Enlist : Step 4 : Ace the ASVAB
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What is the ASVAB and why is it important?

The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is a multiple-choice test designed to evaluate your skills in ten areas. In the Army you will have a job which is referred to as an MOS. MOS is an anacronym for Military Occupational Specialty. The job opportunities open to you in the Army will be determined by your score on the ASVAB.

The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is a multiple-choice test designed to evaluate your skills in ten areas:

  • General Science
  • Arithmetic Reasoning
  • Word Knowledge
  • Paragraph Comprehension
  • Numerical Operations
  • Coding Speed
  • Auto and Shop Information
  • Mathematics Knowledge
  • Mechanical Comprehension and
  • Electronics

Other ASVAB Information

  • The ASVAB has a total number of 200 items
  • The Test Time is 134 minutes
  • Administrative Time is 46 minutes
  • The Total Test Time is 180 minutes

Note: "Numerical Operations" and "Coding Speed" were formerly addressed on ASVAB, but have been discontinued.


General Science covers the material generally taught in junior and senior high school science courses. Most of the questions deal with life and physical science. There are also a few questions on earth science. The life science items deal with basic biology, human nutrition, and health. The physical science items are concerned with elementary chemistry and physics. Fundamentals of geology, meteorology, and astronomy may be included in the earth science area.

Arithmetic Reasoning covers basic mathematical problems generally encountered in everyday life. These questions are designed to measure general reasoning and the ability to solve mathematical problems.

Word Knowledge tests ability to understand the meaning of words through synonyms—words that have the same or nearly the same meaning as other words. The test questions may appear in either of two forms: (1) the key word appears in the stem and is followed by “most nearly means,” or (2) the key word is used in a sentence.

Paragraph Comprehension consists of reading paragraphs that vary in length from one paragraph to several, and they are followed by one or more questions.

Numerical Operations contains simple, two-number computations in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. All numbers are one- or two-digit whole numbers.

Auto & Shop Information covers the material generally taught in automobile mechanics in vocational-technical schools and in shop instruction. The automotive information may also be acquired as a hobby or by working with automobiles. The questions generally pertain to diagnosing malfunctions of a car, the use of particular parts on a car, or meaning of terminology. The shop information may also be acquired as a hobby or through shop experience using a variety of tools and materials.

Mathematics Knowledge measures general mathematical knowledge. It is a test of your ability to solve problems using high school mathematics, including algebra and some basic geometry.

Mechanical Comprehension measures your understanding of mechanical and physical principles. Many of the questions use drawings to illustrate specific principles. Understanding of these principles comes from observing the physical world, working with or operating mechanical devices, or reading and studying.

Electronics Information deals with electricity, radio principles, and electronics. This information can be learned through working on radios, working on electrical equipment, reading books, or taking courses.

Assembling Objects is only provided on the computer-based test and requires the test taker to determine how parts of an object might logically fit together.

Preparing for the ASVAB

You can obtain a higher score on the ASVAB by preparing properly. You should begin preparing for the tests ahead of time by:

  • studying subject matter,
  • reviewing sample questions in practice exercises,
  • and by taking practice test batteries.

Tips to help you prepare for the ASVAB:

1. Become familiar with the format of multiple-choice test items. The ASVAB uses only multiple choice questions.

2. Become familiar with the layout of machine-scored answer sheets. Make sure you understand how to correctly blacken the space in the correct manner.

3. Find out what the test will cover.
ASVAB, 18th Edition, is an excellent source for test-taking tips and strategies as well as information about what type of questions to expect. You should also contact your guidance counselor for additional help test-taking tips.

4. Review subject matter covered in the test.
Review the content in the Strengthening Your Weaknesses section of ASVAB, 18th Edition. This reviews the basics for each subject test.

5. Take a practice test under actual test conditions.
Answer all questions within the allotted time of the actual test.

6. Check your answers at the end of the practice test.
For questions answered incorrectly, try to determine why you answered them incorrectly. Getting the correct answer isn't always enough. Be sure that you also understand the rationale for arriving at the correct answer. This is important to expand your knowledge in the subject areas and have a better understanding of the types of questions that may appear on the test.

7. Set aside time every day for study.
Keep this schedule everyday. Concentrate during this time and do not waste time taking frequent breaks.

8. Study with a friend or a group.
This can be really helpful and may ease the stress of studying. You can also quiz each other on different subjects as needed. In addition if a group is depending on you to meet with them you are less likely to put off the study session.

9. Eliminate distractions.
Studying is easier when there are little or no distractions. Try to find a quiet room in which to study and, if necessary, use the library.

10. Keep physically fit.
You will perform better if you are in good physical and mental shape. You cannot study as effectively when you are tired, ill, or tense. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, exercise, and eating a well balanced diet.

Should You Guess on Test Day?

If you do not know the answer to a multiple-choice test item, should you guess? Yes! There is no penalty for incorrect answers on the ASVAB, so it is to your advantage to answer every question. First try to eliminate any answers that you feel are definitely wrong, and make your selection from the remaining answers.

Be sure to remember these three important points when preparing for the ASVAB and making a decision about guessing:

1. Answer all items. There is no penalty for wrong answers.
2. An "educated" guess is better than guessing "blindly."
3. Guessing "blindly" is better than not guessing at all.


As with any comprehensive test there are some important things to remember. A comprehensive test is designed to show extensive understanding of the subject being tested. It is important that you study and prepare for the ASVAB but trying to "cram" the night before is counterproductive.

Prepare well in advance so that the day before the test you can get a good night's sleep and not be worried about the test. DO NOT STUDY THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TEST. Watch a movie, watch TV, listen to music. Do something that you find relaxing.

Typically, you will wait in line to take the test. When your group (usually a group of 2 or 3) is called to take the test, remember to LISTEN closely and FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. You may have an excellent knowledge base but if you can't follow the instructions you will not be successful. If you do not understand the instructions by all means ASK QUESTIONS. It is the responsibility of the MEPS personnel administering the test to answer your questions and to help you.

When you are actually sitting before the computer take a few deep breaths and listen very carefully. There are only a few keys on the keyboard that you will use in taking the test. Pressing an invalid key may disqualify your test requiring that you retake it on another day.

Read the questions carefully and evaluate your answer. Remember these are timed test but do not rush. You should have ample time to answer each question. If you skip a question you CANNOT GO BACK. So answer as best you can then move on.

Things You Can Not Do:

  • Talk to other people taking the ASVAB
  • Press invalid keys on the keyboard
  • Skip questions-you cannot go back

Things You Definitely Need To Do:

  • Ask questions if you don't understand
  • Go to the bathroom
  • Follow instructions carefully
  • If you don't know the answer it is better to make an educated guess than to leave it unanswered since an you are not penalized for incorrect answers

If you.re ready to become Army Strong, Click here to fill in your details. You.ll receive information about how the Army can provide you with confidence and discipline that you can draw upon for a lifetime. With hands-on training, personal discipline and a shared sense of accomplishment, you.ll develop the mental, physical and emotional strengths you.ll need to surpass your peers. Fill out the form to find out how you can become Army Strong.

7 Steps to Join the Army

Step 1 - Is The Army Right For Me?

Step 2 - Choose The Right Path

Step 3 - Talk To The Recruiter

Step 4 - Ace The ASVAB

Step 5 - Process In

Step 6 - Choose Your Army Job

Step 7 - Get Ready For Bootcamp


Contact A Recruiter

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