The military uses the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, to determine a soldier's aptitude for specific jobs within the armed forces. The test also measures whether or not a soldier is able to take orders, follow directions and lead fellow soldiers. The mathematics comprehension portion of the test can be difficult, but if a recruit knows in advance what is on the test, and addresses weak areas, he can better his score.

ASVAB Structure

The ASVAB test consists of eight to ten tests, depending on the location where the test is taken. The test is given to all recruits that enlist in the military and to some students in high school. According to the official ASVAB website, the tests are general science, arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, mathematics knowledge, electronics information, auto information, shop information, mechanical comprehension and assembling objects. In some test versions, the auto and shop tests are combined, and the assembling objects test is not used.

Arithmetic Reasoning Test

According to the Coast Guard Training Station at Cape May website, the arithmetic reasoning test consists of 30 word problems and has a time limit of 36 minutes. There are three major types of word problems on the test: ratio problems; percentage problems; and speed, time, and distance problems. The math subjects covered are those of a basic math class: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, measurement and money. To begin studying for the arithmetic reasoning test, recruits can use an online ASVAB study site, such as, or Safari Books Online.

Mathematics Knowledge Test

The Coast Guard Training Station at Cape May website states that the mathematics knowledge test consists of 25 questions to be completed in 24 minutes. The test measures knowledge in algebra, geometry and trigonometry, as well as knowledge of math principles, concepts and procedures. The test covers adding, subtracting, multplying and dividing fractions, decimals and percents; bases, exponents, powers, reciprocals, factorial, prime numbers, roots, algebraic equations and geometry; and types of angles, triangles, circles, perimeter and area. Help for the mathematics knowledge test can be found at Instant ASVAB, Official ASVAB, and

Additional Help

There are recruits who need additional help with specific math concepts. has tutorials, practice sheets, games and a help desk to provide assistance on every math subject. Softschools also has games, concepts, tutorials and worksheets on the math concepts included on the ASVAB. SOS Math also has worksheets and information on each math concept. Recruits who are having trouble with word problems should be able to get additional help at Study Guides and Strategies, Purple Math and Webmath.

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