How to Study for the ASVAB Test

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How Can I Study for the ASVAB?

There are a number of strategies you can use to get ready for the ASVAB, ranging from picking the right high school classes to finding the right study environment. These tips can help you plan ways to study for the ASVAB test:

  • Take a solid core of science, English, and mathematics classes
  • Check out sample questions
  • Look for other online resources
  • Utilize your local library
  • Ask your recruiter for help studying
  • Seek advice from your guidance counselor
  • Take a practice test
  • Focus on areas of the test that apply to the career you want to pursue
  • If you want to pursue a mechanical career, consider taking auto shop class in high school or enrolling in a local mechanical workshop
  • Find a quiet study environment where you can focus

What to Study for the ASVAB

Studying for the ASVAB can seem daunting, but an online ASVAB prep course is a great way to prepare. The official ASVAB site does not endorse any one particular method of study beyond taking a solid curriculum of study in secondary school. The site does offer some practice questions, but for a more comprehensive review, consider Study.com's ASVAB Practice & Study Guide. It covers the kind of material you'll encounter when taking the ASVAB through brief video lessons and printable text transcripts. You can also take practice quizzes and exams to get acquainted with the types of questions you'll encounter on the actual ASVAB test.

Study Tip: Concentrate on the subjects that correspond to the career fields you want to pursue, such as general science or shop. The branches of service publish the minimum ASVAB scores they wish to see for each career field, and it changes from year to year.

Taking the ASVAB

Knowing what to expect on the test is crucial to success. You will take either a computer-based or paper-based version of the ASVAB. If you're taking the ASVAB on a computer, you'll see 10 different subtests, but on the paper-based version there are only nine. The computer-based ASVAB has an auto subtest and a shop subtest, while the paper ASVAB has a subtest that covers both shop and auto information.

Domain Subtest(s)
Science/Technical General Science, Electronics Information, Auto and Shop Information (paper), Auto Information (computer), Shop Information (computer), and Mechanical Comprehension
Math Mathematics Knowledge and Arithmetic Reasoning
Verbal Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension
Spatial Assembling Objects

If you're testing at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), you'll take the computer-based ASVAB. Military Entrance Test (MET) sites offer the paper-based version. Subtests on the computer-based version have either 11 or 16 questions, while subtests on the paper ASVAB have anywhere from 15 to 35 questions. The official ASVAB site includes sample questions for each section of the ASVAB so that you can acquaint yourself with the material you will see on the test.

Additional Study Tips and Techniques

Research shows the two most effective study techniques across the board for all types of learners are taking practice tests and distributed practice. Distributed practice is when you set aside specific time periods for study activity, which is the exact opposite of cramming. When taking ASVAB practice tests, a few rules of thumb are:

  • Don't take the practice test immediately after learning the material.
  • Test the knowledge you learned in different places at different times. The change in environment will help the material stick in your brain.
  • Don't cram.
  • If you have to cram, it's better than not studying at all.
  • Use different testing techniques - i.e. flashcards, chapter reviews, or other quizzes.
  • Free recall of material (i.e. recognizing the content rather than the exact wording) is better than rote memorization of phrases.
  • Sleep between study sessions.
  • Engage in discussions about the nature of the material (e.g. why does it work the way it works? What would happen if you changed x, y, or z variables?).
  • Highlighting can be effective, but make sure not to highlight large swaths of text. Read the material first, then pick out only the pertinent, summarizing words to highlight. Reread in a different study session, preferably after a gap such as sleeping.

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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