The Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB test, is required of all people trying to enlist in the United States military service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps) or the United States Coast Guard. This multiple-choice test is divided into eight subtests to assess individual subject area strengths and weaknesses. Passing (being admitted to the branch of service) is determined by a combination of ASVAB score and if the future enlistee has graduated from high school or has a GED (General Educational Development series of tests). Enlistees must also pass the ASVAB with a certain scores for each subtest to be eligible to obtain certain jobs within the service.
The United States Air Force accepts high school graduates. The minimum ASVAB score is 36. In actual practice, though, more than 70% of those accepted for enlistment score a 50 or higher.
The United States Army accepts both high school graduates and GED holders. The minimum ASVAB score is 31. Certain enlistment bonuses require a score of 50 or higher.
The United States Coast Guard accepts high school graduates. The minimum score to enter the Coast Guard is 50. If the enlistee possesses certain desired skills, or scores very high on a subsection test where enlistees are needed by the Coast Guard, a waiver may be granted to accept a score as low as 36.
The United States Navy accepts both high school graduates and GED holders. As a general rule, the minimum ASVAB score is 35. Reserve enlistment programs require only a 31, but GED holders are required to score at least a 50.
The United States Marine Corps accepts high school graduates; there are very few exceptions granted for GED holders or other high school equivalency certificates. The minimum ASVAB score is 32.
A passing score for entrance into any of the services is comprised of the scores of four of the subtests: word knowledge, math knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and arithmetic reasoning. According to The Education Trust, 77% of enlistees between the ages of 17 and 20 years passed the ASVAB with a score of 31 or above in 2010.