ASVAB: An Overview of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Exam

If you're thinking about embarking on a career in the military, your scores on the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) test can help determine where in the military you are best suited. If you're worried about what taking the ASVAB could mean for your future career, the following information can clear the air and help you relax:
  • The ASVAB is free to take and easy to find. The Department of Defense provides all the test materials for you; it also pays for the administration and scoring of the test. Most people who take the ASVAB do so through their high schools. Ask your guidance counselor about the test, or, if you're doing it on your own, ask your local recruiter.

  • You are not obligated to enter the military if you take the ASVAB. You will be required, however, to sign an authorization that permits your scores to be released to Armed Services recruiters, who will undoubtedly give you a call.

  • ASVAB scores are good for enlistment purposes for two years. Your scores are released only to military recruiters and to your guidance counselor. After two years, the Department of Defense retains your personal information and scores for information purposes only.

  • There is no relationship between the ASVAB and the Selective Service. Your ASVAB scores are not available to the Selective Service, so, if a draft were to be reinstated, you are not be more likely to be drafted if you take the ASVAB.

  • If you want to become a commissioned officer, you need a college degree. You need a degree if you are applying for Officer Training Schools or Officer Candidate Schools. The ASVAB is not required for enrollment in these schools, but the results of your test can help you in your career planning.

One of the major purposes of the ASVAB is to help you and the military find a career choice that will be suitable for your level of knowledge and skill. But first, you should determine which branch of the service is right for you. Take the time to visit your local recruiters from each of the four branches of the military — Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines — as well as the U.S. Coast Guard. Even though they may be similar in many ways, each branch of the service will offer you different opportunities, both educationally and toward your future career path.