How Hard Is the ASVAB

Difficulty Level of the ASVAB

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is used to qualify military recruits and determine eligibility for specific career paths within the different branches of the military. How challenging the ASVAB test is for any test-taker will depend, in part, on how good they are at taking tests; how well they know the content being tested; and how adept they are at switching focus during the testing period, as the test covers a wide range of spatial, mathematical, science and technical skills and knowledge.

What The ASVAB Covers

The ten ASVAB subtests are divided into four testing categories.


There are two tests used to assess a person's mathematical skills. One is the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) test, which specifically focuses on word problems. The other is the Mathematical Knowledge (MK) test, designed to test a person's ability to perform mathematical functions and demonstrate knowledge of the mathematical principles and operations they would have learned about during high school.

Science and Technical

The Mechanical Comprehension (MC) test is used to assess mechanical aptitude, while the Shop Information (SI) test measures familiarity with different types of tools and relevant terminology. Test-takers are assessed on their knowledge of vehicle technology through the Automotive Information (AI) test. Electronics Information (EI) looks at how much a person knows about electronics and how electricity works. General Sciences (GS) focuses on knowledge of life and physical science principles.


Word Knowledge (WK) and Paragraph Comprehension (PC) are the two tests used to determine verbal skills. The WK test focuses on a test-taker's ability to understand words in the context they're used. The PC test focuses on comprehension of written passages.


The Assembling Objects (AO) test relates to a person's ability to identify how a complete object will look from its component parts.

What Scores Are Needed

The specific score that you need on the ASVAB varies based on which branch of the military you wish to join. There are also formulas used, based off ASVAB test results, that determine your eligibility for different types of jobs. For example, Navy Seals have three different formula options for qualification: VE+AR=110 and MC=50; GS+MC+EI=170; or VE+MK+MC+CS=220.

It is important to be familiar with the base requirements for the branch of the military that you wish to enter, but it is also important to be aware of any score requirements needed to qualify for specific career options. If you have specific career aspirations, you may find the ASVAB more challenging because you will be working to obtain specific formula scores instead of general admittance scores.

How To Prepare for the ASVAB

Official ASVAB Questions

The official ASVAB website provides sample test questions for each of the ten testing areas on the ASVAB exam. Work through these sample questions to determine if you have a good level of knowledge about the material on which you will be tested. Pay attention to testing areas where you struggled and specific types of questions you found challenging. Use this information to help identify the areas where you need to concentrate on review prior to your exam date. Courses offers comprehensive courses that were developed to help test-takers effectively prepare for the ASVAB or specific subtests. You can review the lessons whenever it suits your schedule, and all of the materials are accessible online.

Continue reading: Where To Take the ASVAB

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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