By Angie Papple Johnston

This may surprise you, but the ASVAB doesn’t have an overall score. When you hear someone say, “I got an 80 on my ASVAB,” that person is talking about his or her percentile on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score, not an overall ASVAB score.

The AFQT score determines whether you even qualify to enlist in the military, and only four of the subtests are used to compute it:

  • Word Knowledge (WK)
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK)

The military brass (or at least its computers) determines your AFQT score through a very particular process:

  1. Add the value of your Word Knowledge score to your Paragraph Comprehension score.
  2. Convert the result of Step 1 to a scaled score, ranging from 20 to 62.
    This score is known as your Verbal Expression or VE score.
  3. To get your raw AFQT score, double your VE score and then add your Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) score and your Mathematics Knowledge (MK) score to it.
    The basic equation looks like this:
    Raw AFQT Score = 2VE + AR + MK
  4. Convert your raw score to a percentile score, which basically compares your results to the results of thousands of other ASVAB test-takers.
    For example, a score of 50 means that you scored as well as or better than 50 percent of the individuals the military is comparing you to.