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ASVAB Test: Find Your Best Career Match

The ASVAB is not like other tests. It measures strengths and potential for training. There are two versions, one is paper and pencil, and the other is computer adaptive. You don't "pass" or "fail" the ASVAB.

The Department of Defense introduced the ASVAB (which stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) in 1968. It was originally designed to predict future academic and occupational success in military occupations. However, extensive research indicates the ASVAB assesses academic ability and predicts success in a wide variety of occupations.

The ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP) is available to high school students grades 10th-12th and early post-secondary students to help them identify potentially satisfying career fields. An enlistment version of the ASVAB is given at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) and is used for military enlistment purposes only.

The ASVAB is not like other tests. It measures strengths and potential for training. There are two versions, one is paper and pencil, and the other is computer adaptive. You don’t “pass” or “fail” the ASVAB. The results represent your potential for training in various areas. The ASVAB is made up of eight (or ten) subtests depending on which version you take. You can see the kinds of questions you will face on the test and learn more about the individual subtests, here.

You are encouraged not to “study” for the ASVAB. How much you have learned through the years will make the most difference in your results. However, there are a few strategies for taking the ASVAB you should consider. These may seem obvious, but they could make the difference in your score.

  • Read the directions for each subtest carefully before you begin.
  • Read each question carefully before selecting your answer.
  • Pay attention to the time—don’t spend too much time on one individual question, if that means you won’t have time to answer later questions.
  • When you don’t know the answer to a question, try to rule out as many incorrect choices as you can, and then make an educated guess from the remaining answers.

There are some different strategies to employ based on which version of the ASVAB you take.

Strategies for Taking the P&P ASVAB (Paper and Pencil)

  • Don’t get hung up trying to answer questions you don’t know—answer the questions you do know and return later to the ones you skipped.
  • Answer every question. If you run out of time, it is to your advantage to fill in random guesses for the remaining items, as there is no penalty for guessing.
  • Review your answers, if there is time remaining.
  • Make sure you select only one response per item on your answer sheet and erase completely if you change your answer.

Strategies for Taking the CEP iCAT (Computer Adaptive)

  • Be familiar with how the CEP iCAT works. Take your time answering the questions.
  • During your test session, review the instructions as many times as you need to feel comfortable taking the test.
  • Be sure the answer you have selected is the one you want to select, as you aren’t allowed to return to a question once you have answered it.
  • If time is running short, try to read and legitimately answer the questions, rather than filling in random guesses for the remaining items, as the CEP iCAT applies a relatively large penalty when several incorrect answers are provided toward the end of a subtest.

To help prepare for tests:

March2Success provides general test preparation materials for ACT, SAT, and high school completion. Studying the material at this site in the following areas may help you improve your score: mathematics knowledge, arithmetic reasoning, paragraph comprehension, and vocabulary skills.

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