Even though the ASVAB is an important part of the military-recruitment process, many high school students use the test as a career-exploration tool. You can complete the test during your sophomore, junior, or senior year of high school. There is no charge to take the test, and most schools will allow students to be excused from their regular classes for the three hours required to complete the exam.
Taking the exam does not place you under any obligation to the United States Military, although scores can be used for enlistment for up to two years after the initial testing date. You may be contacted by a military recruiter after completing the test, but this is only to make sure that you understand all of the options available to you.
The United States Military Entrance Processing Command, the organization that administers the exam, reports that two-thirds of students completing the test felt the results were helpful in making plans for their post-secondary education and career objectives. When you complete the exam, you will receive a copy of Exploring Careers: The ASVAB Career Exploration Guide. This book explains how to use your scores to determine what types of jobs might be compatible with your interests and abilities. In many cases, these jobs may be opportunities you had not previously considered.
If you are considering attending a four-year college after high school, you will need to complete the ACT or SAT as part of the college-application process. While both of these tests provide a good indication of your ability to complete college coursework, they are not designed with the same criteria as the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Batter, which focuses on academic ability to some extent, but is primarily a test to determine aptitude for specific types of occupations. In the context of planning to attend a four-year college, this can be a good resource for evaluating potential courses of study. Completing the exam in addition to taking the ACT or SAT will give you one more resource to use in planning your post-secondary education.