The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, is the standardized test that all members of the military must take before enlistment. The ASVAB determines specific educational levels and basic knowledge of the test taker in order to determine whether they are qualified to serve in the military, and what specific jobs they qualify to work. The General Technical section, or GT, is a composite of the math and English language portion of the ASVAB. GT scores are used to determine general aptitude for some of the military's toughest jobs, such as special operations forces, or Army officer candidacy.
Buy an ASVAB test preparation study guide. McGraw Hill and Kaplan both produce helpful guides. To study for the GT specifically, look for guides that focus on the AFQT (Armed Forced Qualification Tests). Your local bookstore or big online retailers such as Amazon.com will able to supply these.
Study up. Study guides will have review sections for you to read through to refresh your memory of English and mathematics that you will have learned in high school. Books focusing on the AFQT will go over the paragraph comprehension, word comprehension, vocabulary, and various mathematics covered in the test.
Practice taking the test. Practicing is exceptionally useful if you have not taken any standardized tests in a while, are prone to nervousness during testing, or are unsure of the material. Practice on your own by making up your numbers for the various arithmetic problems, and by increasing your volume of reading to understand language comprehension. Study guides like those mentioned above also will contain practice tests similar to the real ASVAB.
Focus on the English language and math sections of the study guide and in your own review. While the ASVAB contains more sections than these, your GT score is comprised solely of English language comprehension and arithmetic sections.
Rest up. Come prepared to your test, mentally and physically. Though the ASVAB is offered at high schools and recruiting stations, you could be taking the test during your trip to the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). Check with your recruiter to be sure. MEPS can be a high stress environment, so make sure you get a decent night's sleep before the test.
Read the instructions on the test thoroughly. You are not timed during the test while you are reading instructions. Don't make any silly mistakes because of haste in skipping the instructions.
Keep track of your time. Because each section of the ASVAB is timed, you will want to pace yourself on each question. Some questions may take longer than others. You will need to weigh out how long you feel is appropriate to spend on getting a tough question right versus skipping it and moving onto easier questions.
Make use of your scratch paper. Scratch paper is particularly helpful in the mathematics and visualization sections of the test.
Train like you fight is a military maxim used to emphasize a seriousness of effort in preparation. Do not bring yourself further out of your comfort zone on test day than you would normally while studying for the test. If you don't normally drink energy drinks or get two hours of sleep before taking a test, do not make the day of your test the day to try it.
While the written version of the ASVAB lasts longer than the computerized version, you are allowed to skip questions in a section on the written test whereas you are not allowed to skip questions on the computerized test. The computerized ASVAB also adapts the questions it gives you, making them easier or more difficult, based on your performance on the previous question. If you get a question right, the test will provide you a question ranked more difficult subsequently.
- "Kaplan ASVAB 2011 Edition"; Kaplan; 2010
- "McGraw-Hill's ASVAB Basic Training for the AFQT, Second Edition"; Dr. Janet E. Wall; 2010
Marcus Scott has been writing on international politics, local news and culture since 2004. He has written articles, op-eds, columns and edited for student organization presses and blogs, including the Roosevelt Institution Defense and Diplomacy blog. In 2005 and 2006 Scott attended the Journalism Education Association national conferences. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.