This ASVAB study guide will give you all of the information you need to prepare for this nationally recognized exam.
The Armed Forces Qualification Test (ASVAB) evaluates your knowledge and competence in a variety of areas. It is a comprehensive exam that covers subjects like mathematics, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and more!
The ASVAB test is a multiple-choice test designed by the Department of Defense to evaluate your mental fitness for recruitment into the United States Army. The ASVAB determines which Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) you are eligible for. Applicants can take the ASVAB in a computerized format at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or in a paper format at various Military Entrance Test (MET) sites across the country, including high schools and colleges.
ASVAB Study Guide: Into ASVAB Sections
The ASVAB test is a combination of 9 subsections that are crafted to carefully measure a test taker’s academic prowess and technical aptitude. This ASVAB study guide will list all sections as follows and what they cover.
ASVAB Arithmetic Reasoning
Questions in the Arithmetic reasoning subtest relate to the process of solving math word problems – you know those questions you had in elementary, middle, and high school
You will need to take mathematical information (related to numbers, relationships, etc.) and create an arithmetic problem, and then solve it to find the right answer.
Whether you enjoy these types of problems or dread them, there is a process you can use to solve them quicker and easier. Your test administrator will provide you with scratch paper and two pencils for this portion of the ASVAB test. Calculators are not allowed. If you are taking the pencil-and-paper test, you will have 36 minutes to answer 30 questions and if you are taking the computer version, you will have 39 minutes to complete 16 questions.
Read more >> ASVAB Arithmetic Reasoning Study Guide
ASVAB Assembling Objects
The Assembling Objects subtest of the ASVAB is designed to measure your knowledge on visualizing spatial relationships. In this section of the ASVAB, you will be required to view pieces of an object and then decide how those pieces fit together. If you’re asking yourself why this ability is important, the answer is because good spatial skills allow people to figure out maps and interpret graphs and technical drawings. For the Assembling Objects subtest, you will have 15 minutes to solve 16 problems on the CAT-ASVAB test and 16 minutes to finish 25 questions on the paper version of the ASVAB.
Read more >> Assembling Objects ASVAB study guide
ASVAB Auto and Shop Information
The Auto and Shop Information subtest of the ASVAB question is about automobile systems and functions/malfunctions and questions involve common shop tools and fasteners and their uses. While your Auto and Shop Information subtest score is used to decide various job qualifications, it is not used in determining your Armed Forces Qualification Test score. On the ASVAB for the Auto and Shop Information subtest, you will have 7 minutes to answer 11 auto-related questions and 6 minutes to complete 11 shop-related questions. On the paper version of the ASVAB, you will have 11 minutes to finish 25 questions, which are usually split between auto-related questions and shop-related questions.
Read more >> ASVAB Auto and Shop Information Study Guide
ASVAB Electronics Information
The ASVAB Electronics Information subtest covers electricity principles and electronic devices, including radios, televisions, magnets, motors, transistors, and much, much more. For this subtest, you will have 8 minutes to complete 16 questions when you take the CAT-ASVAB. You will have 9 minutes to finish 20 questions on the pencil and paper version of the ASVAB test.
The Electronics Information subtest covers a handful of electrical-related subjects. You will need to know major electrical concepts, including how to use conductors, currents, circuits, and insulators, among other things. You also need to know various types of conductors and insulators and how effective they are. That’s not all, you also need to know the different ways electricity can be used, the different types of electrical current, and more.
Read more >> ASVAB Electronics Information Study Guide
ASVAB General Science
The General Science subtest of the ASVAB measures your knowledge of a variety of sciences, including Earth science, biology, chemistry, health, and more. The General Science subtest is NOT a part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test score. However, it is used to help determine qualifications for a number of specific military jobs. On this subtest, you will have 25 questions to answer in 11 minutes on the paper version of the ASVAB and you have 16 questions to answer in 8 minutes on the CAT-ASVAB.
Read more >> ASVAB General Science Study Guide
ASVAB Mathematics Knowledge
How were you at math in high school? This subtest of the ASVAB is going to put you to the test. It is filled with questions covering basic high school math. Unfortunately, that means there is a lot for this test to cover, AND you’ll have to do a lot of jumping from one math concept to the next during the course of this subtest. One way to get ready for these rapid switches is to take our ASVAB practice test.
On the Mathematics Knowledge subtest, you will have 24 minutes to complete 25 questions on the paper version of the ASVAB. On the CAT-ASVAB you will have to answer 16 questions in 20 minutes. This subtest is counted as part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test score, so you will want to perform as well as possible. A good score on this subtest is also important to qualify for some military jobs.
Read more >> ASVAB Math Study Guide
ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension
This subtest of the ASVAB is designed to gauge your understanding of simple machines and mechanisms. On the paper version of the ASVAB, you will have 19 minutes to answer 25 questions while on the CAT-ASVAB you will have 20 minutes to answer 16 questions.
This subtest is NOT counted as part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test score. It is used to determine your qualification for a number of military jobs. The Mechanical Comprehension subtest requires good knowledge to decipher machine diagrams. You also need a familiarity with mechanical physics and you will need good math skills as you may be required to explain mechanical principles by solving equations based on formulas.
Read more >> ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Study Guide
ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension
Just as it sounds, in the Paragraph Comprehension subtest of the ASVAB you will be reading paragraphs and then demonstrating your comprehension of those paragraphs by answering questions. This test is a part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test score and is also used to determine qualifications for some military jobs.
In other words, this is a very important part of the ASVAB and you should do as well as you can on it. On the paper-and-pencil version of the real ASVAB, you will need to answer 15 questions in 13 minutes when you come to this section. If you take the CAT-ASVAB, you will need to COMPLETE 11 questions in 22 minutes in this particular section.
Read more >> ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Study Guide
ASVAB Word Knowledge
The Word Knowledge subtest ON the ASVAB measures your vocabulary knowledge. It is one of the four subtests, along with paragraph comprehension, arithmetic reasoning, and mathematics knowledge, which are used to determine your Armed Forces Qualification Test score, which in turn determines your eligibility for military service. In addition, a good score on this section is required for a number of military jobs, everything from the obvious journalist position to the maybe not-so-obvious firefighter position.
In other words, this is an essential section of the ASVAB to do well and you should be sure to devote sufficient study time to preparing for this subtest. On the Word Knowledge subtest, you will have 8 minutes to get 16 questions done if you take the CAT-ASVAB. If you take the paper ASVAB, you will have 11 minutes to complete 35 questions. On this test, you will be required to distinguish words based on their spelling and to know what various words mean.
Read more >> ASVAB Word Knowledge Study Guide
ASVAB Scores and AFQT Scores
The next part mentioned in this ASVAB Study Guide is about ASVAB Scores.
As mentioned above, there are 9 sections on the ASVAB that all calculate a different score, and these scores are used to determine which military jobs a candidate is qualified for your total score. However, four of them have been considered more important and make up the Armed Forces Qualifications Test (AFQT) score: Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Mathematics Knowledge. The other five areas in the ASVAB are General Science, Electronics Information, Auto and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, and Assembling Objects.
Your scores in those 5 areas will decide how suitable you are for specific military occupational specialties and Enlistment Bonuses. A high score will help increase your chances of joining the specialty/job and signing the bonus you want. The U.S. Army also converts the ASVAB test scores into 10 other score areas (line scores) that determine what MOS you may qualify for:
- Clerical (CL) – Paragraph Comprehension, Word Knowledge, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Mathematics Knowledge.
- Combat (CO) – Paragraph Comprehension, Word Knowledge, Auto & Shop, and Mechanical Comprehension.
- Electronics (EL) – Arithmetic Reasoning, General Science, Mathematics Knowledge, and Electronic Information.
- Field Artillery (FA) – Mathematics Knowledge, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Mechanical Comprehension.
- General Maintenance (GM) – Auto & Shop, General Science, Mathematics Knowledge, and Electronics Information.
- General Technical (GT) – Paragraph Comprehension, Word Knowledge, and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR).
- Mechanical Maintenance (MM) – Auto & Shop, Mechanical Comprehension, and Electronic Information.
- Operators and Food (OF) – Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Auto & Shop, and Mechanical Comprehension.
- Surveillance and Communications (SC) – Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, Auto & Shop, and Mechanical Comprehension.
- Skilled Technical (ST) – Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, General Science, Mechanical Comprehension, and Mathematics Knowledge.
ASVAB Scores for Military branches
Air Force ASVAB requirements
Air Force recruits are required an AFQT score of at least 36, while it is 65 if the applicant has a high school equivalency degree (GED, TASC, HiSET).
Army ASVAB requirements
Army recruits must score 31 or more. The Army accepts more recruits with a GED than any other branch. The Army even has Army Prep School that allows applicants with no high school diploma or GED to enlist. Recruits with a GED, TASC, or HiSET must score at least 50 to join the Army.
Coast Guard ASVAB requirements
Coast Guard recruits must score at least 40 on the ASVAB. Minimum AFQT scores of 50 and at least 15 hours of college credit are required for those holding a high school equivalency degree (GED, TASC, HiSET).
Marine Corps ASVAB requirements
The Marine Corps requires a minimum of 32 points on the AFQT. The Marine Corps limits GED enlistments to a maximum of 5 percent per year. It is at least 50 required for individuals holding a high school equivalency degree (GED, TASC, HiSET).
Navy ASVAB requirements
A minimum AFQT score of 35 is required while it is at least 50 and 15 hours of college credit for GED candidates.
ASVAB Study Guide Tips
- Focus on the subtests that important to you
- Pay attention to subjects areas that need improvement
- Try to reduce distractions
- Practice the actual process of test-taking!
How does our ASVAB practice test work?
We believe our free ASVAB practice test 2023 is one of the best ways to prepare for the ASVAB exam and practice the ASVAB test.
The questions become increasingly difficult and specific from there, so by the end of our test, you’ll have a good understanding of which topics require extra attention before taking the final ASVAB exam!
Finally, you can access a specific ASVAB Study Guide for each ASVAB section by visiting our website. (From the header menu, select ASVAB study guide.)