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How to Read ASVAB Scores

by Chris Blake, studioD

If you're interested in a career in the military, the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery will be one of the most important tests you will ever take. Not only does enlistment in the Armed Forces depend upon your ability to satisfactorily pass the ASVAB, but being able to interpret your scores will enable you to better understand which careers may be best suited for you once you enlist.

Your ASVAB Percentile Score

When you receive your score sheet, you will see four different numbers between 1 and 99 percent. The first number you see represents your percentile score, while the next three represent the averages of your gender, the opposite gender and your age group respectively for each of the eight sections. You will also see three Career Exploration Scores. All of these scores will be broken down for you in a document known as your ASVAB Summary Results sheet.

Career Exploration Scores

You'll see three scores on your score sheet known as Career Exploration Scores, which are made up of composites of verbal skills, math skills and science and technical schools. These will allow you to evaluate your skills compared to those in your peer group. For example, if you receive a 97 percent on your verbal skills composite, you did better than or as well as 97 percent of your peers who took your test.

Your AFQT Score

Your Armed Forces Qualification Test is your most important ASVAB score and will be displayed at the bottom of your score summary sheet. Your AFQT score is also presented in percentile form and is based on only four sections of your ASVAB test: paragraph comprehension, word knowledge, mathematics knowledge and arithmetic reasoning. Your AFQT score determines whether you can join the Armed Forces. Each branch sets a minimum score for enlistment, but you must score at least 31 percent.

Understanding Your Test Scores

Since your scores are presented in percentile form, they do not represent how many questions you got right or wrong. Unlike a test you may take in school, an 85 percent does not mean that you got 85 percent of the questions right. Instead, it shows how you compare to other students. For example, a percentile score of 85 means that you scored the same or better than 85 of every 100 people who took the ASVAB in your peer group.

About the Author

Chris Blake has been writing professionally since 2007. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from West Virginia Wesleyan College. He works and coaches high school basketball in Washington, DC.

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