Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)
ASVAB began in 1968 as a joint military effort to standardize military
entrance testing. The ASVAB is largely a pencil and paper type of
exam with several categories or subtests. The ASVAB is still given
in high school and at several MEPS nationwide.
Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (CAT-ASVAB)
CAT-ASVAB began in 1997 and is largely an automated testing system.
Several of the MEPS are currently giving the CAT-ASVAB.
What is the difference between the ASVAB and the CAT-ASVAB?
The straightforward pencil and paper test is just that?a set list
of questions that the candidate answers and then waits for military
processing personnel to correct and compute. The CAT-ASVAB not only
corrects the answers immediately, it is also adaptive to the candidate's
CAT-ASVAB: How does it
Students are seated in front of a computer station and terminal. The
test is displayed on the screen. As the students answer the test questions,
the program immediately scores and records the answers, including
the subtests. When the candidates have completed the CAT-ASVAB, the
AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test, the math and verbal sections
of the ASVAB) and composite scores for all the services are already
The CAT-ASVAB bases the next question you answer on the ability level
pattern you exhibited from the previous question's answer. In other
words, if you answer the question correctly, you are given a harder
question. If you answer the question incorrectly, you are then given
an easier question. This process is continued for each subtest until
you have completed the entire CAT-ASVAB.
Unlike the ASVAB, the CAT-ASVAB does not allow candidates to go back
and change answers.
pencil and paper test ASVAB raw score equals the total number of questions
raw scores are not equal to the total number of correct answers. The
CAT-ASVAB subtest scores are computed using formulas that take into
account the difficulty level of the question and the number of correct
answers. Because the test is adaptive, a process called "equating"
is used to compute the standard scores, AFQT, and the service composites.
Although the CAT-ASVAB
is designed so that individuals with no computer experience can take
the exam, it is highly recommended that a candidate practice using
a computer before taking the CATASVAB. A well?prepared candidate will
always do better than one who is not.
It is critical that you do well on either of these tests. The better
your score, the more military career choices you will have. These
exams are used to determine what military occupational specialties
or opportunities you qualify for. They can literally limit your future
in the military. This author strongly recommends that you study and
practice before taking them.