2021 / 2022 ASVAB For Dummies
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The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) comes in five versions, depending on where and why you take it. The varieties of the test are essentially the same; they’re just administered differently. The following table boils them down.
Versions of the ASVAB
Version How You Take It Format Purpose
Student Given to juniors and seniors in high school; it’s administered through a cooperative program between the Department of Education and the Department of Defense at high schools across the United States Paper Its primary purpose is to provide a tool for guidance counselors to use when recommending civilian career areas to high school students (though it can be used for enlistment if taken within two years of enlistment). For example, if a student scores high in electronics, the counselor can recommend electronics career paths. If a student is interested in military service, the counselor then refers her to the local military recruiting offices.
Enlistment Given through a military recruiter at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or at a satellite testing site Usually computer, may be paper This version of the ASVAB is used by all the military branches for the purpose of enlistment qualification and to determine which military jobs a recruit can successfully be trained in.
Enlistment Screening Test (EST) Given at the discretion of a military recruiter for a quick enlistment qualification screening Computer These mini-ASVABs aren’t qualification tests; they’re strictly recruiting and screening tools. The EST contains about 50 questions similar but not identical to questions on the AFQT portion of the ASVAB. The test is used to help estimate an applicant’s probability of obtaining qualifying ASVAB scores.
Pre-screening, internet-delivered Computerized Adaptive Test (PiCAT) Online, on your own time after receiving an access code from your recruiter Computer The PiCAT is an unproctored, full version of the ASVAB. You take it on your own time, but you must take a verification test at a MEPS to validate your score. The verification test typically takes 25 to 30 minutes to complete.
Armed Forces Classification Test (AFCT) Given at installation educational centers to people already in the military through the Defense Manpower Data Center Computer At some point during your military career, you may want to retrain for a different job. If you need higher ASVAB scores to qualify for such retraining, or if you’re a commissioned officer who wants to become a warrant officer, you can take the AFCT. The AFCT is essentially the same as the other versions of the ASVAB.
The vast majority of military applicants are processed through a MEPS, where they take the computerized format of the ASVAB (called the CAT-ASVAB, short for computerized-adaptive testing ASVAB), undergo a physical exam, and run through a security screening, many times all in one trip. The paper-and-pencil (P&P) version is most often given in high school and at Mobile Examination Test (MET) sites located throughout the United States. Most MET sites use paper versions of the test.

See also, " Deciphering ASVAB Scores."

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Angie Papple Johnston joined the U.S. Army in 2006 as a CBRN specialist. Currently, she's the CBRN noncommissioned officer-in-charge of an aviation battalion in Washington, D.C. Rod Powers served more than 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and retired as a first sergeant.

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