Ace the PiCAT Test: 2024 Preparation & Practice
Arbel Yellin

Arbel, PiCAT Test Expert at JobTestPrep.

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What Is the PiCAT Test?

Interested in joining the US military? That’s Great! Americans enlist in the military for various reasons, be it out of patriotism, job options and benefits, or an opportunity to see the world. The common link between them is the enlisting process, and it’s there where they face the PiCAT military test. 

The PiCAT test is a qualification assessment used by all US Military branches for screening recruits. As applicants for all branches undergo the same initial process, you may have heard of the Army PiCAT, Navy PiCAT, USMC PiCAT, and other PiCAT exams. Don’t sweat. They all mean the same.  

The Test Includes 9 categories, with the first four sections (also called the AFQT) being critical for qualifying for service and the overall score for determining your potential roles in the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. 


The PiCAT exam includes 145 questions separated into sections of 11-16 questions each. 
It has no time limit and supervision, so you can take it from a Military Entrance Processing Station, at home, or any other location with a proper internet connection.

Getting a high score on the test is not enough, as you will also have to pass a proctored  PiCAT verification test to validate your score.

To take the test, contact a military recruiter. You will be provided with a 48-hour access code that will last for 30 days. 

Here’s what you are going to face in the PiCAT test: 

The PiCAT Question Categories Explained

There are 9 categories on the test (10 if you separate auto information and shop information):

Word Knowledge (WK)

An assessment of your vocabulary and verbal skills through the understanding and recognizing of word synonyms.

Paragraph Comprehension (PC)

An assessment of your capacity to gather information from written passages, evaluating reading comprehension and content interpretation.

Mathematics Knowledge (MK)

An assessment of your proficiency in solving mathematical problems, including algebra and geometry.

Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)

An assessment of your ability to solve arithmetic word problems and mathematical reasoning.

General Science (GS)

An assessment of your knowledge in biology, chemistry, physics, and earth sciences. 

Electronics Information (EI)

An assessment of your understanding of electricity, current circuits, and radio topics.

Automotive and Shop Information (AS)

An assessment of your auto and shop knowledge, including standard shop tools, automobile systems, and repairs.

Mechanical Comprehension (MC)

An assessment of your understanding of mechanical devices, processes, and physical principles.

Assembling Objects (AO)

An assessment of your spatial visualization capabilities, graphs, and technical reading.


Another category is Verbal Expression (VE), which is a mixed score of Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension and plays a part in the PiCAT score. 

The top four categories listed, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematical knowledge, and Arithmetic Reasoning, make up the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT).
These categories constitute the overall AFQT score you need for enlisting. Thus, failing them will automatically disqualify your PiCAT exam, and you will not be able to continue.
This is why focusing your preparation on these sections is a priority. 

PiCAT Test Sample Questions

Below are sample questions for the categories included in the AFQT, straight out of our practice tests. Just like the questions in the real test, they have actual possible answer choices. Remember — the test has no time limit, so take your time.

Word Knowledge Sample Question

“The forfeit for a late return of the book was 12$.” 
A. Price
B. Gain
C. Mulct
D. Benefit
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is C.

Forfeit means the loss or deprivation of something (property or the right to do something) as a penalty for breaking the rules or wrongdoing. 
Mulct means the extraction of money from someone by fine, penalty or taxation. It can also mean doing so by defrauding a person. This option is the closest in meaning to forfeit and is therefore the correct answer.

Word Knowledge tip: Discard options that are obviously wrong.


Paragraph Comprehension Sample Question

People who are fleeing their homeland because of the threat of persecution or serious harm are to be granted asylum under the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Refugees. The refugee matter is a major problem for multi-border countries, such as the countries of the European Union (EU).  

There is a joint approach across the EU with regard to asylum, as the EU is an area of open borders and freedom of movement. Even though asylum flows are not constant, evenly distributed, or possible to anticipate, they cannot be treated as a lottery. EU member states have an equal responsibility to welcome asylum seekers in a dignified manner and treat them fairly. This is done to ensure that each case is examined according to uniform standards so that, no matter where the applicant is applying, they will be treated fairly. The EU has been working to create a Common European Asylum System (CEAS), as well as improving the current legislative framework.

Which of the following statements is correct?

A. It is possible to forecast the number of asylum seekers in times of persecution.
B. Different Standards regarding the acceptance of asylum seekers must be safeguarded
C. Asylum flows are evenly distributed in times of war.
D. Treating EU asylum seekers fairly is the responsibility of the EU.
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is D.
In this question, there are two ways to look at it. Either we can find the right answer by logically working out the answer, or it can be done by deduction. In this case, we can see that the other three possibilities cannot be correct as they are not congruent with the text. Therefore, D is left as the only possible answer.

Paragraph Comprehension tip: If an answer can't be reflected in the text - terminate it. Scan the text for identical phrases.


Mathematics Knowledge Sample Question

Army PiCAT mathematical knowledge

In the box above, BC = AB = 4 and CD = 7. What is the length of AD?

A. 8
B. √65
C. √80
D. 9
E. 10
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is D. 
ABC is an isosceles right triangle , thus BC = AB = 4, and AC = 4√2
ACD is a right triangle, thus AC2 + CD2 = AD2
⇒ (4√2)2 +72 = 32 + 49 = 81.

Thus AD = 9

Mathematical Knowledge tip: Don't trust mental calculations. Use paper and pencil.


Arithmetic Reasoning Sample Question

In a box of marbles, the ratio of red marbles to total marbles is 2:5. The ratio of green marbles to total marbles is 3:10. If the marbles that are neither red nor green are blue, how many blue marbles are in the box if there are 40 marbles in the box?

A. 12
B. 16
C. 24
D. 28
Correct Answer
Incorrect Answer

The correct answer is A.

If there are 40 marbles in the box and the ratio of red marbles to total marbles is 2:5, then there are:

40×(⅖)=16 red marbles.

If the ratio of green marbles to total marbles is 3:10, then there are:

40×(3/10)=12 green marbles.

If the marbles that are neither red nor green are blue, then the total number of blue marbles is:

40 – 16 – 12 = 12 blue marbles.

Arithmetic Reasoning tip: Turn the text into data items and equations.


Get the Best Preparation For Your Upcoming Exam

Don't be intimidated by the math sections. Our PiCAT PrepPack includes detailed guides, test simulations, and dozens of practice tests that will ensure you ace the test. The score is going to have a great impact on your army career, so make sure you prepare thoroughly.  




Practice more sample questions by visiting our Free PiCAT TestFree ASVAB Practice, or Air Force ASVAB pages. 

What is the PiCAT Verification Test?

After finishing the test, you will have 45 days to complete the PiCAT verification test, taken at either a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or a Mobile Examination Test (MET) site.  

The 30-minute long proctored test includes 30 questions that are similar to those you already took. 


What Happens If You Fail the PiCAT Verification Test?

Your answers in the verification test should be consistent with your PiCAT answers. While a small score deviation is acceptable, it shouldn’t be more than that. Deviating too much will immediately start the full ASVAB test. As the verification test is proctored and does not allow using a calculator, cheating on your initial test will only do harm. 
If everything goes correctly — your PiCAT score will turn into your ASVAB score. 

Tip Lightbulb

Verification Test Tip: Even if you believe that an answer from the original test was wrong and that you know the correct one, breathe deeply and choose the same. As told, any deviations between your PiCAT and verification test score could be seen as a cheat. Also, notice that even with flawlessly accurate verification answers — there’s a chance that the system will automatically fail your test or just crush, in which case you will have to take the full ASVAB anyway. May the odds be ever in your favor. 

The PiCAT Test Scores

Your PiCAT score is separated into 2 parts:

1. your AFQT score, which determines your qualification to different military branches.

2. your composite score, which determines your potential success in different military role lines.

Understanding the PiCAT score chart and report will take you to the next step in test preparation, which will help you get the best results. Higher scores equal more opportunities.

Also, make sure to read about the ASVAB waiver.


The PiCAT Test vs. The ASVAB Test


  PiCAT test ASVAB test
How is it done? on a computer, can be taken everywhere with a solid internet connection on a computer or on paper, taken at MEPS or MET centre
Num of Questions 145 145 on the computer, 225 if taken with paper and pen
Time Limit No limit 3 hours
Verification Test yes no
Is it proctored? only the verification test yes
Wait period for retaking the test 2 years  1 month for the first retake, and 6 months for any additional one 
Score validity 5 years  2 years 


Pros of Taking the PiCAT

1. The PiCAT score will allow you to get a glimpse of your potential roles. This will give you extra thinking time before showing up at the MEPS.

2. If you scored low, you could take the ASVAB test and it will count as your score.

3. You may potentially save both time and pressure by taking the PiCAT test instead of the ASVAB test.

4. Taking the test from home may mean a higher score, and with the verification test being a shorter and similar version of the test you already did, as long as you prepared well — you will be alright 


Tips and Strategy

1. Look through the composite score chart and role lines to understand which question categories affect your role of interest and give it extra attention.

2. DO. NOT. CHEAT. Don’t look for answers online or use a calculator, they won’t be by your side in the verification test. 

3. Find out which question categories are your weak spots and practice accordingly to get the best results.


Achieve High and Get Your Role of Choice

People join the military for many different reasons. Start your journey with the best cards in your hands by solving full simulations and as many practice questions of each section with step-by-step explanations — created by our expert team. 





What is the PiCAT test? 

The Army PiCAT is a qualification test taken by all US military applicants before enlisting. The results help determine which jobs will suit you, and so are of high importance for your military career. 

How long is the PiCAT test?

There is no time limit for taking the Army PiCAT. You should be aware that the access code your recruiter will give you is valid for 48 hours, so taking your time too much may act as a time limit of its own.

How many questions are on the PiCAT verification test

The PiCAT verification test consists of 30 questions of the same difficulty you faced in the original test.

How many questions can you miss on the PiCAT verification test?

There is no official number, so the thumb rule is to answer as similarly as you did on the initial test.

What is the average PiCAT score? 

As the test score is relative to the percentage of test-takers you passed, 50 is the average score and an excellent goal to achieve. 

What is a good PiCAT score? 

As each branch of the US military has its own qualification standards, it is complex to answer. Minimum passing scores range from 31 to 40, depending on the branchso aiming for 50 is a wise move if you want to be on the safe side. 

Is the PiCAT harder than the ASVAB?

You will face similar questions in both tests. The main difference is the lack of time limit and supervision in the PiCAT, which may increase success for those suffering from test anxiety.

Should I Study for the PiCAT?

Absolutely! Preparing for the PiCAT will boost your test confidence and your score. Plus, it will reduce the chance that you answer inconsistent on similar questions in the verification test, which could result in taking the full ASVAB test.


If you have any specific questions related to your recruitment location, please contact your local military recruiter.




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