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Understanding the US Military Entrance Exam

Military Entrance Exam

The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery is quite the mouthful – but it’s also the test that you’re required to take if you wish to enlist in the military. It was established by the US Department of Defense and exists mainly to see whether or not those interested in joining the military have what it takes mentally. It also serves to help the military categorize those enlisting into jobs they see as most suitable.


Content and Structure of the ASVAB

Joining the US Military is a big deal. So to be absolutely sure that you – and those recruiting you – are making the right move, you need to sit for the ASVAB. But what is this exactly? Basically, it’s the obstacle that stands between you and enlistment. In order to make it as clear and convenient as possible, the exam is broken down into different sections based on the different skills you need to be tested on. Because of the content and the structure of the exam, it is often called a series of exams. This series encompasses a lot of different things, simply because it serves as a military deal-breaker. This means that it really needs to cover everything. No entrance exam, no entry. All in all, the exam is split into a total of nine different sub-tests. All of these tests are taken individually and are timed according to questions and length -- and all deal with a different set of skills, and a variety of knowledge.


What to Expect of the 9 Sub-tests

The ASVAB consists of English language-based tests in Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension. It will cover number-based knowledge in Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics and General Science. It also deals with Auto & Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, Electronics Information and Assembling Objects.


Number of Questions

Each sub-test consists of a set amount of questions for each test-taker to answer. It’s worth noting that the questions asked for in each category always differ. The General Science sub-test will consist of 25 questions. You will also be presented with 25 questions in the Mathematical Knowledge section, the Auto & Shop section and the Mechanical Comprehension section. Word Knowledge will consist of 35 questions, and Arithmetic Reasoning will consist of 30. Then you have Paragraph Comprehension with 15 questions, Electronics Information with 20 and Assembling Objects with 16.



Each section is appropriately timed according to ASVAB standards and the exam as a whole is a total of 138 minutes (2hrs 18mns). Like the exams you were used to taking at school, you’ll be given a certain amount of time on your paper, before it’s taken in and graded.


Preparation Hints and Suggestions

When preparing for the exam, there are some recommended strategies in optimizing exam success. Review areas of your knowledge base which require improvement or practice. If at hand, the use of an ASVAB study guide is highly recommended. This will help you brush up on any stale skills, or might help jog your memory from school or college days.


Online Sample Tests

It is also recommended that you familiarize yourself with standard ASVAB content by reviewing and completing sample questions on the web. There are content areas found online which you may wish to practice or review and also practice tests available for free. When preparing for the test, it is useful to have taken courses in English and Math during high school and/or college.


No Chance of Failure

Once the exam has been taken, it can't be failed. Your grade will allow you to be compared with that of other students and will also give the military the chance to pinpoint how useful you will be as part of the military. By taking the ASVAB, you are making that first crucial step towards enlisting in a life-changing experience.  

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