How To Pass the ASVAB

January 15, 2023
How To Pass the ASVAB

Credit: Missouri Military Academy on Flickr

All prospective military members are required to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and many officers have to take it as well, except for the Navy and the Air Force who typically have their own version of testing and entrance requirements. The ASVAB is a multiple-choice test used to determine someone’s qualification for enlistment into the Armed Forces.

Are you interested in enlisting in the military and you want to ensure that you go into the testing process with the most preparation as possible? Let’s take a look at ways to help you on your journey towards serving your country and passing this test, maybe even with top scores!

Can you pass the ASVAB without studying?

Can you pass the ASVAB without studying? I guess that depends on how much you already know. Knowing what will be included in the ASVAB is the first step to deciding how much you need to study. It’s not recommended going into the test with zero information about what will be on it or how it’s set up. Just a small amount of preparation will help you succeed at passing the ASVAB. The test is broken down into nine sections.

The nine ASVAB sections include:

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  • Assembling Objects (AO)
  • Auto and Shop Information (AS)
  • Electronics Information (EI)
  • General Science (GS)
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  • Word Knowledge (WK)

If you haven’t studied at all for the ASVAB and the test is upon you, is it worth sitting the exam or should you reschedule? If you’re wanting to score high, you might get lucky or have the knowledge to score high without studying, but if you haven’t done any test prep at all, it might be worth rescheduling.

Some ways to prepare for the ASVAB with less than a week before you sit the exam are:

  • Familiarize yourself with the layout of the test. How many questions will there be per section? How long will you have to answer each question within each section? Are there breaks? How long does the testing last altogether? These are simple questions to figure out so you aren’t going in with zero information. By knowing what to expect with the layout and requirements of the test, you have a sort of roadmap to guide you on your journey to studying (or not studying).
  • Refresh on what taking multiple-choice tests are like. Maybe you’ve taken the ACT or SAT. It’s important to remember those little tools like eliminating answers that you know for sure aren’t right, passing questions you don’t know and coming back to them. Sometimes certain answers are more common, like choosing letter C in lettered multiple-choice tests. You can refresh on these types of tests by taking some practice ones. Really, just take some time to study a bit. It’s so worth it!
  • Ask others what the test was like. Which sections were harder for them or worth glancing at before going in. You can talk to friends, family members who have taken the test, or even to recruiters. They want you to succeed and are happy to answer any questions that you have. You might also receive tips on other ways to succeed that you might not have considered, like eating a solid breakfast and getting some sleep the night before the test.
  • Cramming is always an option. If you haven’t studied, and don’t have time to study at all, then you’re mostly just going in hoping things work out ok. You can cram for the exam if you’d like and focus on sections that you think will pose the most problems. You can do this by doing some quick reviews of the sections that are most difficult for you, then moving into easier ones with a quick refresher.

The best option is to, of course, study for the ASVAB.

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How to pass the ASVAB with a high score

Study, study, study. Passing the test is important if you want to join the military. It’s also important to take a look at the types of jobs you want. Certain jobs will require a certain score so knowing what is required of you is the first step to helping you achieve that score. The best way to achieve a high score on the ASVAB is to study and go in as prepared as possible.

There are plenty of study guides out there, free or otherwise, that you can take to see what your starting point is, where your strengths and weaknesses are, and which sections to focus on more. As you take the practice tests, if you run into problems, feel free to stop the timers and testing and work through the problem. If you don’t have the answers, look them up. When you break down the test like this, it allows you to gain an understanding of certain topics that you aren’t familiar with or that need refreshing.

How to pass the ASVAB math section

If you already know that math isn’t your strength, spend extra time here. Memorize the order of operations. Take more practice exams that aren’t timed so that you can see which math problems you struggle with more while allowing time to work them out more thoroughly.

A way to help you with the math section during the exam is to fully utilize your scratch paper. If you are answering word problems, practice breaking the problem down step-by-step so the information is easier to digest. Look at the question being asked and then focus on that information within the word problem so that you don’t get hung up trying to work out numbers that aren’t important for the question.

What do you need to score on the ASVAB?

The maximum score you can get on the ASVAB is a 99. The minimum score required to pass the ASVAB is 31 for enlistment. In the Army, for instance, each job is given a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) code. For each MOS, there are different ASVAB score requirements. So you can see how this score is important for your career in the military.

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Let’s look at some examples of jobs and the scores required to qualify for them. If you wanted to become a Military Police, you would need to score 91 under SK or Skills Technical which includes the ASVAB sections of General Science, Mechanical Comprehension, Mathematical Knowledge, among other sections. You can look on different military websites to see the requirements for each section, as well as the test scores needed within each section. This can seem tedious, but just like with performing military operations, preparation and training is everything.

The ASVAB is a timed multiple-choice test that is offered all across the country in schools and Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS), and it is developed and maintained by the Department of Defense. Scoring well on the ASVAB can mean landing the job you want, but it can also mean you can qualify for enlistment bonuses.

Taking the ASVAB is an essential part of enlisting in the United States Armed Forces, and is also part of commissioning as an officer for some branches of the military. If it’s possible, start studying for the exam at least 2 months in advance. This will give you ample time to take your base-level test to see where you’re at if you went in cold and took the exam without studying, and then start working through each section beginning with the one you struggle with most. Talk to others who have taken the ASVAB and maybe even find a study partner to encourage accountability and motivation.

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