Asvab study guide

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Performing poorly on the ASVAB will impact not only your ability to enter the military but can also determine what military job you are qualified for, your advancement opportunities, and even your potential salary.

Here at ASVABTutor, we provide comprehensive study guides for each section of the ASVAB test that will help you prepare to ace the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery.  The ASVAB exam is a series of multiple-choice questions broken down into 9 subjects with an emphasis on determining your aptitude in four primary areas: Math, Verbal, Science and Technical, and Spatial. 

To ensure you get the highest score possible, start preparing now with our comprehensive study guides and free practice tests.

Recommended ASVAB Study Guides

Using the right ASVAB study guide is essential to ensure the best possible outcome when preparing for the exam.

Study Guides

  • Arithmetic reasoning refers to the process of solving math word problems – you know those questions you had in elementary, middle and high school that might involve two trains traveling at different speeds or determining how many different pieces of fruit Tommy brought home from the grocery store. Whether you enjoy these types of problems or dread them, there is a process you can use to make solving them quicker and easier. Your test administrator will provide you with scratch paper and a number two pencil for this portion of the ASVAB. Calculators are not allowed. If you are taking the pencil-and-paper test, you will 36 minutes to answer 30 questions and if you are taking the computer version, you will have 39 minutes to answer 16 questions.

    Open Study Guide
  • The Assembling Objects subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is designed to measure your ability for visualizing spatial relationships. In this section of the ASVAB you will be required to view pieces of an object and then determine how those pieces fit together. If you’re asking yourself why this ability is important, the answer is because good spatial skills allow people to figure out maps and interpret graphs and technical drawings. For the Assembling Objects subtest you will 15 minutes to solve 16 problems on the CAT-ASVAB test and 16 minutes to solve 25 questions on the paper version of the ASVAB.

    Open Study Guide
  • The Auto and Shop Information subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery involves questions about automobile systems and functions/malfunctions and questions about common shop tools and fasteners and their uses. Your Auto and Shop Information subtest score is used to determine various job qualifications. It is not used in determining your Armed Forces Qualification Test score. On the ASVAB for the Auto and Shop Information subtest you will have 7 minutes to answer 11 auto-related questions and 6 minutes to answer 11 shop-related questions. On the paper version of the ASVAB, you will have 11 minutes to answer 25 questions, which are usually split between auto-related questions and shop-related questions.

    Open Study Guide
  • The ASVAB Electronics Information subtest covers electricity principles and electronic devices, including radios, televisions, magnets, motors, transistors and much, much more. For this subtest, you will have 8 minutes to answer 16 questions when you take the CAT-ASVAB. You will 9 minutes to answer 20 questions on the pencil and paper version of the ASVAB test. The Electronics Information subtest covers a variety of electrical-related subjects including: You will need to know major electrical concepts, including how to use conductors, currents, circuits and insulators, among other things. You’ll also need to know various types of conductors and insulators and how effective they are. And that’s not all, you’ll also need to know different ways electricity can be used, the different types of electrical current and more.

    Open Study Guide
  • The General Science subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery measures your knowledge of a variety of sciences, including: Earth science, biology, chemistry, health and more. The General Science subtest is NOT part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test score. However, it used to help determine qualification for a number of different military jobs. On this subtest, you will 25 questions to answer in 11 minutes on the paper version of the ASVAB and you will have 16 questions to answer in 8 minutes on the CAT-ASVAB.

    Open Study Guide
  • How were you at math in high school? This subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is going to put you to the test. It is filled with questions covering basic high school math. Unfortunately, that means there is a lot for this test to cover, which means you’ll have to do a lot of jumping from one math concept to the next during the course of this subtest. One way to get ready for these rapid switches is to take our practice test – but we’ll talk more about that later. Right now, let’s take a closer look at the Mathematics Knowledge subtest. On the Mathematics Knowledge subtest you will have 24 minutes to answer 25 questions on the paper version of the ASVAB. On the CAT-ASVAB you will have 20 minutes to answer 16 questions. This subtest is counted as part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test score, so you will want to perform as well as you can. A good score on this subtest is also important to qualify for a number of military jobs.

    Open Study Guide
  • This subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is designed to gauge your understanding of simple machines and mechanisms. On the paper version of the ASVAB, you will have 19 minutes to answer 25 questions and on the CAT-ASVAB you will have 20 minutes to answer 16 questions. This subtest is NOT counted as part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test score. It is used to determine your qualification for certain military jobs. The Mechanical Comprehension subtest requires a good ability to decipher machine diagrams. You’ll also need a familiarity with mechanical physics and you will need good math skills as you may be required to explain mechanical principles by solving equations based on formulas.

    Open Study Guide
  • Just as it sounds, in the Paragraph Comprehension subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery you will be reading paragraphs and then demonstrating your comprehension of those paragraphs by answering questions. This test is part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test score and is also used to determine qualification for a number of military jobs. In other words, this is a very important part of the ASVAB and you should strive to do as good as you can on it. On the paper-and-pencil version of the real ASVAB, you will need to answer 15 questions in 13 minutes when you come to this section. If you take the CAT-ASVAB, you will need to answer 11 questions in 22 minutes in this particular section.

    Open Study Guide
  • The Word Knowledge subtest of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery measures your vocabulary knowledge. It is one of the four subtests, along with paragraph comprehension, arithmetic reasoning and mathematics knowledge, which are used to determine your Armed Forces Qualification Test score, which in turn determines your eligibility for military service. In addition, a good score on this section is required for a number of military jobs, everything from the obvious journalist position to the maybe not so obvious firefighter position. In other words, this is an important section of the ASVAB to do well and you should be sure to devote sufficient study time to preparing for this subtest. On the Word Knowledge subtest you will have 8 minutes to answer 16 questions if you take the CAT-ASVAB. If you take the paper ASVAB, you will have 11 minutes to answer 35 questions. On this test, you will be required to both differentiate words based on their spelling and to know what various words mean.

    Open Study Guide

135449243-pencil1Using the right ASVAB study guide is an important factor in determining how well you will do on the exam. Each branch of the U.S. Military requires you take an ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) exam.  Your scores on the ASVAB determine not only your entrance into the military, but also your job, advancement opportunities, and potential salary.  The ASVAB exam consists of questions in ten different areas, but in general, the exam is measuring your aptitude in four key areas: Math, Verbal, Science and Technical, and Spatial.  To efficiently prepare for your ASVAB exam, check out our recommended study guides, our free practice exams, our ASVAB flash cards, and our ASVAB study tips.

Recommended ASVAB Study Guides

ASVAB Prep Course - recommended prep course with full ASVAB diagnostic test to identify weak areas.

ASVAB Flashcards - Printed flashcards for convenient study.

ASVAB For Dummies Premier Plus - Most popular ASVAB study guide on the market.

Free ASVAB Practice Exams

Practice Set 1

General Science Practice Test 1

Arithmetic Reasoning Practice Test 1

Word Knowledge Practice Test 1

Math Knowledge Practice Test 1

Electronics Information Practice Test 1

Auto and Shop Practice Test 1

Assembling Objects Practice Test 1

Mechanical Comprehension Practice Test 1

Practice Set 2

General Science Practice Test 2

Arithmetic Reasoning Practice Test 2

Word Knowledge Practice Test 2

Math Knowledge Practice Test 2

Electronics Information Practice Test 2

Auto and Shop Practice Test 2

Assembling Objects Practice Test 2

Mechanical Comprehension Practice Test 2

Free ASVAB Flash Cards

ASVAB Word Knowledge Flash Cards

ASVAB Math Flash Cards

ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Flash Cards

ASVAB Auto and Shop Flash Cards

ASVAB General Science Flash Cards

ASVAB Study Guide - Tips

Preparing for the ASVAB can seem overwhelming! The exam covers a wide set of topic areas, including:

  • General Science - including life science, physical science, and earth and space science.
  • Arithmetic Reasoning - including operations with whole numbers, operations with fractions and decimals, ratios and proportions, interest and percentage and measurement of perimeters, areas and volumes.
  • Word Knowledge - definitions of words both with and without context.
  • Paragraph comprehension - tests literal comprehension and implicity, inferential or critical comprehension.
  • Mathematics Knowledge - including number theory, algebraic operations and equations, geometry and measurement, probability and numeration
  • Electronics Information - including electrical tools, symbols, devices, and materials.
  • Auto Information and Shop Information - including automotive components, systems and tools, shop tools, building materials, and building and construction procedures.
  • Mechanical Comprehension - including basic compound and simple machines
  • Assembling Objects - determining how objects will appear when parts are put together.

In general, when preparing for the ASVAB, you should stick to the following strategies:

  • Know what is on the test - understand the specific areas that you will be tested on for your specific branch of the military and concentrate on only that material. Don't waste your time on specific topics if you will not be tested on them.
  • Focus on your weakest topics - most people already have a good feel for the areas that they are weak on (e.g., math or vocab). If you are not sure, then take some practice exams to help you determine your strengths and weaknesses. Concentrate your study time on only your weak areas.
  • Smarter study = higher scores - study when you are the most alert and develop a flexible study schedule. You won't be able to learn and retain information if you study when you are tired or distracted.

In addition to these general study strategies, consider the following tips to help you ace your ASVAB:

Carefully read the entire question

Many students rush to an answer without fully understanding all of the question and each of the potential answers. A good approach is to read the entire question twice before you look at the answers. Also be sure to read each of the answer choices - test writers will often put misleading answers first to lure you in. Be careful, however, not to "over-think" the question! Most of the questions on the ASVAB are straight forward and don't require a "leap of faith" to answer.

Keep Up the Pace

The ASVAB is a timed test. Each of the sections has a specific time limit. You need to understand the time limit, and develop a time "budget" to help you keep pace. For example, if the time limit for a section is 24 minutes, and there are 12 questions, then your time budget is 2 minutes. In this case, you should not spend more than 2 minutes per question.

Answer Everything

The ASVAB test does not penalize you for guessing. You need to answer every question in order to maximize your score. If you do not know an answer to a question, attempt to eliminate 1 or 2 unlikely answer choices. Then choose the one answer from the remaining choices that you feel best about - and move on.

Attitude is Everything

Do not underestimate the power of a positive attitude when taking the ASVAB. When preparing for the ASVAB and when actually taking the test, you need to be positive and have confidence. You need to believe that you will score high on the test. If you come across an answer that frustrates you - just relax, take a deep breath and attempt to answer it the best that you can. DO NOT PANIC! If you have prepared for the ASVAB with the resources at, then YOU WILL ACE YOUR ASVAB!

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How to Study for the ASVAB Test

As with any test, how well you do depends in large part upon how well you prepare. To study effectively for the ASVAB, you really need to begin studying at least two months before you plan to take the test, if not more!

Here are some basic steps to take:

  • Find a comfortable, quiet area to study.
  • Gather paper, pens and pencils, a calculator and other tools.
  • Make a basic study schedule.

Making a Schedule

Probably the most important thing is to make a schedule and stick with it. Some days, you will be a little tired, and you may not concentrate as hard as you should on other days, but if you are consistent, you will reap great rewards.

When you first begin studying, you should make a list of the areas you are good at and those on which you could use improvement.

If you're not really sure, it would be a great idea to take a practice ASVAB test.

Related: Take an ASVAB practice test

This will help you figure out what you're good and not so good at. For example, you might make a table like this:

SectionCurrent Skill Level

Scale of 1 - 5:

1 = Low

5 = High

AFQT Sections
Arithmetic reasoning (AR)3
Mathematics knowledge (MK)2
Word knowledge (WK)4
Paragraph comprehension (PC)3
Extra Sections
General science (GS)11
Auto and shop information (AS)11
Mechanical comprehension (MC)19
Electronics information (EI)9

Focus on Your Weaknesses

Focus on the four essential sections, those critical to the AFQT score, first. From the example above, it seems that your verbal abilities are at least OK: you gave yourself a four on the word knowledge section and a three on paragraph comprehension. However, your math skills could use some work -- especially with mathematics knowledge, as you only have a skill level of two. This tells you that you'll have to work extra hard on the math sections.

After you know the problem, the solution will come much easier. In the example above, you probably would want to spend about 60% of your time with math studying and about 40% with verbal. If you are really ambitious, you could throw in some studying time for the nonessential sections -- GS, AS, MC, EI. An hour-a-day study schedule might look something like this:

DayTimeSections to Study
Monday7-8 p.m.Mathematics knowledge
Tuesday7-7:30 p.m.

7:30-8 p.m.

Arithmetic reasoning

Paragraph comprehension

Wednesday7-7:30 p.m.

7:30-8 p.m.

Mathematics knowledge

Word knowledge

Thursday7-8 p.m.Mathematics knowledge
Friday7-7:30 p.m.

7:30-8 p.m.

"Extra" section (GS, AS, MC, or EI)

Paragraph comprehension

SaturdayNo studying -- Read a book to help boost vocabulary!
Sunday7-8 p.m.Review any trouble spots you had. Maybe take a practice test to see how you've improved!

What's the most important day out of the above? Hands down, Sunday. Review is essential if you want to make progress. If you never review what you've done, how will you know whether or not you've improved?

"We know from our many years offering ASVAB test prep courses that studying and practicing are essential to getting a good score. Since your score determines the military career path opportunities you may have, it's worth it to put the time and energy into getting ready for the test." said Elizabeth Barry, director of marketing for Peterson's Test Prep, a leading test prep provider.

Though you may be intimidated by studying 5-7 nights a week, remember that this is only for a few months. The investment you make now in yourself can have great rewards -- if you put in the time! Just be honest with yourself, find out what you need to work on the most and stick with your schedule. You also may want to set goals, such as: "I want to take a practice test and score 80% or better on it within a month." However you choose to study, be consistent, be confident and you will be successful!

General Study Tip: Developing good study habits is key for lifelong achievement and not just testing.

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ASVAB Study Guide

ASVAB Study Guide Customer Success Stories

Our customers love the tutorial videos from Mometrix Academy that we have incorporated into our ASVAB test study guide. The ASVAB study guide reviews below are examples of customer experiences.

My student and I like how there are videos in between. This allows him to visually see and hear about the information in a different way. It breaks up the book and makes it more interesting. I also like the setup of the book. So far, he has taken the Word Knowledge practice test after reviewing and received a score of 32/35, which seems to be a very good score. He wants to join the National Guard but did not score high enough on the ASVAB the two times he took the test previously. This study guide seems to really be helping him with the secrets and tools to achieve a higher score.

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ASVAB Study Guide – Customer

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Guide asvab study

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