The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a prestigious branch of the U.S. military, known for its elite warriors who are dedicated to protecting and serving their country.
To join the ranks of the Marine Corps, recruits must undergo a series of tests and assessments to ensure they possess the physical, mental, and moral attributes required to be a Marine.
This article will provide an overview of the recruitment process, discuss the tests Marine recruits must take, explain the Marine Corps ASVAB test, and offer tips for passing these assessments.
What Is The Marine Corps ASVAB Test?
The Marine Corps ASVAB test is administered to all potential recruits and is composed of ten subtests that measure an individual's aptitude in various areas, such as general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, and mechanical comprehension.
The ASVAB is not specific to the Marine Corps and is used by all branches of the U.S. military to determine an applicant's qualifications and potential MOS.
Alongside the ASVAB marines will be expected to take a number of other challenging tests to join the military.
The Marine Corps Recruitment Process
- Contacting a Recruiter: Prospective Marines begin by contacting a local Marine Corps recruiter who can answer questions, provide information, and guide applicants through the initial steps of the enlistment process.
- Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements to join the Marine Corps, such as being a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, being between the ages of 17 and 28, having a high school diploma or GED, and meeting certain moral, physical, and medical standards.
- Taking the ASVAB: The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multiple-choice test that measures aptitude in various areas, including general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, and mechanical comprehension. The ASVAB helps determine which Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) an applicant is best suited for.
- MEPS Processing: After taking the ASVAB, applicants must undergo a thorough medical examination at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). This examination ensures that recruits are physically and mentally capable of handling the rigors of Marine Corps training.
- Enlistment and Shipping Out: Once a recruit passes the medical examination and chooses an MOS, they will officially enlist in the Marine Corps and receive a ship date to attend boot camp.
Tests Marines Must Take To Join:
- Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB): As mentioned earlier, the ASVAB is a test that measures a recruit's aptitude in various areas, determining their eligibility for specific MOSs.
- Initial Strength Test (IST): This physical fitness test is administered during the first week of boot camp to assess a recruit's baseline physical fitness level. The IST consists of pull-ups or push-ups, crunches or planks, and a timed 1.5-mile run.
- Physical Fitness Test (PFT): The PFT is a more rigorous physical fitness test administered during boot camp to ensure recruits are physically prepared for the demands of the Marine Corps. The PFT includes pull-ups or push-ups, crunches or planks, and a timed 3-mile run.
- Combat Fitness Test (CFT): This test evaluates a recruit's functional fitness and ability to perform tasks required on the battlefield. The CFT consists of three events: the Movement to Contact, the Ammunition Lift, and the Maneuver Under Fire.
- Swim Qualification: All Marines must pass a basic swim qualification to ensure they are comfortable and competent in the water. The test consists of several events, including a 25-meter swim, treading water, and a deep-water jump.
What To Expect In The Marine Corps ASVAB Test
The ASVAB is a timed test that can be taken either on a computer (CAT-ASVAB) or using paper and pencil (P&P-ASVAB). The CAT-ASVAB is adaptive, meaning the difficulty of questions adjusts based on the test-taker's performance, while the P&P-ASVAB has a fixed number of questions. In either format, the test takes approximately three hours to complete.
The ASVAB consists of ten subtests:
- General Science (GS)
- Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
- Word Knowledge (WK)
- Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
- Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
- Electronics Information (EI)
- Automotive and Shop Information (AS)
- Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
- Assembling Objects (AO)
- Verbal Expression (VE)
Recruits should expect to answer questions in various formats, including multiple-choice, true/false, and matching. The ASVAB scores are converted into a series of composite scores, which are used to determine eligibility for enlistment and specific MOSs.
Practicing ASVAB style tests can help greatly improve your score.
General Science (GS)
The GS subtest measures your knowledge of the physical and biological sciences. It covers topics such as chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy, and biology. To prepare for the GS subtest, review basic scientific concepts and principles, and familiarize yourself with scientific terminology and formulas.
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
The AR subtest assesses your ability to solve arithmetic word problems. Questions typically involve basic mathematical operations, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as percentages, ratios, and simple algebraic equations. To prepare for the AR subtest, practice solving a variety of word problems and brush up on basic arithmetic skills.
Word Knowledge (WK)
The WK subtest measures your vocabulary and ability to understand the meaning of words in context. The WK subtest consists of multiple-choice questions that require you to identify synonyms, antonyms, and the correct meaning of words based on context clues. To prepare for the WK subtest, build your vocabulary by reading widely, using flashcards, and learning word roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
The PC subtest evaluates your ability to understand written information by answering questions based on short passages. This subtest measures reading comprehension, critical thinking, and the ability to draw conclusions from written material. To prepare for the PC subtest, practice reading various types of texts and answering comprehension questions, and focus on improving your reading speed and accuracy.
Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
The MK subtest assesses your knowledge of high school mathematics, including algebra, geometry, and basic trigonometry. Questions cover topics such as solving algebraic equations, working with geometric shapes, and calculating angles. To prepare for the MK subtest, review high school math concepts, practice solving problems, and become familiar with relevant formulas and theorems.
Electronics Information (EI)
The EI subtest measures your understanding of basic electronic principles and concepts, such as electrical circuits, magnetism, and electronic devices. Questions cover topics like Ohm's Law, series and parallel circuits, and basic electronic components. To prepare for the EI subtest, study electronics textbooks or online resources and familiarize yourself with common electronic symbols and terminology.
Automotive and Shop Information (AS)
The AS subtest evaluates your knowledge of automotive maintenance and repair, as well as basic woodworking and metalworking practices. Questions cover topics like vehicle systems, tools, and safety procedures, as well as the proper use of hand tools and power tools. To prepare for the AS subtest, review automotive manuals, study basic shop safety, and familiarize yourself with common tools and their uses.
Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
This subtest measures your understanding of mechanical principles and the application of physics to solve mechanical problems. Questions cover topics such as simple machines, force, motion, and energy. To prepare for the MC subtest, review basic mechanical and physical principles, study diagrams of simple machines, and practice solving problems that involve mechanical concepts.
Assembling Objects (AO)
The AO subtest assesses your ability to visualize and manipulate objects in space. Questions typically require you to determine how different shapes fit together or how objects will appear when rotated or reflected. To prepare for the AO subtest, practice working with geometric shapes, puzzles, and 3D models, and develop your spatial reasoning skills.
Verbal Expression (VE)
The VE subtest is a composite score derived from your performance on the Word Knowledge (WK) and Paragraph Comprehension (PC) subtests. It measures your overall verbal ability, including vocabulary, reading comprehension, and critical thinking. To prepare for the VE subtest, focus on improving your performance on the WK and PC subtests by building your vocabulary and practicing
Top Tips To Pass Marine Corps Tests
Prepare for the ASVAB
Study using test preparation materials, such as study guides, practice tests, and online resources. Focus on areas where you may need improvement, and consider joining a study group or finding a tutor if needed.
Improve Physical Fitness
Start a regular exercise routine that incorporates cardiovascular training, strength training, and flexibility exercises to prepare for the physical demands of the IST, PFT, and CFT. Consider working with a personal trainer or joining a group fitness class to help stay motivated and accountable.
To pass the swim qualification, recruits should be comfortable in the water and have basic swimming skills. If you are not a strong swimmer, consider taking swim lessons or practicing at a local pool before attending boot camp.
Get Mentally Prepared
The Marine Corps tests and assessments can be challenging, so it is important to develop mental resilience and a positive mindset. Practice stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, visualization, or meditation, to help stay focused and calm under pressure.
Seek Advice from Current or Former Marines
Reach out to friends, family members, or acquaintances who have served in the Marine Corps for guidance, advice, and insight into the recruitment process and assessments. Their firsthand experiences can be invaluable in helping you prepare for the challenges ahead.