By Anna Kim
On Monday, December 5, 2022, the Navy announced that they will now accept new recruits who receive a low Navy ASVAB test score and fall into the lowest percentile to enlist. This change comes with the Navy’s increased recruitment goal.

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The Navy ASVAB Test Score as a Standard for Enlistment

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test (ASVAB) is a standardized test that recruits must take if they wish to join the Navy. There are two scores that are received: the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score and the composite score. The AFQT test score is what determines whether you actually meet the minimum requirements needed to enlist. The scores range from 1-99, with 35 being a qualifying score for those with a high school diploma and 50 for those with a GED. The score is determined from the following areas:
  • Word knowledge.
  • Paragraph comprehension.
  • Arithmetic reasoning.
  • Mathematics knowledge.
The composite score determines the type of job opportunities and qualifications one will be able to get based on the following areas:
  • Word knowledge.
  • General science.
  • Electronics information.
  • Verbal expression.
  • Assembling objects.
  • Arithmetic reasoning.
  • Paragraph comprehension.
  • Mechanical comprehension.
  • Mathematics knowledge.
  • Auto and shop information.
Other requirements to enlist include being:
  • A U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident.
  • Between the ages of 17 and 39 years old.
  • A high school graduate or having a GED.
  • Able to meet the medical, physical, and moral requirements of the Navy.

New Navy Applicants

The Navy had difficulties in 2022 with recruiting new Sailors (only recruiting 42 more people than their goal), but this year wasn’t their first hurdle. In 2021, recruitment was already struggling. Their goal was to recruit at least 43,666 people for active service. Though they met that number, they did not meet their goals for the Navy Reserve component. Now, they’ve made even more work for themselves by boosting their goal for 2023 by 3,400 recruits. Applicants within the 10th and 30th percentile of the Navy entrance exam now have a chance of being recruited, as the Navy can officially contract up to 7,500 applicants who meet the lowered requirements for new Navy test scores. The Navy will be able to take 20% of those who do score in this percentile range; however, it’s important to note that 20% is not the goal but rather the maximum. Commander David Benham, spokesperson for Navy Recruiting Command, said, “As we continue to navigate a challenging recruiting environment, changing the AFQT requirement removes a potential barrier to enlistment, allowing us to widen the pool of potential recruits and creating opportunities for personnel who wish to serve.”

Barely Reaching U.S. Navy Recruiting Goals 2022 Isn’t Stopping Our Sailors

Regardless of AFQT requirements being lowered for some, recruits must still meet the requirements in the composite score to receive a Navy rating. If a recruit scores in the 30th percentile but doesn’t meet a Navy rating, they will not qualify. The new policy does not make any changes to the composite score requirements. By lowering the eligibility for the Navy ASVAB test score, the Navy will strive to meet its goals and recruit more people despite past hurdles. If you or someone you know did not pass the first time, you’re in for a treat, as you can take the ASVAB test multiple times!

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Image: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chris Fahey




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