Ace the ASVAB

Three Versions of the ASVAB

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery serves many purposes and comes in three forms; each is targeted to different needs. In addition each ASVAB has different benefits and limitations. The ASVAB versions are:

The CAT-ASVAB

A large number of potential military recruits take the CAT-ASVAB. This computer adaptive test is an automated test administration system that displays questions, scores and records answers, scores ASVAB subtests, computes your AFQT, and allows for flexible start times and self-paced responses. This test is given at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) and is used for enlistment purposes only.

The CAT takes about an hour and a half. The exam covers the same sub-tests as the MET-site ASVAB, except the CAT has 10 sub-tests because it divides the Auto Shop subtest into 2 subtests – Auto Information and Shop Information.

Computerized Adaptive Testing means that if the correct answer is chosen, the next question will be harder. If the answer given is incorrect, the next question will be easier. This also means that once an answer is selected on the CAT it cannot be changed.

Although you can speed through the CAT at your own pace, the test does have a time limit. If you finish a subtest before the time limit is reached, you automatically go on to the next test. Unlike the MET-site ASVAB you may leave the test room as soon as you are finished.

Scoring the CAT-ASVAB

Your CAT-ASVAB subtest scores are computed using formulas that take into account the difficulty of the test question and correctness of the answer. Your CAT-ASVAB raw scores are not equal to the total number of correct answers. Test scores are good for two years.

Breaking Down the CAT-ASVAB Sub-Tests
9 Subtests Minutes Questions Descriptions
General Science (GS) 8 16 Measures knowledge of life science, earth and space science, and physical science.
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) 39 16 Measures ability to solve basic math problems.
Word Knowledge (WK) 8 16 Measures ability to understand the meaning of words through synonyms.
Paragraph Comprehension (PC) 22 11 Measures ability to obtain information from written materials.
Mathematics Knowledge (MK) 18 16 Measures knowledge of mathematical concepts and applications.
Electronics Information (EI) 8 16 Measures knowledge of electrical current, circuits, devices, and electronic systems.
Auto Information (AI) 6 11 Measures knowledge of automotive maintenance and repair.
Shop Information (SI) 5 11 Measures knowledge of wood and metal shop practices.
Mechanical Comprehension (MC) 20 16 Measures knowledge of the principles of mechanical devices, structural support, and properties of materials.

The MET-site ASVAB Explained

The MET-site ASVAB is given at a Mobile Examination Test site. This test is used solely for enlistment into one of the military services. Test sites are located in different cities. You will need to be referred by a recruiter to take the MET-site ASVAB.

The MET is an eight area test multiple-choice exam where you write your answer on a separate answer sheet. Since it is a pen and paper test, answers can be changed.  But be sure to completely erase all the changes you make – the answer sheet scanner is very sensitive. You are given a set amount of time, so you must do your best to answer all the questions in the time given. Unlike the CAT-ASVAB, you may not leave the testing room if you finish before the other testers. You should plan on spending several hours at the MET-site when taking this version of the ASVAB.

TIP: GUESS - Your test score is based on the number of items you have answered correctly in the allotted time, you are not penalized for wrong answers. A blank answer is always wrong but if you take a guess at least you have a chance of getting the question right.

Scoring the MET-site ASVAB

The test administrator sends test results back to the MEPS. The MEPS test administrator will give you a sealed envelope, which contains your unverified test scores to take back to your recruiter. Once your answer sheet has been scored at the MEPS, you will be able to get your verified test scores from your recruiter.

8 Subtests Minutes Questions Descriptions
General Science (GS) 11 25 Measures knowledge of life science, earth and space science, and physical science.
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) 36 30 Measures ability to solve basic math problems.
Word Knowledge (WK) 11 35 Measures ability to understand the meaning of words through synonyms.
Paragraph Comprehension (PC) 13 15 Measures ability to obtain information from written materials.
Mathematics Knowledge (MK) 24 25 Measures knowledge of mathematical concepts and applications.
Electronics Information (EI) 9 20 Measures knowledge of electrical current, circuits, devices, and electronic systems.
Auto & Shop Information (AS) 11 25 Measures knowledge of automotive maintenance and repair and wood and metal shop practices.
Mechanical Comprehension (MC) 19 25 Measures knowledge of the principles of mechanical devices, structural support, and properties of materials.

The Student ASVAB Explained

The Student ASVAB is used for career exploration for high school and college students. This pen and paper test version is given in high schools, colleges, or vocational schools. It is approximately 3 hours and is composed of 8 subtests.

Test results are sent to your school for you and your counselor to explore careers (this is called a post-test interpretation). You will also be given an interest inventory (Find Your Interests). Your ASVAB test results and “Find Your Interests” are tools for you to explore different occupations, identify a college major, and find out about your personality. Your AFQT military qualification score is reflected on your test results and can be used to enlist in any of the military services.

Learn more about the ASVAB Career Exploration Program.

Breaking Down the Student ASVAB Sub-Tests
8 Subtests Minutes Questions Descriptions
General Science (GS) 11 25 Measures knowledge of life science, earth and space science, and physical science.
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) 36 30 Measures ability to solve basic math problems.
Word Knowledge (WK) 11 35 Measures ability to understand the meaning of words through synonyms.
Paragraph Comprehension (PC) 13 15 Measures ability to obtain information from written materials.
Mathematics Knowledge (MK) 24 25 Measures knowledge of mathematical concepts and applications.
Electronics Information (EI) 9 20 Measures knowledge of electrical current, circuits, devices, and electronic systems.
Auto & Shop Information (AS) 11 25 Measures knowledge of automotive maintenance and repair and wood and metal shop practices.
Mechanical Comprehension (MC) 19 25 Measures knowledge of the principles of mechanical devices, structural support, and properties of materials.

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