ASVAB Test Full Guide For Success
Arbel Yellin

Arbel, ASVAB Test Expert at JobTestPrep.

Have a question? Contact me at: ask_the_team@jobtestprep.com

Enlisting Process to the ASVAB Test 

After contacting a recruiter – and completing the requiements like health, education, arrest record, etc. – you will be sent to perform the ASVAB in a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). There you will conduct the computerized test (CAT-ASVAB). If you do not live near a MEPS, you may take the ASVAB at a Military Entrance Test (MET) site – which is a satellite location where mostly traditional pen and paper (P&P-ASVAB) tests are taken. 

You can find additional information on the Military Entrance Processing Command website. 

Bring valid identification and be on time. You must enter the testing room alone. Note that you may retake the test for the second time a month after the first attempt and six months after the second attempt – so you best be prepared for the test. Examples, answers, and valuable solving tips can be found in our Free ASVAB Test page. 


How to Study for the ASVAB Test


Regardless of the military branch you are aiming for, JobTestPrep offers comprehensive study guides and full preparation for any position you are applying to. You can also study for the un-timed at-home version of the test with our PiCAT PrepPack, or learn more on our PiCAT Free Practice page. 

Our PrepPacks include full-length practice tests and drills for all of the test sections. This way you will get familiar with the question types and time constraint. 

Ace the ASVAB Test for any of the following military branches:

  • Army ASVAB Test: become a part of the nation's war and conflict joint force and protect US land, resources, and population.
  • Navy ASVAB Test: be a part of the US-organized naval forces and protect by sea conflict resolution and protection.
  • Marine Corps ASVAB Test: join military operations that involve the coordinated deployment of land, air, and sea forces to conduct operations from water to land.
  • Coast Guard ASVAB Test: be responsible for safeguarding and protecting the nation's maritime interests and enforcing maritime laws.
  • Air Force ASVAB Test: take responsibility of air and space operations. You will also play a crucial role in intelligence, surveillance, and logistics support for all military operations.

Not what you were looking for? Contact us, and we will do our best to ensure you get the most accurate preparation for your upcoming assessment. Or learn more about other Civil Service Exams and positions. 

 


ASVAB Test Format

The test can be taken in three different forms: 

  • P&P-ASVAB (Pen and Paper) 
  • CAT-ASVAB (Computerized Adaptive Test) 
  • ASVAB CEP (Career Exploration Program) 

There are a few key differences between the tests like number of questions, test-taking format, adaptability, locations, etc. Let’s dive into the different ASVAB types. 

 

  • P&P-ASVAB (Pen and Paper) 

The P&P-ASVAB is taken in a traditional pen and paper format. This means that all the applicants on a certain test date will receive the exact same test, in the same time frame, unlike the adaptive CAT-ASVAB. 

The test is often administered at Mobile Examination Test (MET) sites, typically in areas that are far from a MEPS. MET sites can be at schools, recruiting centers, or other locations. 

Most of the questions are of moderate difficulty, with some of them being above or below average.  

  • CAT-ASVAB (Computerized Adaptive Test) 

The CAT-ASVAB is taken in a computer-based format. This test is "adaptive", meaning your previous answers determine the questions. If you answer a question correctly, the next question may be more difficult. If you answer incorrectly, the next question could be easier. This format aims to evaluate an individual’s capabilities more precisely. 

The test is typically given at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS). 

Although the number of questions varies from one subtest to another, the test adapts within a set timeframe, making it essential for test-takers to manage their time effectively. Each section will be completed either when all questions are completed or the time for the section has ended. 

  • ASVAB CEP (Career Exploration Program) 

The ASVAB Career Exploration Program is designed for students and offers the test as a career exploration tool. It helps students understand their strengths and weaknesses and links these to related career fields. The test is not necessarily meant for military service applicants but also for civilian positions. 

Depending on the school's facilities, the test can be administered as a paper-and-pencil test or computer-based. It’s typically offered to high school and post-secondary students free of charge. It's not used for military enlistment purposes but provides insights into potential civilian and military careers. 

The test is either like the P&P-ASVAB, or the CAT-ASVAB, depending on the type of test taken. Therefore, the adaptability or number of questions and timeframe refers to the test format. 


ASVAB Test Sections  

The ASVAB test is divided into the following nine sections: 

  • General Science (GS) – This section measures life sciences, earth and space science, chemistry, and physics knowledge. One should have a general understanding of these subjects from high school courses to excel. 
  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)This section tests the ability to solve basic arithmetic word problems. Success in this section requires good problem-solving skills and a foundational understanding of mathematics. 
  • Word Knowledge (WK) – This section Focuses on the ability to understand the meaning of words through synonyms. A strong vocabulary is key to success. 
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC) - This section assesses the ability to obtain information from written material. Strong reading comprehension skills are essential. 
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK) – This section measures knowledge of math concepts and applications. A solid foundation in high school mathematics concepts is advantageous. 
  • Electronics Information (EI) – This section assesses electrical current, circuits, devices, and electronic systems knowledge. Previous coursework or experience in electronics can be beneficial. 
  • Automotive and Shop Information (AS) - This section gauges knowledge of automotive maintenance and repair and understanding of wood and metal shop practices. The section is unique – since it includes two different sub-sections, which are presented as individual, short sections in the CAT-ASVAB test. 
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC)This section tests mechanical and physical principles knowledge. Understanding basic mechanical devices and processes is crucial. 
  • Assembling Objects (AO) - This section evaluates spatial orientation and understanding of how to put objects together. A knack for visualizing how pieces fit together is valuable. 

The number of questions and timeframe differs based on the test type. The following table demonstrates the differences between the P&P and the CAT-ASVAB:

 

Section 

CAT-ASVAB 

P&P-ASVAB 

Questions 

Timeframe 

Questions 

Timeframe 

GS 

15 

12 

25 

11 

AR 

15 

55 

30 

36 

WK 

15 

9 

35 

11 

PC 

10 

27 

15 

13 

MK 

15 

31 

25 

24 

EI 

15 

10 

20 

9 

AI 

10 

7 

25 

11 

SI 

10 

7 

MC 

15 

22 

25 

19 

AO 

15 

18 

25 

15 

Total 

135 

198 

225 

149 

 

While there are fewer questions in the CAT-ASVAB test, the timeframe is longer. This can be attributed to the adaptive, individual nature of the computerized test, which provides additional time for each question. Go to our Free ASVAB Test page to find additional information regarding each section and practice questions, including valuable solving tips. 


ASVAB Scoring 


The ASVAB test sums up to a certain score based on the number of questions answered correctly in each section. However, since not all branches require different scoring, the ASVAB test is divided into different scoring methods, comprising different sections in their calculation.
 

You can find further explanations regarding the ASVAB scores in our ASVAB Score Guide page. 

AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) – This score combines scores from four ASVAB subtests: AR, MK, WK, and PC. It determines if you’re eligible to enlist in the armed forces. Each military branch has its minimum score requirement. The scores may differ annually; however, they are usually around the following scores: 

  • Air Force – 31 
  • Army – 31 
  • Marine Corps – 32 
  • Navy – 35 
  • Coast Guard - 36 

The required scores are for High School Seniors / High School Diploma Recipients. For GED holder, the minimal score for all the branches is 50. 

The main challenges of the AFQT are managing time effectively and mastering a broad range of skills, from arithmetic to word knowledge. Therefore, you will need to make an effort into practicing and improving the four AFQT sections. 

Qualifying for military service is not the only purpose of the AFQT score. The scores are divided into AFQT categories according to their respective percentile score range. High categories may qualify for different, more demanded, and prestigious positions, as well as enlistment incentives – according to each individual branch: 

AFQT Category 

Percentile Score Range 

I 

93 – 99 

II 

65 – 92 

IIIA 

50 – 64 

IIIB 

31 – 49 

IV 

10 – 30 

V 

1 – 9 

 

MOS (Military Occupational Specialties) – This score is derived from different ASVAB sections based on the skills required from each line of profession. Each military branch has its MOS or job positions, and each MOS has its required ASVAB scores. For example, an electronics-related job might require a high score on the Electronics Information subtest. 

Different combinations of these subtest scores lead to composite scores. Each branch of the military has its method of calculating and labeling these composite scores, and they use them to determine which MOS or job roles an individual is qualified for. Here is a short list of sections included in different line (composite) scores (Note that VE stands for Verbal Expression, a combination of WK and PC):  

Line Scores  

Subjects 

Combat – CO 

AS+AR+MC 

Clerical- CL 

AR+MK+VE 

Electronics- EL 

AR+ GS+ EI+ MK 

General Maintenance- GM 

AS+ GS+ EI+ MK 

Field Artillery- FA 

AR+ MK+ MC 

Mechanical Maintenance- MM 

AS+ EI+ MC 

General Technical- GT 

AR+ VE 

Operators and Food- OF 

AS+ MC+ VE 

Skilled Technical- ST 

GS+ MC+MK+ VE 

Surveillance and Communications- SC 

AR+ AS+ MC+ VE 

 

Because composite scores comprise individual subtest scores, performing well across all subtests can broaden the range of recruitment. However, if you are interested in a specific job, you should focus on the subtests most relevant to the composite score for that MOS. 


How to Succeed in the ASVAB Test? 

The ASVAB Test measures various common skills and basic knowledge in different fields. While it does not usually include questions in advanced difficulty, the narrow timeframe, wide skillsets, and other factors such as pressure make the exam very challenging. 

We’ve compiled a few general tips to help you improve before your upcoming ASVAB Test: 

  1. Start with the AFQT – Since all applicants must pass the basic AFQT score for each branch, we recommend beginning your practice in the AFQT sections before continuing. Reading articles, revising basic arithmetic operations, and increasing your vocabulary are some basic yet proven methods to improve in the AFQT sections. 
  2. Practice what’s relevant – Before preparing for the ASVAB Test, you should know what line of professions (MOS) you desire and practice only the relevant sections ahead. For example, if you want to serve in mechanical maintenance, you should focus your practice on MK, AS, and EI.
  3. Make a study plan – whether you have two days, two weeks, or two months to prepare for the ASVAB Test, reflect on the time you should spend on preparing each day.                                                                                                                 - Short preparation: if you have a relatively short time to prepare for the ASVAB test, you should begin instantly with practice simulations, analyze your strengths and weaknesses, and put a great effort into practicing your weaker suits in the short time to see better results, and only if there’s spare time left, practice other sections.                            - Long preparation: you should also start by analyzing your strengths and weaknesses here. However, the next step would be to incorporate all of the sections in your preparation, attempt to find answering methods that suit you best, and leave practice sources to later stages of the preparation.
  4. Practice in the test format and timing: while the basic preparation methods are useful, they can only improve your abilities to a certain extent. The best way to improve ahead of the test is to practice questions like the questions on the test in the same format and in test-like timeframes. This essential step to success can be achieved using our All-Inclusive ASVAB PrepPack, where you will find guided practice based on hundreds of practice questions, including detailed explanations, guides, and valuable solving tips. 
  5. Mental work and the day of the test: pressure will be your greatest enemy ahead of the ASVAB Test. To clear some of the uncertainty ahead of the test, you can go to our Free ASVAB Practice Test and our ASVAB Score Guide. Get a good night's sleep the day before the test, get to the test-taking location at least half an hour before the designated time, bring snacks and water, and remember that the test is not definitive – and can be retaken after a certain amount of time.  

 

Get the Best Preparation For Your Upcoming Exam


Access our All-Inclusive ASVAB PrepPack starting at only $79. Get the most accurate studying materials and tips to develop the best answering strategy. JobTestPrep helps you ace the test with:

  • Full ASVAB introduction simulation to better assess your abilities and build a personalized prep plan.
  • Hundreds of practice questions with detailed explanations for each section.
  • Three full AFQT Simulations
  • Guides and extra practice material.

 

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