MEPS Part I: ASVAB

I’ve been dragging my feet on writing Parts I and II of the MEPS process, mostly because at this point it’s been about a month and a half since it all happened and I’m desperately trying to recall any and all memories to make this blog what I wanted it to be! Second, I’m mostly just lazy and have been putting it off. This post will be rather short as I’m only covering the ASVAB which was day 1 of MEPS. The next post about all the physical, administrative, and swearing in processes will be much longer and hopefully I’ll have that written at some point in the next decade.

After finishing my OCS board interview, I changed out of my skirt suit into more casual clothes and waited around the recruiting office for a while. The main reason for this was that we didn’t want to leave for MEPS too early because although I would be able to take my ASVAB whenever I got there, I would have to wait longer for others filing in to take theirs before we could leave at the end of the day for the hotel. Essentially, the earlier I got there, the earlier I could take my ASVAB, the sooner I would finish and have to sit and wait longer for everyone else.

We left the recruiting office I believe around 1300 and drove from central Minneapolis to the Whipple Building in south Minneapolis, close to the MSP airport. Security inside the building was pretty strict and much like airport security–all belongings on your person and electronics you had went into a bin that was scanned as well as your bags and yourself. All individuals entering the building also had to show ID and no aerosol type spray cans would be admitted. I, unfortunately, had been house-sitting the previous three days before my interview and MEPS and didn’t have time to drop all my excess belongings at home, so I had a huge gym bag full of miscellaneous items that set off the detector. Way to go, Kels!

We rode the elevators to the MEPS level and the first thing I did was check-in at the front desk and have my picture taken (which one of the staff members photo-bombed thank you very much). He also took two fingerprints that would be used to check-in with on an electronic pad (at least I think that’s how it worked–my memory is hazy). My bag and other belongings were all stowed away in a locker in a separated room, and all I kept with me were my drivers license and social security card (I don’t recall if I needed them but I wanted to have them on me just in case).

Essentially, I was just given a folder of paperwork from the front desk that I took down the hallway to the testing center. I handed the folder over to the testing administrator (who questioned why I was joining the military at 25) and had my computer setup for the ASVAB. This is the same testing center that other military entry/qualifying tests are given (i.e. DLAB, AFOQT maybe?), so the computer had to specifically be setup for the ASVAB. I was given a sheet of printer paper and a pencil for calculations and began the test. The test is comprised of general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, mathematics knowledge, electronics, auto, shop, mechanical comprehension, and object assembling questions, presented in that order. One thing I was not privy to prior to taking the test was that there is no option to go back in sections, so you must answer the question you’re given and be confident in your answer because you cannot go back.

I want to say I completed the test in about an hour and a half. I really struggled on the electronics/auto/mechanical/shop sections, which doesn’t particularly matter since they’re not calculated into your final AFQT scoring (but for certain MOS’s you need to surpass the cut-off E/A/M/S score to qualify for that MOS). I’m not even sure if I ever saw what my scores in those areas were, but I was given my AFQT score immediately after finishing the test. The scores were recorded in my information folder which I brought back out to the check-in desk. After that, it was a lot of sitting and waiting. They had lunch options for recruits to eat already prepared, although I did bring a sandwich and left it in the locker room.

Recruits ended up vegetating in front of Impractical Jokers for five hours before ~1830 rolled around and we were told we were leaving. We gathered our belongings and rode on a school bus to the hotel we would be staying at (which was surprisingly very nice?!), and it was a pretty lax evening from then on. We were given a brief ten minute synopsis and video to watch on what would occur the following day at MEPS (which wasn’t anything new), and given the option to stay up in the recruit lounge area of the hotel. I was extremely lucky to have been paired up in a room with a seventeen year old high schooler that went to bed at 2100 like me! I was so worried I would be stuck with someone who wanted to stay up late and watch TV or make noise, but she was the ideal hotel room partner for me and it worked out great.