When most potential recruits get their ASVAB score they wonder how well they did compared to everyone else who took the test. Thankfully, it’s very easy to rank your score against other test takers as your AFQT score is specifically computed to show that ranking.
Your AFQT score is a combination of your scores on the following ASVAB subtests:
- Word Knowledge
- Paragraph Comprehension
- Arithmetic Reasoning
- Mathematics Knowledge
However, it’s not computed by simply adding those scores together but by a formula designed to take the scores and convert them to a percentile value. It’s this percentile that represents your ASVAB score and ranks your results in comparison to others.
For example, if you score a 60 on the ASVAB that means that you scored higher than 60% of those who took the test (you’re in the 60th percentile). If you score a 90 you scored higher than 90% of those who took the test.
So, the average ASVAB score would be the percentile value that puts you right in the middle of everyone who has taken the test or a score of 50. That score of 50 is also important because it’s the minimum score necessary to qualify for most enlistment bonuses like student load repayment and enlistment bonuses.
Your goal on test day is to be confident and put yourself in the best position to do well on the ASVAB. Part of that is the confidence you’ve developed from studying and preparing yourself for the test but here are a few test day tips to make sure you’re at your best:
- On the morning of the test eat a light breakfast. Eating too heavy of a meal will make you drowsy but having something on your stomach will make it easier to concentrate.
- Avoid early morning meals that are high in carbohydrates. While eating high-carb foolds will initially make you feel energetic, that energy rush will turn into an energy crash a couple of hours into the test. Eat foods high in protein (eggs, milk, yogurt, chicken, etc.) instead.
- Exercise the day before and, if you’re up to it, the morning of the test. Getting your blood pumping will help you remain mentally sharp.
- If you’re sick you may want to reschedule the test. Right before the test starts, the proctor will ask if there’s anything, such as sickness or injury, which may affect your test performance. After the test starts there’s no stopping in the middle and, if you do poorly, you’ll have to wait thirty days to take a retest.
- If you need glasses to read make sure to bring them! If you wear contacts bring a pair of glasses just in case.
- Bring a watch to help you keep track of time.
- Don’t bring calculators, MP3 players, backpacks, or any other personal items with you. You won’t be able to bring them into the testing room.
- Don’t drink a lot of liquids just before the test so you’re not wasting testing time having to take bathroom breaks.
- Make sure you arrive at the test site early and I mean military early where on time is ten minutes late!
- Do a “test run” drive to the testing center a few days in advance and around the time of day you’re scheduled to take the test. Make sure you know where the testing location is and what traffic and parking are like during the time frame you’re going to be taking the test.
The General Technical or GT score is one of the most important line scores computed from your results on the ASVAB test. It’s determined by adding your Verbal Expression (VE) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) scores together and is used by all five branches of the military (it’s the “G” in the Air Force MAGE).
It’s doubly important because the scores that make up the GT are also three of the scores that make up your overall AFQT score which qualifies you for enlistment. (VE = Work Knowledge (WK) + Paragraph Comprehension (PC)).
Also important to note is that, despite the name, the General Technical score doesn’t include your scores on any of the technical or mechanical subtests so it’s not necessary to have any particular technical knowledge to get a high ASVAB GT score.
To prepare for the subtests that make up the GT score, concentrate on taking practice tests in verbal expression, arithmetic reasoning, and paragraph comprehension.
There’s a common misconception that missing the first few questions on the CAT-ASVAB test will get you an easier test overall. That’s certainly not true and intentionally missing the first few questions could potentially hurt your score even more than you realize.
The computerized version of the ASVAB will contain the same set of questions for every test taker. There is no “easier” or “harder” test – every person will get the same questions just potentially in a different order.
It is true that missing the first few questions will cause the easier questions to get moved up in the rotation but you would have received those easy questions anyway so missing a few questions on purpose to get to them earlier offers you no benefit.
Where it can hurt your score is when you run out of time on a subtest and don’t get to answer every question. Questions are given point values based on difficulty so answering a harder question correctly gives you more points than answering an easier question correctly.
Therefore, if you intentionally miss a few questions at the start to get to the easier questions earlier, not only could one of the questions you intentionally miss be worth several points but you’re also ensuring that the harder questions get moved to the end of the test. Then, if you run out of time, you’ve guaranteed that the questions with the highest point values are the ones you’ll either be forced to skip altogether or have to rush through answering.
There’s no way to “trick” the computer into giving you anything but the standard ASVAB test.
You’ll remember more of what you study if you break up your study sessions into shorter blocks of 20 to 30 minutes each. Your brain remembers more of what you study near the beginning and near the end of a study session so take advantage of this by scheduling shorter study sessions.
Also, you’ll be better off studying for an hour a night for a week than studying for seven hours the night before the ASVAB test. There’s only so much information your brain can absorb at one time so those seven hours spread out over seven days will do you much more good than those seven hours jammed into one evening.
Your most important asset going into the ASVAB test is having the confidence that you can do well and that confidence doesn’t come from cramming the night before. If you just commit to an hour or so a night for a week or two you’ll almost guarantee that you’ll score high enough to earn the job you want.