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Answering the call

Before one can enlist and join the military, they must first take the Aptitude Battery test before. This test is an important part of selecting their career.

Mitchell Farley, Staff Writer

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With the recruiters and United States Military representative present, the first portion of the ASVAB exam is passed around the room to the young men and women who are seeking to serve their country.

Among those young men and women are Biddeford High School seniors Brennan Labonte and Brandon Avery. The two took the ASVAB exam on March 21st and 22nd at the Center Of Technology to find out what positions in the military they qualify for. The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is the exam given to military recruits to assess their knowledge in subjects such as math and sciences as well as cognitive and technical skills.

Prior to taking the ASVAB, initial interest in the military is sparked one way or another. In Labonte’s case, his interest came from a parent serving in the military.

“Well my father was in the Navy,” said Labonte. “I’d rather while I’m young with the opportunity to join the military, travel for free and experience lots of things that most people don’t get to experience. I want to take advantage of that.”

Being able to travel the world and serve the United States on the ocean, in the eyes of Labonte, is a rewarding and advantageous career. His passion for the ocean and travel go hand in hand with the Navy.

“I chose the Navy specifically because I love the ocean,” said Labonte. “I would love waking up every day in a different spot. It would definitely keep me busy.”

For Avery, interest in the military is based on serving and defending America. The benefit of what is essentially a free education after the military is another large part of enlisting.

“The Marines have a really good ROTC program,” said Avery. “It’s going to help pay for college. Plus you get to defend your country which not many people can say that.”

After the initial interest and connection with military recruiters, the ASVAB is next. Studying for the exam and its subjects is something that Labonte found imperative in order to score well. The preparation is similar in style to an SAT preparation textbook. This preparation began well before the test date.

“I probably studied a month or two,” said Labonte. “I mostly focused on the math portion of the ASVAB because for me that’s the hardest part.”

Once the test date arrived, Labonte found himself inside the exam room getting briefed on the test procedure and the range of scores.

“There’s a representative of the United States military for the recruitment,” said Labonte. “She goes to different schools in Maine and talks about the ASVAB and what you have to do, what your scores mean, and how to practice.”

There are multiple days of testing sessions for the ASVAB due to how large the exam is. Each day is broken up into different subjects with various testing sections. Each session lasts a few hours.

“Well we did it for two days,” said Labonte. “I think we did it for roughly two and a half to three hours each day. It started at the same time first block would normally start.”

Throughout the years in school, multiple assessments have been given to students such as the MEAs, NWEA’s, NECAPs and the SAT. The ASVAB only shared a small number of similarities with these assessments for Labonte.

“The math portion and English portion are similar to the SAT,” said Labonte. “But then they ask you questions about tools and science.”

When the exams are read by recruiters and scored, the results are sent back to the recruit. The results of the test indicate what position and job one is eligible for in the military. To Avery, this process is critical in career placement in each field of the military.

“I think it’s pretty important,” said Avery. “If you score poorly on the ASVAB they’re not going to want to put you in a high-level job. So they’re kind of just trying to weed out who is good for what job.”

Avery already has an idea as to what he’ll be doing once he gets into the service. On top of that, he already has the date on which he ships out to Parris Island (Bootcamp headquarters for Marines).

“I already have my job lined up,” said Avery. “I’m going to be a mortarman. I’m already enlisted and I’m shipping out August 14th.”

As for Labonte, he is unsure of what job he would like and is still waiting on the results of the exam to find out which position in the Navy he qualifies for. The date on which his scores are sent back is close.

“I don’t know what job I would want to do specifically,” said Labonte. “I won’t know what jobs I qualify for until I get my ASVAB scores back, but at this point I’m willing to do whatever [job in the Navy].”

For these two, a lot will change in the near future. As they’ll be heading to training, and eventually joining the men and women serving the United States of America.

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The student news site of Biddeford High School in Biddeford, Maine
Answering the call