Ace the ASVAB

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ASVAB Study Tips

Man writing at a desk wearing a collared shirt.


As with any test, how well you do depends in large part upon how well you prepare. To study effectively for the ASVAB, you really need to begin studying at least two months before you plan to take the test, if not more! Here are some basic steps to take:

  • Find a comfortable, quiet area to study
  • Gather paper, pens & pencils, a calculator, and other tools
  • Make a basic study schedule

Making a Schedule

Probably the most important thing is to make a schedule and STICK WITH IT. Some days you will be a little tired, other days you may not concentrate as hard as you should, but if you are consistent, you will reap great rewards.

When you first begin studying, you should make a list of the areas you are good at and those which you could use improvement on. If you're not really sure, it would be a great idea to take a practice ASVAB Test (links). This will help you figure out what you're good and not-so-good at. For example, you might make a table like this:

Section Current Skill Level
Scale of 1 - 5:
1 = Low
5 = High
AFQT Sections  
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) 3
Mathematics Knowledge (MK) 2
Word Knowledge (WK) 4
Paragraph Comprehension (PC) 3
Extra Sections  
General Science (GS) 11
Auto & Shop Information (AS) 11
Mechanical Comprehension (MC) 19
Electronics Information (EI) 9

Focus on Your Weaknesses

Focus on the four essential sections, those critical to the AFQT score, first. From the example above, it seems that your verbal abilities are at least OK: you gave yourself a 4 on the Word Knowledge section and a 3 on the Paragraph Comprehension. However, your math skills could use some work – especially with Mathematics Knowledge, as you only have a skill level of 2. This you that you'll have to work extra hard on the math sections.

After you know the problem, the solution will come much easier. In the example above, you would probably want to spend about 60% of your time with math studying and about 40% with verbal. If you are really ambitious, you could throw in some studying time for the non-essential sections - GS, AS, MC, EI. An hour-a-day study schedule might look something like this:

Day Time Sections to Study
Monday 7 - 8 pm Mathematics Knowledge
Tuesday 7 - 7:30 pm
7:30 - 8 pm
Arithmetic Reasoning
Paragraph Comprehension
Wednesday 7 - 7:30 pm
7:30 - 8 pm
Mathematics Knowledge
Word Knowledge
Thursday 7 - 8 pm Mathematics Knowledge
Friday 7 - 7:30 pm
7:30 - 8 pm
"Extra" Section (GS, AS, MC, or EI)
Paragraph Comprehension
Saturday No Studying – Read a book to help boost vocab!  
Sunday 7 - 8 pm Review any trouble spots you had. Maybe take a practice test to see how you've improved!

What's the most important day out of the above? Hands down, Sunday. Review is essential if you want to make progress. If you never review what you've done, how will you know whether or not you've improved?

Though you may be intimidated by studying 5-7 nights a week, remember that this is only for a few months. The investment you make now in yourself can have great rewards - IF you put in the time! Just be honest with yourself, find out what you need to work on the most, and stick with your schedule! You may also want to set goals, such as "I want to take a practice test and score 80% or better on it within a month." However you choose to study, be consistent, be confident, and you will be successful!

General Study Tips: Developing good study habits is key for lifelong achivement and not just testing. Here's a no-muss, no-fuss list of study tips that should help you no matter what you're studying for.

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