS, scores. Combinations of scores from the nine tests are used to determine qualification for a MOS. These combinations are called "aptitude area scores", "composite scores", or "line scores". Each of the five armed services has its own aptitude area scores and sets its own minimum composite scores for each MOS.

Army/Army National Guard Composite Scores
CL Clerical VE+AR+MK
CO Combat Operations VE+AS+MC
EL Electronics GS+AR+MK+EI
FA Field Artillery AR+MK+MC
GM General Maintenance GS+AS+MK+EI
GT General Technical WK+PC+AR
MM Mechanical Maintenance AS+MC+EI
OF Operators and Food VE+AS+MC
SC Surveillance and Communications VE+AR+AS+MC
ST Skilled Technical VE+GS+MC+MK
* SF Special Forces GT≥110 CO≥100
Navy Line Scores
GT General Technical AR+VE
EL Electronics AR+EI+GS+MK
BEE Basic Electricity and Electronics AR+GS+2*MK
ENG Engineering AI+EI+MK
MEC Mechanical Maintenance AR+AI+SI+MC
MEC2 Mechanical Maintenance 2 AO+AR+MC
NUC Nuclear Field AR+MC+MK+VE
OPS Operations Specialist WK, PC, AR, MK, AO
HM Hospital Corpsman (medical) GS+MK+VE
ADM Administrative MK+VE
* SEALs Special Operations GS+MC+EI≥165 or VE+MK+MC+CS≥220 (minimum for BUD/S)
Coast Guard Line Scores
AET Aviation Electrical Technician MK+EI+GS≥172 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65
AMT Aviation Maintenance Technician AR+MC+AS+EI≥220 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65
AST Aviation Survival Technician VE+MC+AS≥162 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65
BM Boatswain's Mate VE+AR≥100
DC Damage Controlman VE+MC+AS≥155
EM Electrician's Mate MK+EI+GS≥153 & AR≥52
ET Electronics Technician MK+EI+GS≥172 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65
FS Food Service Specialist VE+AR≥105
GM Gunner's Mate AR+MK+EI+GS≥209
HS Health Services Technician VE+MK+GS+AR≥207 & AR≥50
IS Intelligence Specialist VE+AR≥109
IT Information Systems Technician MK+EI+GS≥172 & AR≥52 or AFQT≥65
ME Maritime Enforcement Specialist VE+AR≥100
MK Machinery Technician AR+MC+AS≥154 or VE+AR≥105
MST Marine Science Technician VE+AR≥114 & MK≥56
OS Operational Specialist VE+AR≥105
PA Public Affairs Specialist VE+AR≥109 & VE≥54
SK Storekeeper VE+AR≥105 & VE≥51
YN Yeoman VE+AR≥105

Air Force/Air National Guard Composite Scores (Standard AFQT score AR + MK + (2 x VE))[8]

M Mechanical GS + MC + AS
A Administrative VE
G General VE + AR
E Electrical AR + MK + EI + GS
Marine Corps Line Score:
CL Clerical VE+AR+MK
EL Electronics GS+AR+MK+EI
GT General Technical VE+AR
MM Mechanical Maintenance NO+AS+MC+EI
ST Skilled Technical GS+VE+MK+MC
* MARSOC Special Operations GT=105

See also


  1. ^ Kapp, Lawrence (25 February 2002), Recruiting and Retention in the Active Component Military: Are There Problems? (PDF), Defense Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade; Congressional Research Service, The Library of Congress
  2. ^ "ASVAB". Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  3. ^ "What To Expect When You Take the ASVAB". Department of Defense, Official site of the ASVAB. 19 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2014.
  4. ^ (9 August 2022). "ASVAB Scores and Army Jobs". Retrieved 25 September 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Minimum ASVAB Scores". Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
  6. ^ "10 Steps to Joining the Military – Step 2: Decide if you're ready". Retrieved 3 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b 10 USC Sec. 520
  8. ^ "ASVAB and Air Force Jobs". Retrieved 14 March 2012.

Further reading