ASVAB Test Day Preparation

What is the ASVAB?

The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is the qualifying exam for all branches of the military. It is also used determine which military jobs an applicant is qualified to pursue. The test is taken at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or a Military Entrance Test (MET) location. The site location is based off of your place of residence and set up by a military recruiter, who also confirms you meet the other entry qualifications.

Test Format

The ASVAB test is made up of 10 subtests that assess an applicant's knowledge in the following areas:

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

The test can be taken in a computer- or paper-based version. The computer-based test has 145 questions. A maximum of 154 minutes is allotted to complete the test. Test-takers can progress at their own pace, which means that they do not have to wait for all test-takers to complete a subtest before they move on to the next one.

On the paper version of the ASVAB, candidates are given 149 minutes to answer 225 questions. They can only complete one subtest at a time, so they move on to the next subtest only when with the rest of the group does. While the time allotted to complete all subtests is 149 minutes, this does not include gaps between subtests for collecting and disbursing test materials. It can take three hours or more to complete the paper version of the test.

Studying for the ASVAB

Before you take the ASVAB test, be sure to take advantage of our ASVAB study guides. They offer bite-sized video lessons on key concepts you can expect to encounter on the test, as well as practice quizzes and exams that can also give you an idea of your readiness for the ASVAB test.

Sample questions are also available online from the creators of the ASVAB ( Questions are available for each of the ten content areas.

Finally, your recruiter may be able to put you in touch with other applicants studying for the ASVAB so that you can create a study group or find study partners. Your recruiter may also be able to refer you to other study resources that you can use to prepare for the ASVAB.

On Test Day

You must be able to establish your identity when you arrive at your test location. This means that you will need to present accepted identification. It is important that you are on time for your ASVAB test. Anyone who arrives late will not be allowed to take the test. If you are driving yourself to your test, it is a good idea to locate the test site beforehand. Driving there beforehand can ensure you're familiar with the route and location and are aware of any traffic issues that may affect how long it takes to get there.

Retake Policy

The military allows you to retake the ASVAB if needed. After your first attempt, you will be required to wait one full month before you can attempt the test again. This policy also applies to a second retake. After three attempts, there is a six-month waiting period before you can take the ASVAB again.

Continue reading: ASVAB Accommodations

The ASVAB test measures the qualifications of individuals attempting to enlist in the U.S. military. Learn about the content of the test, the impact of results on a recruit's military career and resources you can use to prepare for this exam.

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