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The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a test for high school students taken when they are in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, but also available to anyone who is eligible for enlistment into the armed forces. You are also eligible to retake the test to get a higher score if need be. Though it isn’t required to enter the U.S. military, it can give you a good idea of what military jobs and placements would be best for you. When taking the test, there are some things to keep in mind so that you can score the highest based on your skill set and are qualified to enlist.

Know the test

Depending on where you take the test, it will either be a pencil-and-paper test or a computerized test. These vary differently in terms of what and how many questions are asked. Be sure you know which one you will be taking ahead of time.

Computerized ASVAB

If you are taking the ASVAB at a Military Entrance Processing Station, you will take the test on a computer. Each section of the test is timed. The computerized ASVAB consists of questions concerning:

●       16 General Science (9 min)

●       16 Word Knowledge (8 min)

●       16 Assembling Objects (16 min)

●       11 Auto and Shop Information (7 min)

●       16 Arithmetic Reasoning (39 min)

●       16 Mechanical Comprehension (20 min)

●       11 Paragraph Comprehension (22 min)

●       16 Electronics Information (8 min)

●       16 Mathematics Knowledge (20 min)


If you are taking the ASVAB test at a Military Entrance Test site, you will more than likely take the paper version, which is slightly different than the computerized version. Each section is also timed. The paper ASVAB consists of these questions:

●       25 General Science (11 min)

●       35 Word Knowledge (11 min)

●       25 Assembling Objects (15 min)

●       25 Auto and Shop Information (11 min)

●       30 Arithmetic Reasoning (36 min)

●       25 Mechanical Comprehension (19 min)

●       15 Paragraph Comprehension (13 min)

●       20 Electronics Information (9 min)

●       25 Mathematics Knowledge (24 min)

Each section of the test is meant to holistically evaluate your knowledge and help you understand where you fit best in the military.

How to study for the ASVAB

Though the test evaluates your current knowledge, you should still study for it as much as you can before taking it. If you are going into the military, this test will determine your qualifications for certain jobs. So, if you have your heart set on getting a specific job, make sure that you study and do well on sections of the test that are applicable to that job.

There are many study guides and books that you can pay for to help you study, as well as free options online. Do your research to ensure you are using a study guide that is up to date and applicable to the test you will be taking. Study each section individually, first, and then go back over the sections that you are having trouble with.

Take a practice test

One of the best ways to test your knowledge is by taking practice tests. You can find practice tests here and many other websites online. When you take these practice tests, time yourself as if you were taking the actual test so that you know where you stand. A good strategy to use while taking the test is to skip questions that you don’t know right away, and then go back to them after you have finished the other questions.

Making a good guess

Sometimes you won’t know the answer, and that’s fine, but you should know when to make a good guess. Completely skipping the question will give you a zero no matter what, so you might as well take your chances. Most questions will be multiple choice, so you have a 25% chance of getting it right.

First, eliminate answers that you know for sure aren’t correct. Then, gauge the likelihood of the rest of the answers being right. Typically, you will be able to eliminate one or two more answers that are very close to having the same meaning. The more you can narrow down the possibility of the answers being correct, the greater likelihood you have of guessing the answer correctly.