By Anna MorelockJanuary 16, 2019
Soldiers who may want to cross train into another military occupational specialty or apply for a special program, such as warrant officer or medical training, need to ensure their general technical score is high enough to qualify.
Those who don't have a high score, or who want to make sure they're more competitive, can increase their GT scores with the help of the Functional Academic Skills Training, or FAST, class offered monthly at the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Education Center.
"Realistically in today's Army - it's a smaller Army, it's a smaller pool of applicants - so to be competitive for the programs they really want to have a 110 or higher," said Cristine Weisbecker, USAG Wiesbaden's education services officer and test control officer.
GT scores are determined by Soldiers' scores on the Armed Services Classification Test. After completing the three-and-a-half-week FAST class, a Soldier can work with their individual counselor to determine if they are ready to take the ASCT, but the test isn't required. Taking the class just to refresh basic skills is also an option. Or, the Soldier and counselor may agree on another class or self-study before taking the ASCT.
For four hours each morning during the class period, a Soldier's place of duty is the Education Center where class will kick off with the Test of Adult Basic Education. This test will help individualize Soldiers' class experience based on where they need to focus. Overall, FAST classes focus on math skills and reading comprehension.
"Math is the easiest score to bring up because for most people," Weisbecker said. "It's stuff you've been exposed to; it's stuff you learned at one point. You've forgotten it - we all have our pocket calculators now," she said referring to the calculator app on her phone.
Reading comprehension scores are harder to improve.
"If you're not reading at all, start reading magazines," Weisbecker said. "If you're reading magazines, maybe get into some more technical stories or pick up a novel. Find out what your friends are reading, and read one of those books because reading comprehension can only be improved by doing it. A three-week class is not going to bring you up several grade levels."
Army-wide, Soldiers have increased their GT scores an average of 13 points using FAST classes. In fiscal year 2018, U.S. Army Wiesbaden Soldiers bumped their scores up an average of 10.5 points after taking the class.
Besides the class, Soldiers also can access the Online Academic Skills Course to brush up on their skills. However, most people will benefit more from the in-person course, Weisbecker said.
"For anyone who's struggling with math, sitting down at a set time, in a set place, with an instructor to help you out - it's just going to help motivate you."
FAST classes are open to all Soldiers who want to raise their GT scores and also Family members on a space-available basis. Sometimes dependents who are thinking of enlisting take the course before tackling the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, Weisbecker said.
Those interesting in enrolling for an upcoming session should contact the Education Center at (0611) 143-548-1302 or email@example.com.