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How to Pass the ASVAB

Instructor: Eric Campos

Eric has tutored in English, writing, history, and other subjects.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is the required entrance exam for the Army, Navy, and other branches of the U.S armed forces. Your test scores will determine your qualifications for enlisting in the military and will help establish potential careers in military service. Continue reading to learn more about the exam and how to pass it.

Preparing For The ASVAB

Preparing for any exam is critical in order to maximize your score. The ASVAB is no different and should be treated with increased diligence as this will greatly influence your military career. To pass the ASVAB, you should become very familiar with the material on the exam. You can develop a strong knowledge base by taking thorough courses in English, science, and mathematics at an accredited high school or college in order to prepare for the corresponding subtests. It would also benefit you to take technical courses in order to be familiar with the more occupational-related subtests.

Another highly effective way for you to prepare is to view and answer ASVAB sample questions. You can access free sample test questions on the ASVAB official website. As an added benefit to the practice, these test questions will allow you grasp the layout of the exam. Bearing this in mind, determine in advance if you would like the take the P&P ASVAB (written test) or the CAT-ASVAB (computer administrated) version of the test and plan accordingly. Lastly, make sure you allow yourself plenty of rest both during your study periods and before the night of your exam.

For an extensive overview of the ASVAB, check out our ASVAB Practice & Study Guide. This resource covers each part of the exam through detailed transcripts and lesson videos. You'll also be able to ask a remote instructor for guidance should you have any trouble understanding the material. There are also practice quizzes and a final practice exam you can take in order to hone your skills!

Taking the ASVAB

On test day, be sure to read each question carefully and only select one answer per question. Use the process of elimination to better determine the answer, and feel free to guess if you don't know the answer, since it won't count against you. To make sure you answer the most amount of questions you can, be sure to keep track of time, since tests are time limited.

The ASVAB is composed of several subtest subjects with a set number of questions. These subjects range from mathematics and communication, to more technical fields like electronics and mechanics. Here's a breakdown of the sections and some of our online resources that can help you prepare:

How The ASVAB Is Scored

Your score on the ASVAB will be determined by an Item Response Theory (IRT) system that measures the probability of how candidates at a given level of ability will correctly score on the exam. Therefore, the test is set up to ask appropriate questions for the test taker's precise level of ability. To measure your performance, your score is measured against a standard score. This standard score reflects the amount of standard deviation that a particular score is above or below the set mean. To pass, you must score at or above the standard score of other test-takers in your same ability level. The standard score of the ASVAB subtests is 50, with the standard deviation being 10. For example: if you were to score 30, this means that your standard deviation was 2 units (measured in 10s) below the mean. However, if you were to score 60 on your test, you scored 1 deviation above the mean!

As part of the ASVAB, you also receive a score on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). The AFQT commutes the scores from four sections to evaluate basic knowledge, while the rest of the subtests are designed to identify someone's aptitude for a particular career path.

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