Whether you have taken the AFOQT already or you are planning to do so in the future, your score is likely your primary focus regarding the exam. Since this exam is not required for the general public it is only for a select group of people who have the same goal in mind: to become a military officer or to enter the Air Force.
Therefore, for these individuals who decide to take the test, your results are extremely important since they provide you with additional training to achieve this end goal. We will explain to you below how to interpret your AFOQT score and how to calculate it as well.
What are AFOQT Scores Used For?
There are a few misconceptions regarding what your AFOQT score is used for. Simply put, your AFOQT score is a required step to becoming a military officer. If this is a goal of yours, then this test is used to test and or determine your readiness for this position. Below we are going to discuss a couple of these claims regarding the role of your AFOQT score and provide you with accurate information about how you should use your scores.
It makes you an officer
This is untrue. If you plan to become an officer, then yes, you need to not only take, but pass, the AFOQT test within two attempts. However, receiving an appropriate score (which will be discussed later) does not automatically qualify you to be an officer. Rather, it qualifies you to enter into the training that will equip you to become a military officer. This is the first step of many to becoming a military officer since it is such a prestigious position.
It exempts you from training
This is another typical response that is inaccurate. Similar to the first claim, this misconception assumes that the AFOQT is a test that grants you the ability to be a military officer when that is simply not the case. Typically, if you take the AFOQT you are already involved in an ROTC Air Force group. This is because taking the AFOQT is required for these individuals upon their second year of ROTC Air Force training. Therefore, some training has already taken place to be both successful on the AFOQT and as an officer in the future.
So what does it mean?
In general, the AFOQT scores should be seen as a step in the right direction to becoming an officer in the military’s Air Force. Although it is a requirement, it is not the final step in your journey to becoming an officer since there is much more training, even if you were part of a ROTC group.
What are the Minimum AFOQT Scores Required?
To be eligible for additional officer training for the Air Force, an individual must score in specific ranges on some of the 12 subtests. In other words, your continuation of study to become an Air Force officer (be it in Officer Training School (OTS) or Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (Air Force ROTC)), is not dependent on your composite score but rather on your select subtest scores. Below we will further break down these score requirements.
Determine your goal
The first step in interpreting your score is to narrow what you hope to study. Why are you taking this test? Are you taking it to become a pilot? Or to fulfil your dream of becoming a navigator? Possibly just to continue studying within your Air Force ROTC group? Your reasoning is quite dependent on how you will interpret your score since for some careers within the Air Force you need higher ranges in some subtests than in others to continue your course of study.
The four sections
Out of the 12 subtests included on the AFOQT, there are four sections that are calculated to determine your readiness to continue study. The first is Verbal which is determined by your performance on the verbal analogies and word knowledge subtests. The second section is Quantitative which is calculated by your scores on the arithmetic reasoning and math knowledge subtests. Another section is Pilot which comprises the Arithmetic Reasoning, Math Knowledge, Instrument Comprehension, Table Reading, Aviation Information subtests. Finally, the Navigator Technical score is counted based on the Verbal Analogies, Arithmetic Reasoning, Math Knowledge, Block Counting, Table Reading, General Science sections.
So what do you need to score?
As stated earlier, it depends on your career goal. Below we will break down how well you need to do on the four identified sections above: Verbal, Quantitative, Pilot, and Arithmetic Reasoning.
1. Pilot: to qualify for this career in terms of the AFOQT, you must score at least a 15 on verbal, 10 on quantitative, 25 on pilot, and 10 on navigator. Additionally, you must have a combined score of 50 or more for pilot and navigator when added together.
2. Navigator: to further your training to become a navigator, you must score at least a 15 on verbal, 10 on quantitative, 10 on pilot, and 25 on navigator. Additionally, you must have a combined score of 50 or more for pilot and navigator when added together.
3. Any other military Air Force career is not as prestigious in terms of your AFOQT score, however, there are some requirements on these sections although they are more attainable. This is because all you must do is score at least a 10 on the quantitative section and at least a 15 on the verbal section.
What if I don’t meet these requirements?
Thankfully, you have another chance to take the test. However, before signing up, you should review which sections you struggled on of the four and identify which areas you need to focus on to improve your chances. You can then trace that back to see which subtests of the 12 offered are your weaknesses since performing poorly on just one can sink your section score. For example, perhaps you aspire to be a navigator and have scored well enough to continue your training in all sections but verbal. You can then look back and see whether you should concentrate on improving your score on either the word knowledge or or verbal analogies for your future test attempt.
How are AFOQT Scores Calculated?
You are probably wondering: how is the AFOQT scored? Well, AFOQT scores are calculated in a way that is untraditional when compared to other standardized tests. Instead of getting an overall score, you will receive separate scores for the test that highlight your strengths and weaknesses in each area. This scoring process is important since your section scores, that receive a composite score, will compare you to your peers who also took the AFOQT.
Each section is a combination of a handful of the 12 subtests offered on the AFOQT. We will discuss what this means later on but simply put, your AFOQT composite scores are different from a cumulative score since it compares you to other test takers. Other tests score based on your performance alone. The AFOQT, however, scores you using data from other tests too to get a score based on a percentile. A percentile is the percentage of how many people scored lower than you did. We will dive into this topic later on as well.
So I just have to out-score my peers?
Well, kind of. At the end of the day, you want to answer as many questions correctly as you can, like any other test. However, since this test is based on your score compared to others, in theory, yes, you will succeed when you outperform your peers who are also taking the AFOQT. We don’t recommend focusing on this alone when preparing for the test but it may motivate you or help you interpret your score better.
What is the purpose of this?
One of the reasons the test is structured and scored in this unique way is to, again, highlight who is the best fit for each desired job or the training for that job. Therefore, taking the test seriously is our best advice for you to find success.
What are Composite Scores for the AFOQT?
The scoring, as explained above, is far from simple on the AFOQT. Perhaps the most confusing concept is the composite scores. To reiterate, there are 12 subtests on the AFOQT: verbal analogies, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, math knowledge, instrument comprehension, block counting, table reading, aviation information, general science, rotated blocks, hidden figures, and self description inventory. These are broken up into 5 sections that are referred to as composite scores. The five sections are: pilot, navigation-technical, academic amplitude, verbal, and quantitative. Below we will break down which subtests are included in each of these five sections.
1. Pilot: Arithmetic Reasoning, Math Knowledge, Instrument Comprehension, Table Reading, Aviation Information subtests.
2. Verbal: Verbal Analogies and Word Knowledge subtests.
3. Navigator-technical: Verbal Analogies, Arithmetic Reasoning, Math Knowledge, Block Counting, Table Reading, General Science subtests.
4. Quantitative: Arithmetic Reasoning and Math Knowledge subtests.
5. Academic Aptitude: Verbal Analogies, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Math Knowledge subtests.
Why are There Composite Scores?
Wouldn’t it just be so much easier if the AFOQT was scored like every other standardized test? Isn’t a 1200 and a 900 on the SAT or a 24 and a 30 on the ACT easier to compare than 12 subtest and 5 composite scores? Absolutely, yes. However, scoring the AFOQT this way would be harder for officers to interpret results for an individual’s readiness to continue their training. The separate nature of this exam makes it applicable to separate careers listed above (pilots, navigators, etc.). Looking at the results in this separate way also helps trainers choose trainees who are best for that career. For example, if you score well on the pilot section, then it’s natural for you to continue down that path. This is a strength, however, that may not be highlighted if one were to look at your results as a whole.
How is the Composite Score Calculated?
To reiterate, your composite score is based on percentiles. A percentile is the percentage of how many people scored worse than you did. For example, if you scored within the 60th percentile, that means that out of everyone who took the AFOQT, you performed better than 60% of them. This is a good way to see how you measure up to your peers on other exams to see how you compare to the competition in terms of who will get the job you are all aiming for.
For this test in particular, your composite scores are completely dependent on how your peers score. Rather than the ACT and SAT where the 50th percentile changes year-to-year depending on the performance of students, on the AFOQT, the 50th percentile, or the average AFOQT scores, stays the same regardless of how well the individuals score. In other words, to score well on these composite sections, you must out-score your peers for that year.
Note that three of the subtest scores are not included within these composite scores. The subtests are Rotated Blocks, Hidden Figures, and the Self-Description Inventory and they are simply for research and do not harm or improve your score. Definitely try your best on these sections but take it into account while studying since they do not require as much preparation since they do not influence these composite scores which is a unique feature of this standardized test.
Wrapping Things Up: How Important is the AFOQT Score? 100
So how important is the AFOQT score? So we are going to be honest here. If you are taking the AFOQT, then your score is very important. This isn’t an exam like the SAT or ACT where everyone has to take it and if you score poorly, your additional training for your career (college) can still be achieved by other factors (GPA, letters of recommendation, extra-curriculars etc.) Therefore, since your future education for military Air Force matters is contingent only upon your performance on this AFOQT exam, you must be prepared to take it and understand your score’s importance to avoid using your attempts prematurely and missing out on opportunities to propel your career.