ASVAB Questions

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Soldiers prepare for ASVAB test
U.S. Division-North soldiers deployed to Contingency Operating Site Warrior take a basic math and vocabulary quiz in preparation for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test during a preparatory class on March 25, 2011. (Spc. Andrew Ingram/U.S. Division-North)

The following is a list of questions that are most frequently asked about the ASVAB and associated programs. These answers are divided into four categories:

  • General ASVAB questions
  • CAT-ASVAB questions
  • MET-site ASVAB questions
  • Student ASVAB questions

General ASVAB Questions

What if I fail the ASVAB?

There is no pass or fail on the ASVAB. You cannot "ace" the ASVAB or "flunk" it! Your scores reflect your own abilities!

You will want to do your best so that you will be eligible for the military skill specialty that matches your ability and interests. In addition, to be eligible to enlist in one of the military services, you must obtain a minimum Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score, which varies between services.

What's the AFQT?

To gain entrance into the military service, you must obtain a minimum qualifying score on the ASVAB -- your AFQT score. That score predicts your potential for training in military occupations. Your AFQT score reflects your standing compared to men and women ages 18-23.

What subtests make up the AFQT?

Your AFQT score is comprised of your test results in arithmetic reasoning (AR), math knowledge (MK) and verbal expression (VE) times two. Your VE score is a combination of your word knowledge and paragraph comprehension scores.

Your AFQT entrance score varies by service. Some occupations require higher subtest scores than others; these scores determine how qualified you are for certain military specialties. For instance, a career in journalism requires a higher ASVAB score than a career as a secretary. Why is that? There are more verbal and analytical skills required in writing, editing and critiquing the written word. Contact your area recruiter to find out what score you need.

How long are ASVAB scores valid?

ASVAB scores are good for two years.

Is there a Spanish ASVAB?

This is a frequently asked question, but the ASVAB test does not exist in any other language. Service regulations, technical manuals, operations orders, etc., are written in English. You will have to be able to function in English in the military, which is why the ASVAB test is given in English only. If you score high enough on the ASVAB and your native language is not English, you may be screened on the English Comprehension Level (ECL) test. The ECL is a standardized test that measures your listening and reading comprehension skills. Depending on your test results, you may be given follow-on testing and further training.

Can I use my student ASVAB results for processing at MEPS?

If you are 17 or older, you may process at the MEPS using Student ASVAB scores from a test you took in high school when you were 16 years old. That is provided you were a junior or senior when you took the test, and the test has not expired (two years from the date of the test).

Sophomore tests are invalid for enlistment purposes, regardless of age on the date of the test.

When can I take the ASVAB? Can I take it over again if necessary?

You can take the ASVAB as early as your sophomore year in high school. If you take the ASVAB as a sophomore, though, your score will not be used for joining the military. If need be, you may retake the ASVAB after 30 days -- and again 30 days later.

If I take the ASVAB, am I committed to joining the military?

Taking the ASVAB does not commit you to anything, but a military recruiter may contact you. The ASVAB can help you determine your own interests and aptitude, even if you are not planning to enter the military or are undecided. It can help you choose courses for college and make your personal career decisions.

Does the ASVAB Have Any Influence on My High School Grades?

The ASVAB has no impact on your high school grades. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.

Where Can I Take the ASVAB?

It depends on which version of the ASVAB you intend to take. You can take the test at a nearby high school (the student ASVAB) or arrange to take it through a local recruiter (the Military Entrance Test-site ASVAB or CAT-ASVAB).

CAT-ASVAB Questions

What does adaptive test mean?

An adaptive test tailors questions to the ability level of the test taker. Each tester starts with a medium difficulty question. For instance, if the tester answers the question correctly, they are given a question that is more difficult. If the tester answers the question incorrectly, they are given a question that is easier. Time is not wasted answering questions that are too difficult or too easy.

Do I have to know how to use a computer to take the CAT?

No!!! You don't need to have computer experience to take the CAT. Instructions are clear and simple; the computer keyboard has been modified so that only the keys needed to answer the test questions are labeled. A test administrator will go over instructions on how to use the keyboard.

Why can't I change my answers on the CAT-ASVAB?

Since the CAT is an adaptive test, questions are given to you at your ability level. Once you have answered a question, you can't go back.

What if I need help on the test?

On the computer keyboard is a red HELP key. If you need help, just press this key. Once the HELP key is pressed, test timing stops until you return to the test question. Time spent in HELP does not count against your subtest time limit.

MET-Site ASVAB Questions

Can I change my answers?

Since the MET-site ASVAB is a pen and paper test, answers can be changed. Completely erase all changes you make; the answer sheet is run through a very sensitive scanner.

When should I guess?

Try to do the best you can on the test, but if you don't know an answer -- guess. An incorrect answer does not count against you. Answers can be changed on the pen and paper version but not on the CAT-ASVAB. If you are running out of time on a particular subtest, quickly guess at the remaining questions before time runs out. ASVAB scores are good for two years.

A career in journalism requires a higher ASVAB score than a career as a secretary. Why is that?

There are more verbal and analytical skills required in writing, editing and critiquing the written word.

Where is the MET-site test scored?

Test results are sent back to the MEPS by the test administrator. Before they are returned to the MEPS, the test administrator will give you a sealed envelope that contains your unverified test scores; you will give those to your recruiter. Once your answer sheet has been scored at the MEPS, you will receive your verified test scores from your recruiter within a couple of days.

What do I need to take to the ASVAB test?

  • Bring an identification card to the CAT-ASVAB and the MET-site ASVAB.
  • Pencils (No. 2), scratch paper, test booklets and answer sheets are provided by your test administrator.
  • Do not use your own pencils or a pen on your answer sheet.
  • Do not bring a calculator, which are not allowed.
  • Make sure you use the bathroom before the test.

Student ASVAB Questions

How do I sign up to take the student ASVAB?

Ask your high school guidance counselor to make arrangements for you or contact your local military recruiter. There is no cost for this examination.

Can I use my student ASVAB results for processing at MEPS?

If you are 17 or older, you may process at the MEPS, using Student ASVAB scores from a test you took in high school when you were 16 years old. That is provided you were a junior or senior when you took the test, and the test has not expired (two years from the date of the test).

Sophomore tests are invalid for enlistment purposes, regardless of age on the date of the test.

Will incorrect personal information affect my test scores?

Your scores will be inaccurate if your grade and gender are wrong. Remember you are being compared to your age group and males and females. If you are a junior and put senior on your answer sheet, your scores will be lower because you are being compared to seniors, not juniors.

Interested in Joining the Military?

We can put you in touch with recruiters from the different military branches. Learn about the benefits of serving your country, paying for school, military career paths, and more: sign up now and hear from a recruiter near you.

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