Navy Accepting Recruits with Lower Scores on Entrance Exam in Pilot Program

December 5, 2022 6:59 PM - Updated: December 5, 2022 8:08 PM
Recruits with the 64th Annual Recruit Cardinal Division stand at attention during a pass-in-review graduation ceremony inside Midway Ceremonial Drill Hall at Recruit Training Command, Nov. 4, 2022. US Navy Photo

The Navy is lowering its admittance requirements for one of the required entrance exams as part of the service’s latest changes to widen the recruiting pool for sailors.

Potential recruits seeking to join the Navy need to take both the Armed Forces Qualification Test and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The Armed Forces Qualification Test scores people using percentiles, where each applicant’s scores are compared to see how well they perform. This is similar to that of the Graduate Record Examination, used by graduate programs, to evaluate how well someone does on a test. Instead of receiving a score, a person receives a percentile that shows how well they did compared to the others who took the test in a set period of time.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery uses 10-line rankings that measure areas such as math and language skills to determine what Navy rating or position would best suit the applicant. The new change puts more weight on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, which tells if someone is qualified for Navy service, versus the Armed Forces Qualification Test, Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesperson for Navy Recruiting Command, told USNI News in an email.

Under a pilot system, the Navy can now take 20 percent of recruits who score in Category 4 (scores between 10-30) on the Armed Forces Qualification Test, as long as they score high enough to qualify for a Navy rating on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, Benham said. The pilot begins today and will be evaluated next October.

“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,” Benham said in a statement.

Potential sailors must still be high school graduates and meet the minimum line scores necessary for a Navy rating, Benham said in the email. Line scores are not changed by the policy, and they cannot be waived.

The Navy has made a handful of changes to its recruiting policies in the past year, including increasing the age limit, in an effort to garner more recruits. While the Navy met its active-duty enlistment goal for Fiscal Year 2022, it needs to enlist approximately 3,400 to meet its FY 2023 target.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
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