What Is the ASVAB Aptitude Test?
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, is an aptitude test administered by the United States Army. The results of the ASVAB inform the Army of the candidate’s suitability for the available roles within the different branches of service.
Candidates will take the ASVAB after they have applied to the Army. The test is given at schools or colleges and is proctored by workers with the federal government.
What to Expect on the ASVAB?
Candidates should prepare for a three-hour assessment. The ASVAB has ten total sections that correspond to the responsibilities and skills needed for an array of jobs in the Army. The test can be taken on paper or on a computer. Either way, a calculator is not allowed and a scratch piece of paper for working out problems is highly recommended.
The different sections on the ASVAB typically consist of multiple-choice questions. Candidates can expect the following subjects on the ASVAB:
- Arithmetic Reasoning
The arithmetic reasoning section of the ASVAB is a combination of math and word problems. There are twenty-five questions in this section that must be completed within twenty-nine minutes. This section includes questions about conversions, percentages, and basic mathematical operations.
- Assembling Objects
The assembling objects section is non-verbal. This means that, instead of numbers and letters, the questions are asked using shapes and illustrations. The test taker is presented with a reference object followed by four answer choices that depict what the object would look like pieced together or taken apart. They must choose the correct orientation of the reference object. The results inform the Army of the candidate’s spatial reasoning skills. The candidate will be granted thirty-nine minutes to answer sixteen questions.
- Auto and Shop Information
The auto and shop section consists of questions about vehicles including engines, maintenance, and components and their purpose. Candidates who succeed in this section will be recommended for roles focused on the upkeep and repairs of planes, ships, tanks, and other Army vehicles. This section is seven minutes long with a total of eleven questions.
- Electronics Information
The electronics information section covers the basics of electronics. This includes vocabulary, functions, and units of measurement. The questions will be similar to high school level physics or higher. This an eight-minute time constraint with sixteen multiple-choice questions.
- General Science
The general science portion of the ASVAB encompasses biology, chemistry, and environmental science among other scientific disciplines. The questions are multiple-choice and gear more toward the fundamentals of the subject. This section has an eight-minute time limit and sixteen questions.
- Mathematics Knowledge
The mathematics knowledge section also asks high school level math questions. They cover decimals, ratios, basic algebra and geometry, and the fundamental operations. The questions will come in the form of word problems, equations, and will sometimes be accompanied by graphs, tables or charts. Every candidate is required to have a basic understanding of math. There are sixteen questions that the candidate must answer in twenty minutes.
- Mechanical Comprehension
The mechanical comprehension section concerns the principles of mechanics. The candidate must answer sixteen questions in twenty minutes. This includes levers, pulleys, and gears. The questions use diagrams and images to illustrate the principles in question. The mechanical comprehension section is important for candidates that are interested in technical roles.
- Paragraph Comprehension
The paragraph comprehension test has eleven questions in which the candidates are given twenty-two minutes to answer. During this section, candidates will read brief passages, then answer a series of follow-up questions. The results of this section inform the Army of the candidate’s ability to follow instructions and apply information to tasks.
- Word Knowledge
The word knowledge section is eight minutes long with sixteen questions. There are questions about synonyms and antonyms as well as vocabulary and context. Candidates must be able to discern the meaning of a word based on its use in a paragraph. They should also be aware of the different meanings of words in sentences.
Candidates must score in the thirty-first percentile in order to proceed to the next stage of the recruitment process. Percentile scores compare results to the results of people of similar ages with similar backgrounds. For example, a score in the thirty-first means that the candidate scored better than thirty-one percent of their peers. A score lower than this and the candidate will be denied enrollment.
When Will I Take the ASVAB?
The ASVAB can be taken during three different times during the year. It is a general aptitude assessment that was developed by the Department of Defense. If the candidate has applied for a particular branch of the Army, they will be required to meet certain benchmarks set by the services.
- Coast Guard
Candidates interested in the Coast Guard must score in the fortieth percentile if they have a high school diploma or they must score in the fiftieth percentile with a GED. A good score on the math sections of the ASVAB is a must. This includes math knowledge or arithmetic reasoning.
- Air Force
The candidate can take the ASVAB or the Air Force Officer Qualifier Test (AFQT). The requirement scores for candidates who have applied to the air force is a thirty-six with a diploma or a sixty-five with a GED. The ASVAB for the Air Force includes a handful of additional sections.
Those who are interested in the Marines must score at least a thirty-two if they have a high school diploma or a fifty if they have a GED. The important sections for the ASVAB for the Marines include arithmetic reasoning, general science, and mathematics knowledge among others.
How to Prepare for the ASVAB?
The Army recommends about one to three months of preparation for the ASVAB. It is important for the candidate to do well if they want to be eligible for the position they are interested in with the service they wish to work for. Candidates are also subject to rejection by the Army if their scores are not up to the pre-determined standards.
One of the most highly recommended ways of preparing includes the use of online practice tests. Practice tests are helpful because they simulate the ASVAB by using equivalent questions and an identical structure. This gives candidates the chance to take the test and become comfortable with it before they have to sit the ASVAB. Practice tests can come in short or full-length versions depending on your needs. Further, practice tests are a popular choice because they show you your tentative score. This is useful because you can use this to estimate your score on the ASVAB and you can also use this to outline how much more practice you should do.
If you are looking for a warm-up to the practice tests or the ASVAB, sample questions are a great resource for you. Sample questions help you get accustomed to the material without the pressure of the time constraints. They are very beneficial if you want to improve your accuracy.