Can you Retake the ASVAB?

If you have taken the ASVAB within the past two years, you can retake the test as long as you follow certain rules. If you are taking the ASVAB for enlistment purposes, your most recent valid score is the one that will be considered.

The rules about retaking the ASVAB are as follows. First, you must take the entire test battery-that is, all eight subtests, not just one. Military applicants who have taken an initial ASVAB-student or enlistment-can retest after one calendar month has elapsed. For example, if you first took the test on February 3, the earliest you could retake it would be March 3. If you wished to retake the test a second time, you would have to wait until April 3. After that, you would need to wait at least six months before you could take the test again. In other words, if you first took the test on February 3, took a retest on March 3, and took a second retest on April 3, you would have to wait until October 3 before you could take a third retest.

Retesting with the same version of the ASVAB that was used on any previous test is strictly prohibited for at least six months. If an applicant is retested with the same test version within a six-month period, the retest score will be invalidated and the previous valid test score will stand as the score of record. However, if the condition is the result of a MEPS or OPM test administrator procedural or administrative error, the MEPS commander may authorize an immediate retest using a different ASVAB version.

Applicants who are dismissed for cheating or disruptive behavior will have their test invalidated, and are not permitted to retest for six months from the date of the invalid test.

If you are taking the ASVAB in order to enlist in the military and your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score on your most recent test is 20 points or more higher than your score on an ASVAB you took less than six months previously, you will be required to complete a confirmation test.

Retaking the ASVAB for Enlistment If You Took It in High School

If you took the test in high school, should you take it again if you want to join the military? Remember that you can retake the test every six months and that your most recent valid score will be the one used for military enlistment purposes. That being the case, it is a good idea to take the test again if you think you can get a better score.

Retaking the ASVAB If You Are on Active Duty

Low ASVAB scores on initial tests do not have to be permanent, barring access to certain schools and other opportunities. Active-duty military personnel whose original ASVAB scores were low can retest to raise their scores and improve their eligibility for some programs. Higher ASVAB scores can help active-duty personnel change to more technical ratings and can improve eligibility for a class A school.

However, enlisted personnel are allowed to retake the ASVAB only once, and that test score becomes permanent, even if it is lower than the original score. As a result, if you are already in the military and wish to retake the ASVAB, you must be certain that you have made the improvements necessary to raise your score. If you want to retake the test, you must prove that you have improved your abilities enough-through training, practical experience, and schools-to expect a higher ASVAB score.

Improvements may be gained in a number of ways: functional skills training, completing study at public or private institutions, participation in training courses, study at academic skills learning centers, or using this test preparation book. Other proven ways to achieve higher ASVAB scores include command programs to enhance basic academic skills, attending boot camp, military experience, and increased maturity.

ASVAB Scores and Score Reports

Once you take the ASVAB, the score report you will receive depends on where you took the test. The amount of information you will receive also depends on whether you took the paper-and-pencil version or the computer-adaptive version of the ASVAB.

If You Take the ASVAB at School

If you take the ASVAB at a school, a score report will be sent to your school within 14 days after the test. Your score report will include a number of different scores.

Subtest Scores and Career Exploration Scores

Your score report will include scores for each of the subtests in the test battery. These are General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Electronics Information, Auto and Shop Information, and Mechanical Comprehension.

Your score report will also show three Career Exploration Scores: Verbal Skills, Math Skills, and Science and Technical Skills. These are composite scores combining your scores on several ASVAB subtests. The Verbal Skills score includes Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension. The Math Skills score includes Arithmetic Reasoning and Mathematics Knowledge. The Science and Technical Skills score includes General Science, Electronics Information, and Mechanical Comprehension.

The ASVAB Career Exploration Scores are a good indicator of the kinds of tasks that test takers do well and the kinds of tasks that they may find difficult.

Verbal Skills is a general measure of the vocabulary and reading skills covered in the Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension tests. People with high scores tend to do well in tasks that require good vocabulary or reading skills, while people with low scores have more difficulty with such tasks.

Math Skills is a general measure of the mathematics skills covered in the Mathematics Knowledge and Arithmetic Reasoning tests. People with high scores tend to do well in tasks that require knowledge of mathematics, while people with low scores have more difficulty with these kinds of tasks.

Science and Technical Skills is a general measure of science and technical skills, which are covered in the General Science, Electronics Information, and Mechanical Comprehension tests. People with high scores tend to do well in tasks that require scientific thinking or technical skills, while people with low scores have more difficulty with such tasks.

Standard Scores and Percentile Scores

Each of the scores just listed is reported in two ways: as standard scores and as percentile scores. Each standard score is calculated by applying statistical methods to the student's raw score. This method produces a numerical score with a short range of possible statistical error above and below it. Most student ASVAB takers achieve standard scores between 30 and 70. This means that a standard score of 50 is an average score and a score of 60 is an above-average score. The score report shows the numerical standard scores, which are estimates of your true skill level in that area. According to the report, if you took the test again, your new score would probably be similar to, but not necessarily exactly like your initial score.

The percentile scores on the ASVAB score report indicate how well the student did in relation to others in the same grade. For each ASVAB test and composite (called a Career Exploration Score), students receive a same grade/same sex, same grade/opposite sex, and same grade/combined sex percentile score. For example, if you are a female eleventh grader, you would get percentile scores showing how well you did compared to other females in the eleventh grade, males in the eleventh grade, and all eleventh graders. For example, if you scored a percentile of 65 on Math Skills, that means you scored as well as or better than 65 out of 100 eleventh-grade females in Math Skills. When compared to males and all eleventh grade students, your percentile score may be different.

The Military Careers Score

If you have already taken the ASVAB at a school, your score report contained a Military Careers Score. This score is a composite of your scores on the verbal, math, mechanical, and electronic portions of the ASVAB. It reflects your current skills and aptitudes in these areas. The Military Careers Score ranges from 1 to 7, with higher scores indicating higher levels of proficiency.

Starting in school year 2005-2006, this score was deleted because it is very confusing and not very helpful to individuals trying to interpret it.

Your best indication as to your chances of getting into the military is your AFQT score.

The Military Entrance Score (AFQT)

The score report also provides a Military Entrance Score, or AFQT. This is the most important score for the purposes of entrance into the military. It is called the AFQT because it is based on your scores on four ASVAB tests-Arithmetic Reasoning, Math Knowledge, Word Knowledge, and Paragraph Comprehension-that together make up what is called the Armed Forces Qualification Test.

The AFQT is calculated by combining your scores on Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension into a composite called Verbal Ability (VE) and adding to it your scores for Math Knowledge (MK) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR). In mathematical terms, the formula is AFQT = 2VE + MK + AR. That score is then compared to the scores of a nationally representative sample of other test takers aged 18 to 23 to produce a percentile score. The percentile indicates how well you ranked in comparison to these individuals. The higher the AFQT score, the higher the percentile.

If You Take the Paper-And-Pencil ASVAB at a Military Facility

If you take the ASVAB at a military facility called a MET site, you will be given a paper-and-pencil version of the test. You won't receive as much information about your results as those who take the ASVAB at a high school or postsecondary school.

If You Take the CAT-ASVAB at a MEPS

If you take the CAT-ASVAB at a MEPS, you will receive more scoring information than if you took the test at a MET site, but less than if you took the ASVAB at a high school. The CAT-ASVAB report provides your scores on every subtest of the ASVAB, your AFQT, and your general scores for qualifying for services occupations.