Here are THE 3 things you probably don’t know about the ARMED SERVICE VOCATIONAL APTITUDE BATTERY (ASVAB)


1. Math and English dictate your Qualifying Score

2. Tough Questions = Great Success!

3. Word Knowledge is Paramount


1. Math and English dictate your Qualifying Score


Your AFQT score (the main score) will land between 0-99. This is your rank out of the people who have taken the ASVAB (it’s related to a norming process that took place in 1997). Essentially, what this means is that in 1997 loads of people (but we’ll say just 100 people for simplicity sake) took this test. At that time the person who scored best got a score of 99, and the person who scored lowest got a score of 1. Your score, let’s say 72, means that you are in the 72nd percentile, meaning that you scored better than 71% of people and worse than 38% of people who took the test in 1997.

Personally, when I took the test I got a 97. This means that only 3% of people who took it in 1997 did better than I did in those four key areas, relating only to Math and English. To be fair, I had been a Math and English teacher for years before I took the test, which gave me a major advantage. This helped me, academically, with the confidence to do well on a test. Even with all my expertise from my years of teaching, I still took the time to create a study plan and stick to it in order to prepare for the test.

The purpose for the remaining subtests is for your line scores. Line scores determine specifically which jobs you would best be suited for. The Math and English test your basic skills level, and then the other subtests (General Science (GS), Electronics Information (EI), Auto Information (AI), Shop Information (SI), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), and Assembling Objects (AO)) assist in selecting which MOS you’d be best suited for.

2. Tough Questions = Great Success


The ASVAB is an aptitude test. The purpose is to figure out what job would be best suited for you. This means that they’re checking to see what skills you have, or what  tasks you would be good at. For instance, if you’re great at mechanical comprehension, you’re more likely to perform  well with a mechanic’s MOS (Military Occupational Specialty, or JOB). This means that the test should check for your limits. If you’re good at math, you will get harder questions, if you get those right, the questions will get even harder. If your first math answer is incorrect, the test will likely throw you an easier question so that it can find out just how bad you are at math. The illustration here shows exactly what that looks like. Think about your test process working from left to right. After the first question, depending on your answer, you’ll either get a more difficult or easier question so that the test can find out exactly how good or bad you are at a given subject. Obviously this only works for the computerized test (no one can change a paper test as you work through it).

This should give you some encouragement. If you’re seeing a ton of questions that you’re struggling with it could be because you’re crushing the questions! The test is “trying” to find out just how good you are at this. You can think of it as a videogame. Each new fight/race/boss/track/field/etc. is checking to see if you’re good enough to move on to a tougher part of the game. If you fail the mission, you’ll start over with an easier starting point so the game can adjust to your skill level.

3. Word Knowledge (WK) is Paramount

Use your “words.” My students love to ask me “why” (and I love to answer them.)

“Why, sir, is WK worth more points than all the subjects?”

“Great Question!” I respond, as I try to come up with the best answer I can.

Think about your day job. Think of all the people who work there. Whether it’s the CEO of the company, or the janitor one thing is certain. The company won’t get better if the person you’re thinking of can’t communicate. If the janitor can’t say “I need more soap” you can see how the entire business can begin to suffer, and before you know it even the CEO is wondering why everything is dirty/broken/gross/failing. If the CEO can’t understand when her workers say “we’re going to go on strike unless you meet our basic needs,” her entire organization can completely fall apart. Communication is truly the only thing that can make situations better. If you can’t communicate you can’t get the help you need and you can’t make the world a better place. Conversely, if you can’t listen, analyze, or respond logically, the same thing occurs just through a different path.

This is why WK is valued so highly.

“Great answer, sir.” My students say, proud to be my students.

“Thanks, now let’s move on to something more challenging.” I say, proud to be their teacher.

Anyway, those are three things that I’ve noticed many students, teachers, parents, etc. don’t understand about the ASVAB.



⚔️Mickey Gamonal


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3 things you don't know about the ASVAB
3 things you don't know about the ASVAB: 1. Math and English dictate your Qualifying Score 2. Tough Questions = Great Success! 3. Word Knowledge is Paramount