Understanding the AFQT Score

What most people call an ASVAB score is actually called the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score.  This score is what determines if you meet the minimum qualifications for enlistment in the military and is a basic measure of how “trainable” you may be to perform jobs in the service.

The AFQT score is computed from your scores on four of the nine subtests of the ASVAB test:

  • Word Knowledge
  • Paragraph Comprehension
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Mathematics Knowledge

Although doing well on the other five subtests can help you qualify for certain jobs in the military, it’s only your performance on these four subtests that makes up your AFQT score.

Specifically, your AFQT score is computed using the specific formula:

2VE + AR + MK

VE is your Verbal Expression score which is a combination of your Word Knowledge (WK) and your Paragraph Comprehension (PC) score.  To determine VE your WK and PC scores are added together and the result is converted to a scaled score between 20 and 62.  Your raw AFQT score is then computed by doubling your VE score and adding your Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) and your Mathematics Knowledge (MK) scores to it.

This raw AFQT score is then compared with everyone else who took the ASVAB test and you’re ranked by a percentile score indicating how well you did in comparison.  So, for example, if your raw score is better then 65% of the other test takers your AFQT score will be 65 and if your raw score is better than 25% of the other test takers your AFQT score will be a 25.

The minimum AFQT score required for enistment differs by the branch of the military you’re trying for (Air Force ASVAB, Army ASVAB, Coast Guard ASVAB, Marines ASVAB, or Navy ASVAB) and whether you’re a high school graduate or have a GED.  (Follow the above links for details about the requirements and retest procedures.)

AFQT scores are grouped into five categories (I, II, III, IV, V) with categories III and IV fruther broken down further into sub-categories that the military sometimes uses to enforce enlistment limits and qualify soldiers for enlistment incentives.

Category Percentile Score Trainability
I 93 – 100 Outstanding
II 62 – 92 Excellent
III A 50 – 64 Above Average
III B 31 – 49 Average
IV A 21 – 30 Below Average
IV B 16 – 20 Markedly Below Average
IV C 10 – 15 Poor
V 0 – 9 Not Trainable