What is the ASVAB Test?

What is the ASVAB test? The ASVAB stands for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a standardized test used to rate an individual’s aptitude for service in the United States Armed Forces. It helps recruitment officers determine an individual’s suitability for particular branches of service or for specific military jobs. It is used by the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard.

It is NOT an intelligence test, but rather a test of one’s individual strengths and weaknesses in areas such as math, science, and reading, as well as one’s current knowledge of specific mechanical, electronic, automotive, and shop concepts. The ASVAB has both a paper and pencil version and a computer adaptive (CAT) version. The vast majority of recruits take the CAT-ASVAB.

What is on the ASVAB Test?

What is on the ASVAB test? The two versions of the ASVAB exam (Paper & Pencil and CAT) differ slightly in their format and timing, although the general questions remain the same. The CAT version is taken by over 90% of test-takers. Here is a summary of what is on the CAT-ASVAB test:

1. General Science – 16 questions in 8 minutes

This section tests your knowledge of biology, chemistry, and physics. Questions are based on your knowledge of basic scientific concepts; no advanced calculations are necessary.

2. Arithmetic Reasoning – 16 questions in 39 minutes

The math on the ASVAB is split into arithmetic and more advanced algebra and geometry (found in the Mathematics Knowledge section). This section will present relatively simple word problems that require basic arithmetic to solve.

3. Word Knowledge – 16 questions in 8 minutes

These 16 questions will each present a word, either alone or in a sentence for context, and you’ll be required to choose a synonym, or word that has the same essential meaning.

4. Paragraph Comprehension  – 11 questions in 22 minutes

These questions ask you to read short paragraphs and answer some simple reading comprehension questions, identifying the main idea, purpose of specific details, and make correct inferences.

5. Mathematics Knowledge – 16 questions in 20 minutes

The math in this section is only slightly more challenging than in the Arithmetic section. It covers high school algebra and geometry concepts.

6. Electronics Information – 16 questions in 8 minutes

This section is tests your knowledge of electricity: circuits, transistors, and concepts such as resistance and conductivity are frequently asked about. If you do not have much practical familiarity with these concepts, you likely will have to spend some time memorizing some basic electronics information before the exam.

7. Auto and Shop Information – 11 questions for Auto in 7 minutes; 11 questions for Shop in 6 minutes.  (Section is split into two parts, but reported as one score.)

Similar to Electronics Information, this tests basic knowledge of how automobiles are designed and operated – knowledge of the different systems in a vehicle and the ability to identify the parts of a vehicle is required. Shop information asks about the utility of specific tools. Both parts often present diagrams and ask you to choose the correct name of a specific tool or part.

8. Mechanical Comprehension – 16 questions in 20 minutes

This section tests practice knowledge of mechanics and basic physics. You may be tested on Newton’s Laws of Motion, simple machines such as pulleys and levers, as well as concepts involving force, power, and hydraulics. Like Electronics Information, and Auto and Shop Information, the information you’re tested on is very specific, so you may need to review these concepts and memorize some basic definitions and formulas.

9. Assembling Objects – 16 questions in 16 minutes

This section is unique to the other sections in that it is purely visual. You will be presented with a picture of several pieces, and must choose the picture that correctly identifies how the pieces would look once assembled together.

How Many Questions are on the ASVAB?

How many questions are on the ASVAB? It depends which version you are taking. The Paper and Pencil version contains the all of the same sections, but with slightly more questions on each. The P&P ASVAB has 225 questions which must be completed within 149 minutes. The CAT-ASVAB contains 145 questions which must be completed within 154 minutes.