How to Get the ASVAB Score You Want

Students test ASVAB Joint Base Lewis-McChord
Students at the David L. Stone Education Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, take the test for adult basic education to improve their general technical score on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, Aug. 27, 2010. (Spc. Alicia Clark/20th Public Affairs Detachment)

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or the ASVAB, is a test administered to three potentially separate groups of people: interested high school students, individuals who are looking to enter the military, and people already enlisted but who desire to increase their rank (the ASVAB is then called the AFCT).

Preparing for the ASVAB is tricky, because you want to do well on the test, as it can determine what branch of military you qualify for, as well as your rank. It is designed, however, to measure knowledge you would have acquired in high school.

"The test itself measures how well [students] have obtained the information that they have been taught in school already. So math, science, reading comprehension, arithmetic reasoning, all those subjects are being taught in school so we measure where they are," said David Davis, chief of the testing division at United States Military Entrance Processing Command.

As a result, the military does not put out a study guide. Your ability to retain information you would have learned between sixth and 10th grade is being tested, and study of additional content is not necessary. However, familiarizing yourself with the test and brushing up on your skills with a bit of review can help you refresh your memory of these topics and help you feel confident about the test -- and getting the score you want. Below are topics the ASVAB covers that you may want to review:

  • General science
  • Arithmetic reasoning
  • Word knowledge
  • Paragraph comprehension
  • Mathematics knowledge
  • Electronics information
  • Auto and shop information
  • Mechanical comprehension
  • Assembling objects (for MEPS test-takers only)

Peterson's recommends taking a diagnostic test as a first step. This helps students know what to expect and what the format is like before going over the requisite material more extensively.

Once you feel comfortable with the material, taking a few practice tests before the real thing will help you feel prepared for the test. Remember, the test determines what branch and position you can have in the military, so take it seriously. Review material beforehand, get a good night's sleep, bring any necessary items and leave for the testing center in plenty of time, so you can show up on your testing date prepared to think on your toes.

For more military exam test prep resources, visit

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