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What Happens If You Fail the ASVAB?

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The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, test is an entrance exam that anyone wishing to join the military must take. In order to enlist, the applicant must meet the minimum score on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, or AFQT, portion of the ASVAB for a particular branch of the military. As of 2011, a minimum score of 31 was required to enter the service, but the requirements regularly change. Anyone who fails to achieve a minimum score may take the tests again.

Waiting Period

Anyone who did not score high enough on the ASVAB the first time must wait at least one calendar month, or 30 days, before retaking the test. Should you fail it a second time, another 30-day wait is required. After failing to meet the minimum requirements for a third time, the waiting period for a retake is six months. Failure to abide by these guidelines will invalidate an applicant’s score.


Studying is the key to improving any test score. Some websites offer tips on how to study for the ASVAB. For example, Flashcard Secrets offers flashcards that contain general topics covered on the ASVAB test. Since the final test score will be the one used for enlistment purposes, it is a good idea not to try for just the minimum score, but to actually perform as well as possible on the test. The kind of jobs you can get once enlisted depends on the ASVAB scores.

Retake Entire ASVAB

You must retake the entire test, or more appropriately, the entire battery of tests, not just the area in which you received an insufficient score. That is why it is important to study all areas that will be covered on the test, though more time should be devoted to the areas in which you scored poorly. In addition, anyone caught cheating or being disruptive during the ASVAB will have his score invalidated and be unable to take the test again for at least six months

Improvement Standards

Anyone who retakes the ASVAB within a six-month window and improves his score by 20 or more points will need to take a confirmation test. This is not necessarily the result of an integrity issue, but a way to make sure the way the applicant scored reflects what he really knows. Most applicants do not need to worry about this, however, as that level of improvement on the ASVAB is not common.


Jordan Bruns has been writing since 1998. His most recent position was as a columnist for the movie section of Prior to that, he was a volunteer movie critic for the "Palladium Item" in Richmond, Indiana. Bruns has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Indiana University.