Can You Pass This Marine Sergeant Exam?

By: Teresa McGlothlin

Can You Pass This Marine Sergeant Exam?
Image: DanielBendjy / E+ / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If you want to make the rank of sergeant, you'll have to put forth your best effort. Starting the moment you enlist, every test you pass and every experience you gain will help you reach your goal. Being promoted to an E-5 comes with the responsibility of leadership and knowledge, but do you have what it takes to make the rank? 

Beginning with the ASVAB and continuing throughout military life, Marines are continually put to the test. From physical fitness certifications to professional military education, they are rated using a composite score system. Even day-to-day conduct is factored into the process! When the opportunity to become a sergeant arises, the candidate with the highest score is promoted. Could you be the next one in line?

Throughout this quiz, we'll ask you to answer questions relating to the qualifications every sergeant must earn. Will your score make you the next in line to wear a sergeant's insignia, or will you be stuck at corporal forever? Do your best to adapt, improvise and overcome the tough requirements we throw your way; then, you'll see if you have what it takes to rise through the ranks. Every answer you get right puts you one step closer! Let's find out how well you'll do. 

1-Traning Do you have any idea how long Marines spend at basic training, the first step to becoming a sergeant?
Eight weeks
15 weeks
13 weeks
The U.S. Marine Corps' longer basic training period is longer than any other branch of the military. The first 29 days of the 13-week course are spent covering combat training; then, training for Military Occupational Specialties starts.
22 weeks

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2-Ship What it is called when a newly enlisted Marine agrees to report for duty on a specified date?
Direct Ship
Military Occupational Specialty
Delayed Entry Program
Once new enlistees have signed the entry contract, they are sent for testing at a MEPS (Military Entry Processing Station) center. Those who enlisted through the Direct Ship route are immediately sent to boot camp. For others, a Delayed Entry Program contract gives a future date for reporting.
Basic Entry Program

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3-Uniform In order to make the rank of enlisted sergeant, what pay grade must you reach?
E-4
E-5
When entering the Marines, the first rank is E-1 (or Private). After serving for 48 months and rising to the rank of E-5, Marines are then eligible to be promoted to the rank of sergeant. They must spend time as a Corporal (E-4) before they can move up to the next level.
E-2
E-1

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4-Soldier Marines who rise through the ranks to become a sergeant are called what?
Earned average officers
Non-enlistment officers
Non-commissioned officers
There are two types of officers serving in the Marines. Commissioned officers are those who have been through college and possess special skills. Those who rise through the ranks to become an officer are called non-commissioned officers, but they're often called the "backbone of the Marines."
Commissioned officers

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5-Boots If you want to make sergeant, what's the minimum amount of time you need to have served?
Eight months
14 months
36 months
48 months
Before being eligible for the rank of sergeant, Marines must have spent at least 48 months in the service. Until January 2020, they only needed 24 months of service. The Marine Corp wants sergeants to stick around longer, so the time frame was lengthened.

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6-Soldiers You'll have to earn a high composite score to become a sergeant. Which of these things is a component of the score?
Physical fitness scores
Rifle qualification score
Time in grade
All of them
Marines do not directly compete for the rank of sergeant. Instead, their worthiness is measured through a composite score rating system. Those with the highest averages — from areas like physical fitness, rifle qualification and their time in their current rank — usually receive the promotion.

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7-Math Test The higher you score on the mathematical knowledge test, the better! If 50% of 100 = x, what does x =?
X = 50
Although this is an easier example of mathematical questions you might be asked on the ASVAB, sergeants will need to know their stuff. If you chose 50, you have correctly solved the problem.
x = 1,000
x = 200
x = 100

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8-Rifle What's the top level of expertise that can be achieved during the Marine Corps Rifle Qualification?
Expert
As part of basic training, every Marine must qualify as a rifleman. While the scores of Marksman (250-279) and Sharpshooter (280-304) are good marks, those who score at the Expert level (305-350) are likely to be promoted faster.
Marksman
Sharpshooter

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9-Training To get the best score on the physical fitness test, how many miles would you need to run in under 28 minutes?
Three
Before leaving basic training, every Marine must pass both the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) and the Combat Fitness Test (CBT). During the PFT, male Marines will need to run three miles in under 28 minutes. Every Marine must recertify their scores twice per year and sometimes when being promoted.
Five
Four
One

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10-Flag Marines have to pass two physical fitness tests. What's the second test called?
Enhanced Physical Fitness Test
Combat Fitness Test
The Combat Fitness Test (CBT) is different from the Physical Fitness Test (PFT). While the PFT tests basic fitness levels, the CBT tests a Marine's ability to perform under pressure. Three different events make up CBT qualification.
Corp Fitness Test
Endurance Fitness Test

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11-Sergeant What is the proper way to address a Marine sergeant with an E-5 rank?
Sergeant
Ranks E-5 through E-9 are different levels of sergeant. Although, you would address the sergeant serving in the first sergeant position as "first sergeant," you would normally address everyone with the rank as "sergeant."
First sergeant
Master Sergeant
Gunnery Sergeant

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12-Soldiers Is it possible to become a sergeant without a high school diploma?
Yes
The Marine Corps accepts individuals who hold a high school diploma or a GED (General Education Development). The GED is a high school equivalency diploma that allows Marines to enlist without a high school diploma, but they must score 20 points higher during initial testing.
No

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13-Soldier During which one of these Combat Fitness Test events might you drag another Marine?
Movement to Contact
Maneuver Under Fire
Designed to test a Marine's fitness level in potential real-world situations, the Combat Fitness Test is made up of three events. The Maneuver Under Fire portion of it involves the fireman's carry, high crawls, sprints and ammo loading. It's the most intense part of their training.
Ammunition Lift

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14-Soldier Instead of crunches, Marines can opt to qualify with which of these core exercises?
Planks
The rules for the Physical Fitness Test are tough, but there are a couple of options. Enlistees may choose from pull-ups or push-ups, and they can choose planking or crunches. If the planking option is chosen, Marines must hold the pose for 4 minutes and 20 seconds to get the maximum score.
Squats
Burpees
Lunges

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15-Sergeant Sergeants must score high marks on the word knowledge portion of the ASVAB. Which one of these words means the same as heavy?
Piquant
Wispy
Substantial
Passing the exams necessary for becoming a sergeant comes from your composite score — the better you score across the board, the better! If you knew that substantial can also mean heavy, you are already ahead of the word knowledge game.
Agile

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16-Helicopter Does a Marine's military occupational specialty (MOS) code a factor in being promoted to sergeant?
Yes
No
Standard military training and assessments are used to determine a Marine's MOS. The MOS code does represent the job that a Marine performs, but it's not a factor in becoming a sergeant. Sergeants can possess any MOS.

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17-Truck Sergeants have to be well-versed in mechanical knowledge — what does a truck's alternator do?
It operates flex-fuel technology.
It powers the battery.
Including any car trouble, Marines are taught to improvise, adapt and overcome any obstacle. The Auto and Shop Information part of the ASVAB may ask a question like this one. If you knew that the alternator powers the battery, you're up a point!
It's part of the security system.
The alternator helps reduce emissions.

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18-Heli When does the Marine Corps recommend that future sergeants attend the Sergeants Course Distance Education Program?
When you reach Corporal
The U.S. Marine Corp values education and openly encourages members to pursue college during their free time. Those who have recently been promoted to Corporal (E-4) and hope to be a sergeant should also enroll in the CDET program. The advanced leadership training looks great on a resume!
They recommend that all Privates enroll.
It should start in high school.
It's only open to commissioned officers.

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19-Computer What part of the ASVAB might ask a newly enlisted Marine to build a tower of blocks?
Assembling Objects
Sometimes called the common sense part of the ASVAB, the Assembling Objects part of the test asks enlistees to put things together. These days, the tests are taken on computers rather than actually assembling things, though.
Auto and Shop Information
Electronics Information
General Science

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20-Exercise Do you know what sort of crunches Marines do during the physical fitness test?
Wiper crunches
Reverse crunches
Double crunches
Modified crunches
If Marines opt to do crunches rather than planks during their Physical Fitness Test, they must perform two minutes of modified crunches. To do a modified crunch, cross your arms over your chest, plant your feet shoulder-width apart and lift your torso until your elbows touch your legs.

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21-Soldier Can those holding legal permanent resident status become a sergeant?
Yes
The U.S. military allows citizens and legal permanent residents to both serve within their ranks. Those who hold legal permanent resident status are green card holders, usually on their path to citizenship.
No

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22-Soldier On Beach During the ammunition lift exercise part of CFT, how much does the barrel weigh?
200 lbs
100 lbs
65 lbs
30 lbs
The ammunition lift part of Combat Fitness Training is not for the weak. Participants must raise a 30-pound ammunition barrel above their heads with their elbows locked. Repetitions are counted for a length of time chosen by the test administrator.

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23-Testing On the ASVAB, future sergeants need to show proficiency in which one of these sciences?
Sociology
General science
General science is only one part of the 10-part ASVAB that all Marines need to pass before going to basic training. Although the ASVAB is taken years before becoming a sergeant, the score helps determine your military placement. Your placement is a big part of rising through the ranks.
Psychology
Microbiology

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24-Humvee If your platoon's Jeep needs engine coolant, where would you add it? Sergeants are required to know.
The radiator
It wouldn't be surprising to find a question like this one on the Mechanical Comprehension part of the ASVAB. Marines need to be well-rounded, and having enough knowledge to know that coolant goes in the radiator will help improve your scores.
The gas tank
The engine block
The blinker reservoir

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25-Media During which portion of the DEP (Sergeants Course Distance Education Program) will Marines learn to deal with the media?
Communications
When sergeants enroll in DEP training, they learn all the skills they need to be effective leaders. There are nine subcourses found within the DEP. Marines receive media training during the communications portion.
Administration
Tactical Tools
Squad Operations

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26-Vehicles Pursuing additional PME training is a great way to become a sergeant. What does PME mean?
Personal Military Education
Professional Military Education
In general, the U.S. military encourages anyone who wants to be a career service member to seek continuing education. Called Professional Military Education (PME), it can range from college courses to additional training.
Preferred Military Education
Professional Marines Education

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27-Beach After becoming a sergeant, what's the next rank that can be achieved?
Staff Sergeant
As a non-commissioned officer, it's possible to keep rising in rank. In order to reach Staff Sergeant (E-6), Marines will need to have spent 10 years in the military. The top salary for the position is around $3,851 per month.
Gunnery Sergeant
Master Sergeant
Lance Corporal

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28-Soldier In addition to a Recruit Training Depot in San Diego, where else can Marines be sent for the first 13 weeks of duty?
Parris Island, South Carolina
There are 17 U.S. Marine Corps bases in the United States, but only two of them are basic training facilities. All Marines entering the force must pass through either Parris Island, South Carolina or the Recruit Training Depot in San Diego.
Twenty Nine Palms, California
Base Albany, Georgia
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina

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29-Mission If you were leading a platoon of 44 people and 25% of them are at the mess hall having lunch, how many of them are left working?
11
33
If you sent one-quarter of your Marines to the mess hall for lunch, 11 of them are eating. When you subtract 11 Marines from 44 Marines, that means that 33 Marines are still awaiting their lunch break. This is an example of the sort of mathematical knowledge you'll have to have to become a sergeant.
22
4

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30-Female Soldier True or false? The requirements to become sergeant are different for female Marines than for male Marines.
True
False
The composite score rating used by the Marines to promote corporals to sergeants does not differentiate between genders. The only difference female Marines might face comes during the Physical Fitness Test. Due to size, male Marines must complete a three-mile run in 28 minutes while females have 31.

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31-Marching Which of these subcourses would a sergeant take to learn about patrolling techniques?
Administration
Leadership
Squad Operations
During Sergeants Distance Course Education Training (CDET), the Squad Operations subcourse teaches sergeants about improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and leading a small unit in defensive situations. One of the course's lessons focuses on patrolling.
Tactical Tools

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32-Marine What is the correct way to abbreviate the name "Sergeant Miller" on military forms?
Sgt. Miller
Learning all the military abbreviations is an educational all by itself! In this case, the abbreviation Sgt. is used to abbreviate Sergeant Miller's rank. If you were abbreviating staff sergeant, it would be SSgt.
Srt. Miller

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33-Dress Blue When a sergeant is wearing the gold and red insignia, which uniform is being worn?
Cammies
Service
Dress Blue
A sergeant's insignia patch consists of three stripes above crossed rifles. When the red and gold version is being worn, Marines are wearing their Dress Blue uniforms. The red and green version is reserved for the Service uniform.
Field

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34-Young Soldier How old do you need to be before you can begin your journey to becoming sergeant?
19
21
17
The minimum age for enlistment in the Marines is 17, but enlistees must have parental consent. You are welcome to join the force until your 29th birthday. Most recruits enlist when they are 18 or 19.
18

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35-Soldiers True or False? The base salary of a sergeant is over $50,000 per year.
True
False
Including 30-days leave every year, medical care and housing assistance, the U.S. Marine Corp offers some of the best benefits in the nation. Being a sergeant comes with a base salary of $28,721 to $40,759.

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