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How does the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) work?


Are you joining the military, whether it be the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard or Coast Guard) and do you have to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB)? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered! offers realistic test simulations to help you prepare for the ASVAB.

The Armed forces use the ASVAB for multiple branches of service in the armed forces. It is used in the application procedure of the following branches:

What does the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery assess?

The ASVAB is a multiple choice test, administered by the US Military Entrance Processing Stations (also called MEPS), used to determine qualification for enlistment in the armed forces. The test measures developed abilities and helps to predict future academic and occupational success in the military. The ASVAB is either administered by computer (called CAT-ASVAB) or in paper-and-pencil form (called P&P-ASVAB). Roughly 70% of military applicants take the test via computer. The testing procedures will vary depending on the mode of administration.

The ASVAB tests are designed to measure aptitudes in four domains, being verbal, math, science and technical, and spatial. The content of the ASVAB test is as follows:

  • General Science (GS) - Regards knowledge of physical and biological sciences (domain: science/technical)
  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) - Regards the ability to solve arithmetic word problems (domain: math)
  • Word Knowledge (WK) - Ability to select the correct meaning of a word presented in context and to identify the best synonym for a given word (domain: verbal)
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC) - Ability to obtain information from written passages (domain: verbal)
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK) - Knowledge of high school mathematics (domain: math)
  • Electronics Information (EI) - Knowledge of electricity and electronics (domain: science/technical)
  • *Automotive Information (AI) - Knowledge of automobile technology (domain: science/technical)
  • *Shop Information (SI) - Knowledge of tools and shop terminology and practices (domain: science/technical)
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC) - Knowledge of mechanical and physical principles (domain: science/technical)
  • Assembling Object (AO) - Ability to determine how an object will look when its parts are put together (domain: spatial)

* The Automotive Information (AI) and Shop information (SI) tests are administered as separate tests in the computerized version of the test (CAT-ASVAB), but combined into one single score (labeled AS). The Automotive Information (AI) and Shop Information (SI) tests are combined into one test in the paper-and-pencil version of the test (P&P-ASVAB). 

What you should know about the ASVAB tests

As discussed, there are differences between the computerized and the paper-and-pencil ASVAB test. However, regardless of whether you take the ASVAB by computer or paper-and-pencil, scores should be very similar.  

The computerized ASVAB (CAT-ASVAB) test is adaptive, which means that the test adapts to your ability level. The test software is developed in such a way that it selects items that are suitable for your ability level, based on your responses to earlier items in the test. Another thing to remember is that you are not able to review or change answers once you have submitted them. The average candidate takes about one and a half hours to complete the test. The CAT-ASVAB consists of a total of 145 questions and 154-minute time limit, divided as follows:

  • General Science (GS) - 16 questions with an 8-minute time limit
  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) - 16 questions with a 39-minute time limit
  • Word Knowledge (WK) - 16 questions with an 8-minute time limit
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC) - 11 questions with a 22-minute time limit
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK) - 16 questions with a 20-minute time limit
  • Electronics Information (EI) - 16 questions with a 8-minute time limit
  • Automotive Information (AI) - 11 questions with a 7-minute time limit
  • Shop Information (SI) - 11 questions with a 6-minute time limit
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC) - 16 questions with a 20-minute time limit
  • Assembling Object (AO) - 16 questions with a 16-minute time limit

The paper and pencil test is administered traditionally, which means that all examinees take the same set of questions at the same time. Another difference with the computerized test is that during the P&P test you are allowed to review your answers. An important thing to remember here is that if you run out of time on the P&P version of the ASVAB, it is to your advantage to fill in random guesses for the remaining items, as there is no penalty for guessing answers. The average candidate takes about three and a half hours to complete the test. The P&P-ASVAB test consists of a total of 225 questions and a 149-minute time limit, divided as follows:

  • General Science (GS) - 25 questions with an 11-minute time limit
  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) - 30 questions with a 36-minute time limit
  • Word Knowledge (WK) - 35 questions with an 11-minute time limit
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC) - 15 questions with a 13-minute time limit
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK) - 25 questions with a 24-minute time limit
  • Electronics Information (EI) - 20 questions with a 9-minute time limit
  • Automotive and Shop Information (AS) - 25 questions with an 11-minute time limit
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC) - 25 questions with a 19-minute time limit
  • Assembling Object (AO) - 25 questions with a 15-minute time limit

Preparing for the ASVAB can be stressful due to the fact that you don’t know what to expect. The best way to familiarize yourself is with practice tests that mimic the actual tests. has prepared thousands of candidates for different assessments and aptitude tests by offering realistic test simulations with fully worked solutions.

ASVAB General Science Test

The ASVAB General Science Test is designed to test your ability to recognize, apply, and analyze scientific principles. The questions involve topics of various fields of science including, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, and medicine. The official ASVAB test comprises 16 questions with a time limit of 8 minutes.


Example ASVAB General Science Test question.

The right answer is B, "Hydrochloric Acid."

Explanation: Hydrochloric acid constitutes the majority of gastric acid, the human digestive fluid. In a process known as proteolysis, Hydrochloric Acid converts pepsinogen into the pepsin. Pepsin then helps break the bonds linking amino acids, herby aiding digestion.

ASVAB Arithmetic Reasoning Test

The ASVAB Arithmetic Reasoning Test is designed to measure your mathematical reasoning skills and understanding of given information. The questions involve basic mathematical calculations, presented in short texts.

The mathematical problems in the test can be:

  • Operations with whole numbers
  • Operations with fraction, decimals, and money
  • Ratio and proportion
  • Calculating interest and percentage
  • Measurement of a perimeter, area, volume, time, and temperature

The official ASVAB test comprises 16 questions, and you have 39 minutes to finish.


Example ASVAB Arithmetic Reasoning Test question.

The right answer is C, $1641.73

Explanation: Each year, after depreciation, the mobile phone costs 88 % i.e., (100 % - 12 %), of its previous year’s value. So after first year, the cost of the mobile = 88 % of 2120 $ = 1865.60 $. After second year, the cost of the mobile phone = 88 % of $1865.60 = 0.88 * 1865.60 = $1641.73. 

ASVAB Word Knowledge Test

The ASVAB Word Knowledge Test comes in two question forms. You can be presented with a single word or with a short sentence. Your task is to choose the correct definitions of verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. The official ASVAB test comprises of 16 questions with a time limit of 8 minutes.


Example ASVAB Word Knowledge Test question.

The right answer is C, "Support."

Explanation: Buttress mostly refers to a structure built against a wall to support it.

ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Test

The ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Test measures literal comprehension, implicit, inferential, or critical comprehension and comprehension of the main idea or words in context. You are provided with short passages about various topics. The official ASVAB test comprises 11 questions and you have 22 minutes to finish.


Example ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Test question.

The right answer is D, "Hippo Sandal."

Explanation: The second line of the passage mentions ‘The horse-shoe or ‘hippo sandal’ has undergone a lot of changes over the years’.

ASVAB Mathematics Knowlegde Test

The ASVAB Mathematics Knowledge Test is designed to measure your understanding and ability to recognize and apply mathematical concepts, principles, and procedures. The questions in this test assess your knowledge of basic high school mathematics. The official ASVAB test comprises of 16 questions with a time limit of 20 minutes.


Example ASVAB Mathematics Knowledge Test question.

The right answer is A, y^12.
Explanation: When the bases are the same, we get the product by adding the powers of the two bases and keeping the bases as it is. Hence the solution is y^5 .y^7 = y ^(5+7) = y^12.

ASVAB Electronics Information Test

The ASVAB Electronics Information Test is designed to measure your basic knowledge or principles of electrical and electronics systems. The questions involve details about electronic principles, terminology, and circuitry. The official ASVAB test comprises 16 questions, and you have 8 minutes to finish.


Example ASVAB Electronics Information Test question.

The right answer is D, PTC Thermistor.
Explanation: A Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) Thermistor is one in which resistance increases as temperature increases. This property is used to overcurrent conditions. Hence PTC Thermistors are used in a series as resettable fuses.

ASVAB Automotive Information Test

The ASVAB Auto Information Test measures your knowledge of automotive components, systems, tools, troubleshooting, and repair. The questions involve technical details about automotive mechanics and terms. The official ASVAB test comprises of 11 questions with a time limit of 7 minutes.


Example ASVAB Automotive Information Test question.

The right answer is C, Wrist pin.

Explanation: In Internal Combustion engines, the wrist pin (also known as gudgeon pin), connects the piston to the connecting rod. The wrist pin provides a bearing for the connecting rod to pivot upon as the piston moves.

ASVAB Shop Information Test

The ASVAB Shop Information Test includes questions on building construction and general shop practice. The test is designed to assess your understanding of how to use specific tools, as well as methods used in construction and shops. The official ASVAB test comprises 11 questions, and you have 6 minutes to finish.


Example ASVAB Shop Information Test question.

The right answer is A, H4.

Explanation: ASME standards specify duty classes of a hoist. An H4 duty class means that the hoist can handle large volumes of heavy load and its total running time <=50% of its working period. 

ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Test

The ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Test covers general mechanics, physical principles, and principles of simple machines such as gears, pulleys, levers, force, and fluid dynamics. The assessment gives an indication of the performance on tasks that require the understanding of mechanical principles. The official ASVAB test comprises of 16 questions with a time limit of 20 minutes.


Example ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Test question.

The right answer is A, 10:1 to 14:1.
Explanation: Compression ratio is the ratio of the volume of the combustion chamber when the piston is at the bottom of its stroke to the volume of the combustion chamber when the piston is at the top of its stroke. Since petrol is more volatile, the compression ratio for petrol engines is lower than diesel engines and is in the order of 10:1 to 14:1.

ASVAB Assembling Objects

The ASVAB Assembling Objects Test is designed to measure your ability to determine how an object should look when it is put back together. It also measures, general mechanics and physical principles, spatial relations and problem-solving abilities. The official ASVAB test comprises 16 questions with a time limit of 16 minutes.


Example ASVAB Assembling Objects Test question.

The right answer is D.


Tips and tricks to ace your ASVAB

Doing some research about the tests that you need to take is the most important step in preparation for any aptitude test. If you know what to expect you will increase your chances of performing well because you’re familiar with the formats. Also, by practicing aptitude tests, you will reveal your own strengths and weaknesses that you can work on in preparation for the actual assessment.

These effective test-taking strategy tips and ticks are well worth remembering before you take the actual ASVAB:

  • Practice, practice and practice some more to ace your ASVAB! 
  • Read the question and instructions properly. Even though this seems logical, often candidates miss out very important information. Multiple-choice tests use so-called ‘distractors’ as answer possibilities. These distractors are answers options which are deliberately similar to the right answer; in other words, the answer possibilities are designed to test if you read the question and provided information property. 
  • Therefore, take your time to read the information provided carefully. 
  • Don’t leave questions blank. As discussed earlier, the ASVAB does not penalize you for guessing, which means that points are not deducted for wrong answers (On the computerized version you can’t leave any questions blank). 
  • This might sound logical, but make sure that you mark each answer on the correct space on your provided answer sheet. 
  • No calculators are allowed during the ASVAB, therefore, be prepared with a pen and a piece of paper.

How can help you ace your ASVAB? is the market leader in online assessment preparation. With our continuous research and development, we provide a leading-edge e-learning platform. We keep improving our tests to deliver tests with the same standards of the latest tests of all the big assessment publishers. Our products help candidates complete their application fully prepared. Our goal is to help you get ready for your assessment, regardless the company, job, or level you are applying for!

To help you ace your ASVAB we put together a preparation package, tailor-made for ASVAB. These tests contain the same questions you can expect in your actual ASVAB. The ASVAB Preparation Package consists of the following tests:

  • ASVAB General Science Test
  • ASVAB Arithmetic Reasoning Test
  • ASVAB Word Knowledge Test
  • ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Test
  • ASVAB Mathematics Knowledge Test 
  • ASVAB Electronics Information Test
  • ASVAB Automotive Information Test
  • ASVAB Shop Information Test
  • ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Test

All practice tests come with worked solutions and an explanation on how to get to the right answer. Our Personal Progression System will help you track your progress and give a detailed view of your performances. Assessment-Training is more than just a training platform, we are here to help you!

Start training now and get immediate access to the tests and practice 24/7 on your computer, phone or tablet!

The customer service representatives team found that through practice candidates increased their scoring accuracy and went into their assessments more confident. Remember, it’s not really about how intelligent you are; you just need to practice to make sure you familiarize yourself with the test formats, work on your accuracy and experience performing under time-pressure.

Each of the practice tests that offers, has some free sample questions. Click on the links below to go to that specific test information page and take the practice tests: 

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ASVAB Preparation Package

This package offers extensive practice tests for all subjects in the ASVAB. Practice now and start your ASVAB with confidence!
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