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Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)

 

What is the ASVAB?

ASVAB TestThe Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a test that covers basic knowledge such as math and verbal skills, writing skills, and vocabulary. It is a required test for entrance into the military, but it can also be an indicator for general aptitude skills for other purposes. For those looking to go into military service, the ASVAB score is a crucial indicator of prospective job placement, so it is very important to take this test seriously and to focus on your strengths when taking the exam. Higher test scores often mean better jobs, higher salary, and more opportunities for advancement in the military.

Three different versions of the ASVAB exam are available: The CAT-ASVAB (computer adaptive test), the MET-site ASVAB, and the Student ASVAB. These different versions are designed to suit different needs, so it is important to understand the basics of each test before sitting for an exam. 

The CAT-ASVAB is a computer-based exam that is only provided at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) for enlistment purposes. The test is customized based on the taker's answers, so if one question is answered correctly, the next one will be more difficult. This exam is timed, although users have the option of pacing themselves throughout the exam. However, it is not possible to go back through the test and check answers or change responses after they have been submitted. The CAT-ASVAB is broken down into 10 subparts, including basics such as arithmetic and verbal skills as well as auto information, electronics, shop, and mechanical knowledge. 

Check out our full-length ASVAB Practice Exams - the best preparation for the actual test!

The MET (Mobile Examination Test) Site ASVAB is only for those who have been referred by a recruiter to take the exam because it is only for enlistment into one of the branches of the military. This exam is broken up into 8 parts and is very similar to the CAT-ASVAB. The primary difference here is that the MET Site ASVAB is conducted with a pencil and paper rather than on the computer. This means that the answers to the MET ASVAB can be changed, but the test is still timed, so it is a good idea to keep track of the time while testing. Also, test takers for the MET ASVAB are not penalized for wrong answers, so always guess and respond to all of the questions in order to maximize your chances for scoring well on the exam. 

The Student ASVAB is the most flexible of the exams. It is typically provided to high school students to help them assess their skills, job prospects, potential military positions, or college majors. The ASVAB for students is essentially the same as the MET ASVAB exam, only students are not necessarily testing for positions within the military. The students' school counselors examine their scores and help them decide on what to do after graduating from high school. This test is still an important component of a student's education because it can help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and help set them on the right track for their future career goals.

ASVAB Test Categories

Each of the ASVAB tests includes eight of the same subtests: General Science (GS), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR),
Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Electronics Information (EI), Auto & Shop Information (AS), and Mechanical Comprehension (MC). These subtests focus on basic knowledge of science, math, writing and vocabulary, an understanding of structural development and mechanics, auto function and repair, and a knowledge of electric currents, electronic systems, and circuits. These are all skills and knowledge that are necessary for different sectors of military service. Scores in each subtest are based on the student's ability to answer the questions correctly and to complete the test in time to answer as many of the questions as possible.

Once the ASVAB is over, participants are given a score. This score is used by recruiters to determine which branch of the military would be a good fit for a given test-taker. The most important score for the ASVAB for military purposes is the AFQT score. The AFQT score looks at results from the following sections: Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Math Knowledge (MK), and multiplies the Verbal Composite (VE) score by two. This is because the Verbal Composite Score is composed of both the Word Knowledge and the Paragraph Comprehension scores. Each branch of the military requires a different minimum AFQT score for its members. For the army and marines, this number is 31, for the navy 35, the air force 36, and the coast guard 45. Therefore, this test is a crucial part of any military career, and can determine potential jobs and advancement opportunities. Along with advancement opportunities come higher salaries and greater benefits, which makes the ASVAB an essential element for prospective military service personnel at any level.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

ASVAB Test PreparationWhere can I take the ASVAB?

The ASVAB can be taken at many high schools, at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), or at a rural Mobile Examining Team Site (METS). Taking the ASVAB does not commit you to enlisting in the military.

ASVAB scores are good for two years. If you wish to enlist in the military, you must retake the ASVAB if your scores are more than two years old. Students who took the ASVAB as sophomores are required to retake the ASVAB before enlisting.


What is a passing score on the ASVAB?

No one "passes" or "fails" the ASVAB. The ASVAB allows you to compare your scores to other students at your grade level. Your scores will not affect your school grades.


Who will see my ASVAB results?

Both you and your counselor will receive a copy of the results. Before you take the ASVAB, you will be asked to sign a statement authorizing the Department of Defense to score your test and return your results to your school. Each school determines if it will release your scores to the military services. If you are a junior, a senior, or a postsecondary school student, a recruiter may contact you. This can occur whether or not you take the ASVAB.


Should I take the ASVAB if I plan on becoming a commissioned officer?

Yes, it can be helpful. The ASVAB is not required for entrance into most officer training programs. However, the aptitude information you receive could assist you in career planning.


Should I take the ASVAB if I am considering entering the Reserve or National Guard?

Yes. These military organizations also use the ASVAB for enlistment purposes.


Is there any relationship between taking the ASVAB and Selective Service registration?

There is no relationship between taking the ASVAB and Selective Service registration. ASVAB information is not available to the Selective Service System.

How important is this test?

The ASVAB Career Exploration Program provides tools developed by the Department of Defense (DoD) to help high school and post-secondary students across the nation learn more about career exploration and planning. Since the mid-1990's, the ASVAB Career Exploration Program has provided high quality, cost-free career exploration and planning materials and services annually to approximately 14,000 of the nation's high schools.  You can prepare by taking ASVAB Practice Tests - many of which are available online.

You are tested in four critical areas -- Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge (see below) -- these scores count towards your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. The AFQT score determines whether you're qualified to enlist in the U.S. military. Your scores in the other areas of the ASVAB determine how qualified you are for certain military specialties. Score high, and your chances of getting the specialty/job you want increase.  The better score you get, the better chance you have of pursuing the specialty or field that you desire.

The ASVAB is divided into  eight individual subtests:

Subtest Questions Minutes Description
General Science 25 11 Measures knowledge of physical and biological sciences
Arithmetic Reasoning 30 36 Measures ability to solve arithmetic word problems
Word Knowledge 25 11 Measures ability to select the correct meaning of words presented in context, and identify synonyms
Paragraph Comprehension 15 13 Measures ability to obtain information from written material
Auto and Shop Information 25 11 Measures knowledge of automobiles, tools, and shop terminology and practices
Mathematics Knowledge 35 11 Measures knowledge of high school mathematics principles
Mechanical Comprehension 25 19 Measures knowledge of mechanical and physical principles, and ability to visualize how illustrated objects work
Electronics Information 20 9 Tests knowledge of electricity and electronics


Total number of items: 200
Test Time: 134 minutes
Administrative Time: 46 minutes
Total Test Time: 180 minutes

Scoring high on the ASVAB will require preparation and study. Don't miss out on preparing for this important test -- let us help prepare you for the ASVAB.  Learn more about the ASVAB test, study with our test prep materials and take our practice test.  Our website will give you an idea of how well you'll score, identifies areas that you may need to work on and suggests resources and techniques that you can use.  Additionally, check out the books that we recommend - these are the highest rated ASVAB preparation books available.  Check out our
ASVAB Study Guides.  Interested in college?  Check out our College Scholarships Guide, search over 20 million scholarships and grants.

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Prepare for the ASVAB - Study Guides

ASVAB Practice Tests
The Ultimate ASVAB Practice Pack provides you three full-length ASVAB practice tests with answer key and unlimited access to the ASVAB Online Practice Center.  Modeled After the CAT-ASVAB with over 2000 questions in the question pool - each practice test is different every time you take it.  See your AFQT score and Subtest scores at the end of each practice test.  Track your scores and history online to monitor your progress and watch your scores increase!  100% Satisfaction Guaranteed. 
Start practicing now.
 

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Military ASVAB Test Kaplan ASVAB 2011
The Kaplan guide has everything I needed to prepare myself for the exam. The book was a great help for refreshing my memory in math and English for the test. Timing yourself on the practice tests is also a great way to make sure you are ahead of the game and never worry about time in the actual test. This is one of the best study guides I have ever seen or used but be prepared to spend time doing the work. As I said it will take hours to go through the material and learn what you need. I believed this book had a direct result in scoring an AFQT of 99. Excellent Book!

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ASVAB Practice Tests McGraw-Hill's ASVAB
To reach your military career goals, it is necessary for you to score high on the ASVAB--the exam used to qualify and place recruits in all branches of the armed services. Written by a former key member of the ASVAB team at the Department of Defense, McGraw-Hill's ASVAB provides you with insider advice to achieve exam success.

This guide includes four complete sample ASVABs with explanations, as well as tips and strategies for succeeding on the Verbal and Math test sections you must pass to qualify for enlistment.

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ASVAB Basics
Extra back-to-basics practice that has helped thousands of recruits to qualify for the armed forces. Thousands of military recruits need extra help to pass the ASVAB, or Armed Forces Test and here's where they can find it! ARCO's ASVAB Basics offers intensive practice in reading, vocabulary, and mathematics the subjects covered in the four ASVAB subtests that determine whether a recruit qualifies for enlistment. Now updated, it features: * Full-length ASVAB subtests for practice * Drills to improve basic academic skills * Complete explanatory answers.

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ASVAB - How to Prepare
"My recruiter told me about this book so I ordered it and got it 3 days later from the Military Bookstore. I got this book and it is awesome. The cd works great and every thing I needed and more to help me was in there. I recommend this book to everyone who is thinking of going in the service and wants to get a real job! GET THIS BOOK AND SCORE HIGH!!!!"

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