Military Entrance Tests

Military Entrance Tests

If joining the military is a career goal you’ve set for yourself, you will be faced with qualifying prerequisites to determine your eligibility. While being physically and medically fit is extremely important, it’s only half the battle. The other half is showing your skill level and how mentally capable you are for service in the U.S. Armed Forces by taking a military entrance test (MET). The military has used aptitude tests since World War I to screen people for military service. So, there’s history in military testing.

Since the military test taking process doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, today’s military blog post from Empire Resume will cover:

  • What is a military entry test?
  • Types of U.S. military entrance exams
  • The most known military entrance test
  • Air Force education requirements and entrance tests
  • Army education requirements and entrance tests
  • Navy education requirements and entrance tests
  • Marine Corps education requirements and entrance tests; and
  • Coast Guard education requirements and entrance tests

What is a Military Entry Test?

The military entrance exams are assessments used by each branch of the military for recruiting purposes. These tests are basically timed aptitude test that help to gauge a potential service member’s job ability.

Worried about passing or failing? There’s good news. Test results are not based on a pass or fail basis, rather by scores or point levels.

Each test is given at specific Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) or Military Entrance Test (MET) site locations throughout the country.

Types of U.S. Military Entrance Exams

The types of tests you may take depending on whether you are enlisting or looking to become a military officer include the following:

The Most Known Military Entrance Test

Military Entrance Tests

The ASVAB is the most widely known exam and the standard test required for enlisting into all 5 branches of the armed services. It focuses on 4 core areas – verbal, math, science and technical (and spatial). The test consists of 9 subject areas:

  1. General Science (GS)
  2. Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  3. Word Knowledge (WK)
  4. Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  5. Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
  6. Electronics Information (EI)
  7. Auto Information (AI) *
  8. Shop Information (SI) *
  9. Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
  10. Assembling Objects (AO)

*It is important to note the Auto Information (AI) and Shop Information (SI) are administered separately in the CAT-ASVAB, but combined as one test in the P&P-ASVAB.* Check out the ASVAB Fact Sheet for more details.

The ASVAB also has a component known as the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). The AFQT score is the most important of all which tests paragraph comprehension, word knowledge, mathematics knowledge, and arithmetic reasoning.

The ASVAB is also administered to officer candidates for the Army, Marines, and Coast Guard.

According to the Official ASVAB site, about half the population scores at or above the standard score of 50 and about 16% of the population scores at or above a standard score of 60.

The test is computerized (the CAT-ASVAB) at all MEPS and taken by hand using pencil and paper (P&P-ASVAB) at most MET locations. What’s interesting is the CAT-ASVAB can be taken at your own pace. Meaning, you can move from section to section without waiting for anyone else.

Keep in mind, each service branch has its own standards and education requirements when it comes to testing. For easy reference, we’ve done the research for you, so you know exactly what’s needed to enter each military branch.

Air Force Education Requirements and Entrance Tests

Military Entrance Tests

To enlist in the Air Force, you must first hold a high school diploma or GED. As far as ASVAB requirements for the Air Force, you need to achieve a minimum score of 36, if you have a diploma. With a diploma, you need at least a score of 50.

Interested in being an officer in the Air Force?

If so, Air Force officer candidates need a four-year degree from an accredited college/university. Also, you’re not required to take the ASVAB.

The test you will take is called the Air Force Officer Qualification Test or AFOQT, which is like the ACT and SAT.

This test is used for Air Force ROTC selection and Officer Training School (OTS). It takes about 5 hours to complete and consists of 550 questions that tests verbal analogies, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, math knowledge, reading comprehension, situational judgment, self-description inventory, physical science, table reading, instrument comprehension, block counting, and aviation information.

For more information on the AFOQT, visit the U.S. Air Force ROTC page.

Army Education Requirements and Entrance Tests

To qualify for enlistment in the Army, you must first hold a high school diploma or GED. The Army allows more people to enlist with a GED more so than any other branch of the military.

As far as understanding the ASVAB for the Army, you need to achieve a minimum score of 31. For enlistment incentives, 50 is the minimum. Your score is valid for 2 years after taking the exam. And, just like the Air Force, the test may be computerized or in paper form.

The ASVAB is used to determine which of the Army’s 150 Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) you may qualify for in the Army. For example, an Infantryman or 11B should do well in Arithmetic Reasoning, Auto & Shop Information, while a Military Police or 31B needs to excel at General Science, Math, and Mechanical Comprehension.

As of this year, the Army began a three-year pilot study under the DoD to administer a new military entrance exam known as the Tailored Adaptive Personality Assessment System (TAPAS).

This new test is an effort to increase the quality of recruits for the Army and to “provide a more holistic evaluation of the potential Soldier.”

Interested in being an officer in the Army?

Military Entrance Tests

A four-year degree is necessary. The ASVAB is also administered to officer candidates for the Army prior to enrolling in highly competitive, Officer Candidate School (OCS).

Prospective officers in the Army need a General Technical (GT) of 110 or higher on the ASVAB. This is a composite score combined of 3 subject areas – Word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and arithmetic reasoning.

Find out more about what ASVAB scores mean at Military.com. 

Navy Education Requirements and Entrance Tests

If you’re asking yourself, “How do I join the Navy?” We have you covered here too.

To become a Sailor in today’s Navy, you must first hold a high school diploma or GED. As far as ASVAB requirements for the Navy, you need to achieve a minimum score of 35.

Much like the Army, depending on the field you’re seeking to enter, you’d need to reach specific composite scores.

Interested in being a Naval officer?

If so, the Navy has 2 officer tests for candidates – the Officer Aptitude Rating (OAR) and Aviation Selection Test Battery (ASTB).

According to the official Navy site, the OAR is required for most job specialties for officers and includes sections on math, English, and mechanical comprehension. Pilot and Naval Flight Officer Candidates take three additional sections on aerodynamics, aviation history, and spatial recognize – the OAR plus these three sections make up the ASTB.

The ASTB-E is a computerized, multiple choice test also used by the Marines and Coast Guard to select candidates for pilot and flight officer training. And, part of the test is used for the Coast Guard’s non-aviation officer commissioning program.

The ASTB-E subtests consist of – math skills, reading comprehension, mechanical comprehension (these 3 are the OAR) – aviation and nautical information, naval aviation trait facet inventory, performance-based measures battery, and biographical inventory with response validation.

Marine Corps Education Requirements and Entrance Tests

Military Entrance Tests

You cannot enlist in the Marine Corps without a high school education. A high school diploma is needed and the Marines limits its GED acceptances to no more than 5% a year.

When it comes to taking the ASVAB for the Marines, you need to achieve a minimum score of 32. With a GED, 50 is the minimum.

Much like the Army, depending on the field you’re seeking to enter, you’d need to reach specific composite scores.

Interested in being a Marine officer?

A four-year college degree is necessary. And, the ASVAB is also administered to officer candidates for Marines. If you’re looking to be a pilot or flight officer, you will take the ASTBE-E. The ASTB-E is a computerized, multiple choice test that measures the skill level of candidates for pilot and flight officer training.

Coast Guard Education Requirements and Entrance Tests

For enlistment into the Coast Guard, you need a high school diploma or GED. A minimum of 40 is required on the ASVAB for those with a diploma.

With a GED, a score of 50 is the minimum. But keep in mind, the Coast Guard will only enlist a few people with a GED.

Interested in being an officer in the Coast Guard?

 A four-year college degree is a must. And, finally, the ASVAB is also administered to officer candidates for the Coast Guard.

If you’re looking to be a pilot or flight officer, you will take the ASTBE-E. The ASTB-E is a computerized, multiple choice test that assists with selection of candidates for pilot and flight officer training. And, part of the test is used for the Coast Guard’s non-aviation officer commissioning program.

Did you enjoy this article? If so, make Empire Resume’s military blog your favorite by bookmarking us today so you never miss out on the latest job search resources for military members, veterans, and civilians too.  

For career related questions, please contact us at 801-690-4085 or by emailing info@empireresume.com.

Dr. Phillip Gold is President/CEO of Empire Resume and has vast experience writing resumes for service-members transitioning from the military into civilian roles. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force responsible for leading nuclear missile security. Phillip is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and holds a BA in Communications from The Ohio State University, an MS in Instructional Technology, an MBA in Finance, and a PhD in Finance.

Military Entrance Tests

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