The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) examines the intellectual and vocational capacities of young men and women ages 18 to 23. Subject areas include science, mathematics, vocabulary, reading comprehension, mechanical understanding, electronics and auto shop skills. The military uses AVSAB to determine which roles and positions recruits are able to fill. According to the United States military, there is no failing the ASVAB as it's a review of skill sets, however most positions in all branches of the service have minimum score requirements in one or more ASVAB areas. Not doing well in one or more testing subjects doesn't preclude military service.
Many military jobs require high-level scores in only one or two areas of the ASVAB. That means if a candidate has even one decent score among the eight areas tested, there may be a military job available. The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) is the ultimate determiner of whether someone can enter the military. ASVAB helps military recruiters determine how a person can serve. If a person's ASVAB score doesn't support them being in their preferred job, she can continue looking through the job catalogs for other options.
Some military positions require no particular ASVAB score. If a person is talented in music, for example, Army buglers and tuba players need to be proficient in their instrument, not ASVAB subjects. Those who want information on positions not requiring minimum ASVAB scores can contact a military recruiter, or review information from the military's recruiting website.
Some branches of the military have volunteer positions which do not require taking the ASVAB or the AFQT. The Coast Guard, for instance, trains civilian volunteers to perform assisting duties in case of emergency in their areas. People who enjoy serving their country, but aren't necessarily able to do so professionally still have opportunities to participate.
While the ASVAB is required to work in the military, the Department of Defense does not use the exam for civilian positions. People who struggle with the ASVAB may be able to find a job supporting or working with troops in other capacities as a DOD employee or contractor. Additionally, the results of the ASVAB can help test takers learn about their abilities and skills. ASVAB does not commit people to military service, or even applying for it. Many ASVAB takers review their test results and get ideas about unrelated careers and education options.
Eric Feigenbaum started his career in print journalism, becoming editor-in-chief of "The Daily" of the University of Washington during college and afterward working at two major newspapers. He later did many print and Web projects including re-brandings for major companies and catalog production.