ASVAB Practice 2020 | 3-Step Prep to Score High - JobTestPrep
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No war can be won without knowing your “enemy” inside out.

Get to Know the ASVAB Test Inside Out

What Is the ASVAB Test?

The ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. It’s a multiple-choice aptitude test used to determine if you’re qualified to enlist in the military and which jobs you qualify for.

Even though some believe so, the ASVAB is not an IQ Test. And there is no way to convert ASVAB scores to IQ scores.

This test doesn’t measure your overall intelligence, but rather specific abilities and skills needed to do various jobs in the military.

Is the ASVAB Hard?

In short: Yes. The ASVAB can be hard, especially if you’ve been out of school for a long time or if you’re a nervous test-taker. The ASVAB is also long. It may take 1.5 to 3 hours to complete, and to ace it, you must demonstrate strong knowledge and aptitudes in various subjects.


CAT-ASVAB vs Paper-and-Pencil ASVAB vs ASVAB CEP

You can choose which version you prefer to take, but you have to talk with your recruiter first. And if you’re still a high school student, the only version you can take for now is the ASVAB CEP.

CAT-ASVAB

The CAT-ASVAB, also called iCAT, can be taken only at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). About 70% of military applicants take this ASVAB version.

This version is completely adaptive. This means that the test is tailored to your ability, and the difficulty level of the questions changes according to your answers, from very easy to very hard.

Basically, if you answer a question incorrectly, the next one will be easier and vice versa – if you answer a question correctly, the next one will be harder.

On adaptive tests like the CAT-ASVAB, your goal should be to reach the hardest questions. It may sound tough, but remember this: The harder the question is, the higher your score will be. And as you know, a high ASVAB score guarantees a great military job. That’s why it’s so important to study, brush up on your skills, and learn how to answer the hardest questions.

Taking this version has a few perks:

  • When you complete a test section, you can immediately move on to the following section without waiting for others to finish.
  • The number of questions you must answer on the CAT-ASVAB is 40% lower than on the P&P version.
  • It usually takes 1.5 hours to complete this version – less than half of the time it takes to complete the P&P version.

The CAT-ASVAB has a penalty for wrong answers. So, if you see you’re running out of time, continue answering the best you can and don’t take random and risky guesses just to finish in time.

P&P ASVAB

The Paper and Pencil ASVAB can be taken only at a Mobile Examination Test (MET). There are roughly 685 MET sites across the country. If you wish to take this ASVAB version, ask your recruiter if there’s a MET site nearby.

In the paper and pencil ASVAB, you’ll get the same questions as the other test-takers, no matter your ability level.

There’s a fixed number of questions and time limits. While you’re allowed to review your answers, you can’t go back to previous test sections. Additionally, you’re not allowed to proceed to the next one until everyone else in class finishes.

Overall, it takes about 3 hours to complete the paper and pencil ASVAB.

As opposed to the CAT-ASVAB, on the P&P version, there is no penalty for wrong answers. So, it’s highly recommended to eliminate unlikely choices and make an educated guess if you’re unsure of the answer.

ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP)

This ASVAB version is given to high school students in grades 10,11, and 12 to help them explore military and civilian career paths.

Students take the ASVAB CEP at no cost and it may be administered in computer-adaptive forms (same as the CAT-ASVAB) or in paper and pencil format. The ASVAB CEP test results are then sent to school counselors so students can learn more about career options that correlate with their abilities and preferences.

Moreover, each participant receives valid AFQT scores that can be used for enlistment if you’re in the 11th grade and above (since they’re valid for only 2 years).

To learn more about the ASVAB Career Exploration Program, visit the ASVAB CEP official site.


PiCAT vs ASVAB

The PiCAT is a computerized exam that is identical to the ASVAB test. But as opposed to the ASVAB, the PiCAT can be taken at your home and it's not proctored nor timed (although you'll have to complete it in 24 hours from the moment you start it).

You can take the PiCAT only if you haven't taken any version of the ASVAB before. And if you want your PiCAT scores to count as official ASVAB scores, you'll have to do a short verification test first, which takes 25-30 minutes to complete.

Once you pass this short test, you're good to go and your PiCAT scores will stay valid for five years.

Note: Retaking the PiCAT is not always possible, and it varies between recruits. In some cases, you'll have to take the full ASVAB version instead.

So, try to study and prepare for the PiCAT the best way you can, as if you're about to take the full ASVAB. This way, you'll have the benefit of taking the test at home at your own pace and score high so you'll get into the best military jobs.

JobTestPrep’s complete ASVAB practice offers accurate prep for all versions of the ASVAB as well as for the PiCAT.


ASVAB Subtests: Learn What Subjects You’ll Be Tested on

The ASVAB subtests measure your abilities in four main domains: Verbal, Math, Science, and Technical.

Both the Computerized (CAT-ASVAB) and the paper and pencil (P&P) versions test the same subjects, but the division of the subtests slightly differs between them.

Below you can see a breakdown of the ASVAB’s categories (updated for 2020), presented in the order in which they appear on the real tests:

ASVAB Categories Chart
Subtest What’s Tested Questions / Time Limit (CAT-ASVAB) Questions / Time Limit (P&P Version)

General Science (GS)

Knowledge of physical and biological sciences

15 questions, 10 minutes

25 Questions, 11 minutes

Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)

Ability to solve arithmetic word problems

15 Questions, 55 minutes

30 Questions, 36 minutes

Word Knowledge (WK)

Ability to recognize synonyms of words

15 Questions, 9 minutes

35 Questions, 11 minutes

Paragraph Comprehension (PC)

Ability to answer questions based on short passages

10 Questions, 27 minutes

15 Questions, 13 minutes

Mathematics Knowledge (MK)

Knowledge of high school mathematics principles

15 Questions, 23 minutes

25 Questions, 24 minutes

Electronics Information (EI)

Knowledge of electricity and electronics

15 Questions, 10 minutes

20 Questions, 9 minutes

*Auto & Shop Information (AS)

Knowledge of automobile technology & Knowledge of tools and shop terminology and practices

10 Questions, 7 minutes; and 10 Questions, 6 minutes

25 Questions, 11 minutes

Mechanical Comprehension (MC)

Knowledge of mechanical and physical principles

15 Questions, 22 minutes

25 Questions, 19 minutes

Assembling Objects (AO)

Ability to determine how an object will look when its parts are put together

15 Questions, 17 minutes

25 Questions, 15 minutes

Total

 

135 Questions, 173 minutes

225 Questions, 149 minutes

*On the CAT-ASVAB, Auto and Shop Information [AS] is split into two parts (Auto Information [AI] and Shop Information [SI]), but one score is reported (Source - ASVAB Fact Sheet).


ASVAB Scores: How Scoring High Will Affect Your Military Service

The ASVAB scores are divided into four:

  1. Standard Scores
  2. AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test)
  3. Line Scores (also called Composite Scores)
  4. Career Exploration Scores (only for high school students who took the ASVAB CEP).

When someone tells you, “I got a 70 on my ASVAB”, they actually mean they got a 70 on their AFQT.

And the AFQT is what matters most for enlistment purposes (for all branches).

Let me explain.

The scores you get from only four of the ASVAB subtests (see the table above) – Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Mathematics Knowledge (MK) – are combined to calculate your score on the AFQT.

Then, your AFQT raw score is translated into a percentile score between 1 to 99. This tells you how well you did on the AFQT compared to a base group of approximately 6,000 other test-takers.

Is My Score a Good ASVAB Score?

Many recruits ask themselves (and Google) this question. Here’s the thing: the minimum AFQT scores for the various branches vary between 31 to 40 and the average AFQT score is 50.

So, a good ASVAB score would be higher than the minimum AFQT score required for your desired branch.

For example, if you got a 70 on your AFQT it means you scored as well as or better than 70% of that base group.

Finally, these AFQT scores are used to determine your eligibility for enlistment in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps.

Makes sense?

Now, the AFQT scores are divided into 8 categories, shown in the chart below:

ASVAB AFQT Categories


The higher you score on the AFQT, the more attractive jobs you’ll be offered. That’s because military jobs in the AFQT category 1 and 2 are usually the most desirable and prestigious.

On the contrary, if you score between 0 to 9 you won’t be considered for enlistment at all (there’s an Act of Congress that deals with that).

Accurate and professional prep can help you score high in the top two AFQT categories and get accepted to the best military jobs.

So, if that’s your goal, the following should be your go-to practice method.


How to Pass the ASVAB With a High Score: JobTestPrep’s 3-Step Accurate Practice Formula

After months of thorough research and sifting through feedback from 100’s of customers, our experts developed a 3-step formula to ace the ASVAB test.

It includes a proven study plan to help you pass every subtest of the ASVAB, even if you’ve been out of school or college for several years.

Here’s how it goes:

    • Step #1:
      You’ll start your practice with an online ASVAB diagnostic test, designed to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Once you finish the test, you get an instant score report highlighting your weaker areas. This will help you zero in on subjects that need more attention and provides you with direction throughout the course of your prep.
    • Step #2:
      You’ll get a personalized prep plan that targets areas demanding improvement (as found on your diagnostic test). Then, you’ll start prepping with focused practice drills for each of the ASVAB’s sections you need help with. These include step-by-step explanations that finally show you how to solve every question and not just the correct answer.
    • Step #3:
      You’ll finish your preparation with full ASVAB practice tests and see the amazing progress you’ve made since your starting point. If your score isn’t high enough or if there are still topics that need improvement, you’ll continue practicing with targeted drills until your final score is excellent.
    • Bonus Step:
      Think you’re terrible at math? Arithmetic problems make your body itch? Enter: ‘Back to Basics’ math study guides. These guides will brush up on your math skills and teach you everything you need from scratch, even if you skipped all your math classes in high school.

 

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The ASVAB Scores You Need for the Different Branches

Minimum Air Force ASVAB (AFQT) Score

      • High School Seniors / High School Diploma Recipient – 31
      • GED Holder – 50

*U.S. Air Force Officers don’t need to take the ASVAB test. However, they must take the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT), which is similar to the SAT test.

Minimum Army ASVAB (AFQT) Score

      • High School Seniors / High School Diploma Recipient – 31
      • GED Holder – 50

Minimum Marine Corps ASVAB (AFQT) Score

      • High School Seniors / High School Diploma Recipient – 32
      • GED Holder – 50

Minimum Navy ASVAB (AFQT) Score

      • High School Seniors / High School Diploma Recipient – 35
      • GED Holder – 50

Minimum Coast Guard ASVAB (AFQT) Scores

      • High School Seniors / High School Diploma Recipient – 40
      • GED Holder – 50

ASVAB Line Scores: The Gate to Your Desired Service

There’s more to the ASVAB than the AFQT scores.

The military combines the standard ASVAB scores of each of the ASVAB subtests to calculate the Composite scores, also called Line Scores.

Then, these line scores are used to help classify military occupations best suited for you.

Each branch develops its own set of line scores based on the combination of subtests that are most highly correlated with on-the-job performance for various occupations.

To learn more about the line scores of each branch and how they’re computed, check out this chart on the ASVAB official site.


Retaking the ASVAB: How Many Times You Can Take It (And Really Fail It?)

As I mentioned before, an AFQT score of between 0 to 9 is a failing score. Also, pay attention to the AFQT passing score of each branch (listed above), as they may vary greatly.

The ASVAB scores are valid for two years, as long as you aren’t in the military.

If you wish to retake the ASVAB, you must wait one calendar month before you can do so. If you’d like to retake it the second time, you’ll have to wait another month.

But watch out:

After that, you must wait six months before you can take it again.

Don’t rush to take ASVAB right away, even if your recruiter pushes you. Taking it when you’re not fully ready and confident might lead to poor performance and low scores.

It’s better to postpone it in a few weeks and take the time to study and feel comfortable with the test’s content. This is a guaranteed way to boost your ASVAB score and get the military job you desire.


Free ASVAB Test: Get a Taste for the Real Thing

Want to get a glimpse of what it’s like to take a real ASVAB test? Try our free ASVAB practice test now – full solutions and a score report are waiting for you at the end.

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