How ASVAB Scores Are Calculated for Military Careers

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

If you’re considering a career in the military, understanding how ASVAB scores are calculated is crucial. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is more than just a test; it’s a comprehensive assessment that determines your qualifications for various military roles. Knowing how these scores are derived can give you a strategic advantage.

The ASVAB isn’t just one single score but a combination of multiple subtests, each evaluating different skills and knowledge areas. Your performance in these subtests translates into composite scores, which the military uses to match you with suitable roles. So, let’s break down the process and see how your efforts translate into those all-important numbers.

Understanding ASVAB Scores

What Is the ASVAB?

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) evaluates your skills and knowledge across various domains. Created by the Department of Defense, the test identifies your strengths. You can find it used in both military and educational settings.

Components of ASVAB Scores

Your ASVAB score consists of several subtest scores. Broken into different sections, these include:

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR): Solves basic math problems.
  • Word Knowledge (WK): Tests vocabulary.
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC): Assesses understanding of written information.
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK): Covers high school math.

Composite scores are grouped together into distinct categories:

  • AFQT Score: Determines military eligibility. Calculated from AR, MK, WK, and PC scores.
  • Line Scores: Specific to each military branch. Used for job qualification.

Each subtest contributes to your overall score and specific qualifications. High scores on particular subtests increase options for specialized roles. Familiarize yourself with the format and practice regularly, as preparation impacts your success level.

How ASVAB Scores Are Calculated

Understanding how ASVAB scores are calculated helps you navigate your military career path. These scores determine eligibility and job qualifications within the military.

Standard Scores and Composites

The ASVAB comprises multiple subtests, each generating standard scores transformed into composite scores. Standard scores use a scale where the average score is set to 50, and the standard deviation is 10. For instance, a score of 60 means you performed one standard deviation better than the average test taker.

Composite scores, or line scores, are combinations of various standard scores. They’re critical for determining qualifications for specific military roles. For example, the Army Clerical (CL) score includes Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Word Knowledge (WK), and Paragraph Comprehension (PC). Each branch calculates these composites differently.

Percentile Scores Explained

Percentile scores reflect your performance relative to a reference group. They don’t indicate the number of questions answered correctly but show how you rank compared to others. A percentile score of 75, for example, means you performed better than 75% of the reference group.

Understanding percentile scores is essential to evaluate your competitiveness. If you’re aiming for specialized roles, higher percentile scores could improve your chances. These scores are usually part of the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score, which combines Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Mathematics Knowledge subtests. Your AFQT score determines basic eligibility for enlistment.

Summarizing, ASVAB scores provide a comprehensive view of your capabilities and potential career paths in the military. Understanding these different types of scores can strategically position you for a successful military career.

Impact of ASVAB Scores

Military Entry Requirements

ASVAB scores play a critical role in determining your eligibility for military service. Each branch of the armed forces requires a minimum Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. This score is derived from four ASVAB subtests: Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Word Knowledge. Meeting the minimum AFQT score is essential for enlistment, but higher scores may enhance your opportunities.

  • Army: Requires a minimum AFQT score of 31.
  • Navy: Requires a minimum AFQT score of 35.
  • Air Force: Requires a minimum AFQT score of 36.
  • Marine Corps: Requires a minimum AFQT score of 32.
  • Coast Guard: Requires a minimum AFQT score of 40.

Meeting these scores qualifies you for basic entry, but higher scores can improve your chances of securing enlistment bonuses and scholarships.

Job Qualification

ASVAB scores don’t just determine whether you can enlist; they also influence which military jobs (Military Occupational Specialties or MOS) you’re eligible for. Each job has specific composite or line score requirements, combining different subtest scores.

  • Combat Arms: Scores in subtests like Combat (CO) and Field Artillery (FA) determine eligibility for these roles.
  • Technical Jobs: For roles in electronics or information technology, composite scores in Electronics (EL) and General Technical (GT) are crucial.
  • Administrative Roles: High scores in Clerical (CL) skills are vital for these positions.

For example, to qualify for a technical job in the Air Force, you might need strong Math Knowledge (MK) and General Science (GS) scores. On the other hand, an infantry role in the Army may prioritize scores in Auto and Shop Information (AS) and Mechanical Comprehension (MC). Understanding these requirements helps align your ASVAB preparation with your desired career path, ensuring you can qualify for preferred roles.


Understanding how ASVAB scores are calculated is crucial for anyone considering a military career. These scores not only determine your eligibility for enlistment but also influence the range of job opportunities available to you within different branches. By focusing on your AFQT score and the specific composite scores required for your desired Military Occupational Specialties, you can strategically prepare to meet your career goals. Prioritize your ASVAB preparation to enhance your chances of achieving a fulfilling and successful military career.


post page form.


Next Steps: Sync an Email Add-On

To get the most out of your form, we suggest that you sync this form with an email add-on. To learn more about your email add-on options, visit the following page ( Important: Delete this tip before you publish the form.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.