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A Detailed Look at Scoring the ASVAB

After taking the ASVAB, you receive several scores, two of which are used by all the service branches — the VE (Verbal Expression) score and the AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score. Your AFQT score determines whether or not you qualify to enlist in that particular branch of the service.

The ASVAB also produces several line scores, which are different for each branch of service. Line scores determine which military jobs you’re qualified for. For charts showing how such scores relate to specific jobs in each branch of service, click here for the printable article, Matching ASVAB Scores to Military Jobs.

Whether you take the pencil-and-paper version of the ASVAB or the CAT-ASVAB (computerized version), the scores are the same. The computerized version of the ASVAB is adaptive, which means that on some sections of the test, harder questions are worth more points than easier questions, so you may be able to obtain the maximum possible score with fewer questions.

VE Score

The Verbal Expression (VE) score is used to determine qualifications for many military jobs in all the branches, and it’s used to help determine your AFQT score. To compute your VE score, the military adds the number correct (1 point per correct answer) of the Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and the Word Knowledge (WK) subtests and then compares the results to the info in the following table.

Computing the VE Score
Standard Scores (PC + WK) VE Score
50 62
48–49 60
46–47 58
44–45 56
42–43 54
40–41 52
38–39 50
36–37 49
34–35 47
32–33 45
30–31 44
28–29 42
26–27 40
24–25 38
22–23 36
20–21 34
18–19 32
16–17 31
14–15 29
12–13 27
10–11 25
8–9 22
6–7 22
4–5 21
0–3 20

AFQT Score

The AFQT (Armed Forces Qualifying Test) score is arguably the most important ASVAB score because it determines whether you’re eligible to join the military branch of your choice. Although the AFQT is often called the “overall ASVAB score,” that’s not quite correct, because it’s derived from only four subtests: Verbal Expression (VE), which is computed from the Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and Word Knowledge (WK) subtests, Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Math Knowledge (MK).

On the CAT-ASVAB, AR and MK questions are worth between 1 and 3 points each, depending on the difficulty of the question.

To find your AFQT score, the formula to use is 2VE + AR + MK. First, double the VE score (see the preceding section). Then add it to the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) and Math Knowledge (MK) scores and compare the results to the following table. Note: For points of 120 or lower, keep reducing by one.

AFQT Scores and Percentiles
Score AFQT Percentile Score AFQT Percentile
229 99 189 60
228 98 187–188 59
227 97 186 58
226 96 185 57
225 95 183–184 56
224 94 182 55
223 93 181 54
222 92 179–180 53
221 91 178 52
220 90 176–177 51
219 89 175 50
218 88 173–174 49
217 86 172 48
216 85 170–171 47
215 84 168–169 46
214 83 166–167 45
213 82 165 44
212 81 163–164 43
211 80 161–162 42
210 79 159–160 41
209 78 157–158 40
207–208 77 155–156 39
206 76 154 38
205 75 151–153 37
204 74 149–150 36
203 73 147–148 35
202 72 145–146 34
201 71 143–144 33
200 70 140–142 32
199 69 138–139 31
198 68 135–137 30
197 67 132–134 29
195–196 66 128–131 28
194 65 125–127 27
193 64 124 26
192 63 123 25
191 62 122 24
190 61 121 23

Composite Scores

Composite scores are used for job qualification by the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. The Navy and Coast Guard use a different system, which I explain later in this section.

Air Force composite scores

The Air Force has four composite scores used for job-qualification purposes:

  • *General (G): Add the Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and Word Knowledge (WK) scores and then double the result. Add this to the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) score.

    • 2(PC + WK) + AR

  • *Mechanical (M): Add the Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and Word Knowledge (WK) scores and then double the result. Add this to the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), and General Science (GS) scores.

    • AR + 2(PC + WK) + MC + GS

  • *Administrative (A): Add the Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and Word Knowledge (WK) scores and then double the result. Add this to the Mathematics Knowledge (MK) score.

    • 2(PC + WK) + MK

  • *Electrical (E): Add the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), and General Science (GS) subtest scores.

    • AR + MK + EI + GS

The results are then converted to percentile scores, ranging from 1 to 99.

Army composite scores

Army composite scores are computed from a straightforward addition of subtest scores:

  • Clerical (CL): Add the Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Mathematics Knowledge (MK) scores.

    • VE + AR + MK

  • Combat (CP): Add the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Auto & Shop (AS), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC) scores.

    • AR + AS + MC

  • Electronics (EL): Add the General Science (GS), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), and Electronics Information (EI) scores.

    • GS + AR + MK + EI

  • Field Artillery (FA): Add the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC) scores.

    • AR + MK + MC

  • General Maintenance (GM): Add the General Science (GS), Auto & Shop (AS), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), and Electronics Information (EI) scores.

    • GS + AS + MK + EI

  • General Technical (GT): Add the Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and Word Knowledge (WK) scores and then double the result. Add this to the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) score.

    • 2(PC + WK) + AR

  • Mechanical Maintenance (MM): Add the Auto & Shop (AS), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), and Electronics Information (EI) scores.

    • AS + MC + EI

  • Operators and Food (OF): Add the Verbal Expression (VE), Auto & Shop (AS), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC) scores.

    • VE + AS + MC

  • Surveillance and Communications (SC): Add the Verbal Expression (VE), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Auto & Shop (AS), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC) scores.

    • VE + AR + AS + MC

  • Skilled Technical (ST): Add the General Science (GS), Verbal Expression (VE), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC) scores.

    • GS + VE + MK + MC

Marine Corps composite scores

Marine Corps composite scores are a straightforward addition of subtest scores:

  • Mechanical (M): Add the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Auto & Shop (AS), and Electronics Information (EI) scores.

    • AR + MC + AS + EI

  • Clerical (CL): Add the Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and Word Knowledge (WK) scores and double the result. Add this to the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) and Mechanical Comprehension (MC) scores.

    • 2(PC + WK) + AR + MC

  • General Technical (GT): Add the Paragraph Comprehension (PC) and Word Knowledge (WK) scores and double the result. Add this to the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) and Mechanical Comprehension (MC) scores.

    • 2(PC + WK) + AR + MC

  • Electrical (EL): Add the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mechanical Comprehension (MC), Electronics Information (EI), and General Science (GS) scores.

    • AR + MC + EI + GS

Navy and Coast Guard scores

The Navy and the Coast Guard don’t use composite scores. Instead, they simply list the combination of ASVAB subtest score totals needed for a specific job.

For example, the ASVAB requirements to become an enlisted Navy medic are listed as “VE + MK + GS = 146.” That means that in order to qualify for this job, the totals of your Verbal Expression (VE), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), and General Science (GS) subtest scores must be greater than or equal to 146.

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