An AFQT score of less than 10 is a failing score, but no branch of the service accepts that low of a score anyway. Therefore, you can fail to achieve a score high enough to enlist in the service branch you want, even if you pass the ASVAB. This means you need to work on one (or more) of the four core areas: Mathematics Knowledge, Arithmetic Reasoning, Paragraph Comprehension, and Word Knowledge. Parts II and III of this book are specifically designed to help you improve your scores on these four subtests.

When you’re sure that you’re ready, you can apply (through your recruiter) to take the ASVAB. After you take an initial ASVAB (taking the ASVAB in high school does count for retest purposes), you can retake the test after one month. After the first retest, you must again wait one month to test again. From that point on, you must wait at least six months before taking the ASVAB again.

You can’t retake the ASVAB on a whim or whenever you simply feel like it. Each of the services has its own rules concerning whether it allows a retest.

ASVAB tests are valid for two years, as long as you aren’t in the military. In most cases, after you join the military, your ASVAB scores remain valid as long as you’re in. In other words, except in a few cases, you can use your enlistment ASVAB scores to qualify for retraining years later.

U.S. Army retest policy

The Army allows a retest in one of the following instances:
  • The applicant’s previous ASVAB test has expired.
  • The applicant failed to achieve an AFQT score high enough to qualify for enlistment.
  • Unusual circumstances occur, such as if an applicant, through no fault of his own, is unable to complete the test.

Army recruiters aren’t authorized to have applicants retested for the sole purpose of increasing aptitude area scores to meet standards prescribed for enlistment options or programs.

U.S. Air Force retest policy

For the U.S. Air Force, the intent of retesting is for an applicant to improve the last ASVAB scores so the enlistment options increase. Before any retest is administered, the recruiting flight chief must interview the applicant in person or by telephone and then give approval for the retest.

Here are a few other policies to remember:

  • The Air Force doesn’t allow retesting for applicants after they’ve enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP).
  • Current policy allows retesting of applicants who aren’t holding a job/aptitude area reservation and/or who aren’t in DEP but already have qualifying test scores.
  • Retesting is authorized when the applicant’s current line scores (mechanical, administrative, general, and electronic) limit the ability to match an Air Force skill with his or her qualifications.

U.S. Navy retest policy

The Navy allows retesting of applicants
  • Whose previous ASVAB tests have expired
  • Who fail to achieve a qualifying AFQT score for enlistment in the Navy
In most cases, individuals in the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) can’t retest. One notable exception is the Navy’s DEP Enrichment Program. This program provides for the provisional DEP enlistment of high school graduates with AFQT scores between 28 and 30. Individuals enlisted under the program are enrolled in academic enhancement training, retested with the ASVAB, and accessed to active duty, provided they score 31 or higher on the subsequent ASVAB retest.

U.S. Marine Corps retest policy

The Marine Corps authorizes a retest if the applicant’s previous test has expired. Otherwise, recruiters can request a retest if the initial scores don’t appear to reflect the applicant’s true capability, considering the applicant’s education, training, and experience.

For the Marine Corps, the retest can’t be requested solely because the applicant’s initial test scores didn’t meet the standards prescribed for enlistment options or programs.

U.S. Coast Guard retest policy

For Coast Guard enlistments, six months must have elapsed since an applicant’s last test before he or she may retest solely for the purpose of raising scores to qualify for a particular enlistment option.

The Coast Guard Recruiting Center may authorize retesting after one calendar month has passed from an initial ASVAB test if substantial reason exists to believe the initial test scores or subtest scores don’t reflect an applicant’s education, training, or experience.

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