Exam Overview for McGraw-Hill's ASVAB
What is the ASVAB?
You learned in the preceding chapter that everyone seeking to enlist in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). The education level of military personnel is a major concern, and the military does not take just anyone who wants to join. The ASVAB is one tool that the military uses to measure the abilities of potential recruits. The ASVAB is also given to high school students to help them explore their aptitudes for different careers. Results from the high school assessment can be used for military entrance.
The ASVAB is actually a group of individual aptitude tests. The tests are listed in the following charts. Each test measures something that is important for military entrance or for acceptance into training programs for certain military jobs.
Once you are accepted into the military, your ASVAB scores are used to qualify you for various military occupations. The higher your scores, the more choices you will have for training in different occupations.
Different Formats of the ASVAB
The ASVAB comes in two formats. Persons who take the ASVAB in schools and in certain other locations in the country are given a paper-and-pencil test battery. This format of the test has 200 items and takes a little over two hours to complete. The test taker reads the questions in a test booklet and answers them by filling in bubbles on a machine-readable answer sheet. The sheets are taken to a scoring location, and the results are returned to the school and to recruiters. There are four separate forms of the paper-and-pencil version of the test. The chart on page 16 shows the subtests that make up the paper-and-pencil ASVAB.
In recent years, the Department of Defense has implemented a computer format of the test. Individuals who take this form of the ASVAB sit in a room with computers and answer the questions using the keyboard. One of the special characteristics of the computer format is that the test is adapted to the ability level of each individual. The feature is called computer adaptive testing (CAT), so this version of the ASVAB is called CAT-ASVAB.
The CAT-ASVAB uses fewer items than the paper-and-pencil version and takes less time. Because the items are tailored to your ability level, you will not receive many easy items or many items that are way too difficult for you. Items are selected based on whether or not you got the previous answers correct. The items that are given to you are drawn from a very large pool of items, and no two people get the exact same test.
It doesn't matter which format of the ASVAB you take because you will end up with the same military enlistment score.
Who Takes the ASVAB?
About 1.3 million people take the ASVAB each year, making it the most popular aptitude test in this country. The ASVAB can be taken by students in grades 10, 11, and 12 and those in postsecondary schools. It is used in about 14,000 schools across the country. Many students take the ASVAB in order to help them identify their strengths and weakness and to help them seek out and explore careers and jobs.
Scores of students in grade 11 and beyond can be used for enlistment purposes. Also, if you have never taken the ASVAB in school, you can contact a recruiter or visit a local recruiting station to request the test.
Scores are acceptable for use in the military enlistment process if the scores are no more than two years old. If you took the ASVAB more than two years ago, you must take the test again for purposes of enlisting in the military.
Hundreds of thousands of people take the ASVAB at government locations for the purpose of enlisting in the military. If you take the ASVAB at a government location, you must be 17 years of age or older for your scores to count for enlistment purposes.
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