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What is the ASVAB and Why Does it Matter?

Updated on July 25, 2013

So you're considering joining the Armed Services, but they mention that you will have to take a written test known as the ASVAB? Don't panic, even if you aren't an exceptional test taker you can pass the ASVAB without a problem as long as you approach it the right way.

The ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, and what that really means is a long test that checks you on things like math, reading, problem solving, and mechanical aptitude.

Why the ASVAB Matters?

The ASVAB matters for two different reasons. The first is that you need a specific score on this test in order to get into the Armed Forces. The math and reasoning portions of the test count towards the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) and that means that poor scores in these areas could actually keep you out of the Armed Forces.

The test also matters because they throw in other questions to find out which positions you are best suited for in whatever branch of the Armed Services you want to attend. In other words, score highly on the other sections of this test and you gain access to more enlistment bonuses, and get more freedom to choose the positions you are most interested in.

Getting the Job You Want

It doesn't matter if you are going into the Air Force, the Army, the Navy, or even the Coast Guard, your ASVAB score determines which jobs you are eligible for. There is a long list of available jobs and with those jobs you can also see the minimum score that is required.

A great way to encourage yourself before taking the ASVAB is to look at the job you are most interested in and try to get a higher score than what is required. You can also ease your anxiety over receiving a low score by picking out three different jobs that you like in different score ranges.

For example, if you want to join the Air Force you could select Airborne Cryptologic Linguist as your first option, Signal Intelligence Analysis as your second, and Combat Control as your third. The first requires a score of 72 on the ASVAB the second requires a score of 62 and the third only requires a score of 44.

By setting a range of jobs that you would enjoy you let yourself know that you still have desirable options even if you score lower than you would like.

How Do You Prepare?

Now that you know how important the ASVAB is to a career in the Military you're probably wondering what you can do get ready for the test. After all, a test this important to your future shouldn't be taken on a whim without the right preparation.

There are plenty of different preparation courses available for the test that will get you used to the questions you will be asked, and show you what areas you need to improve on.

Most of these courses even give you the option of taking full-length tests that were given out in the past. After taking a couple full-length ASVAB exams your concerns about the test will melt away, as you improve your problem areas.

By knowing what to expect when you sit down in that chair to take the test, you won't have as much anxiety and will naturally score higher on the test. By taking the time to prepare you can improve on areas that would have been a problem for you.

Going through these steps will ensure that you get a better score, and that leads to getting paid more, being promoted faster initially, and even getting the ideal military job when first joining. So take the ASVAB seriously, and invest a little time in preparation and studying.

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