The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery is a series of eight tests used by all branches of the U.S. military to determine the occupations that best suit each recruit. The questions are all multiple choice and the test is administered on paper or a computer. The knowledge required for the paper version should not exceed 10th grade level, but the computerized version is adaptive, so it will determine your ability and offer questions tailored to your own level. The computer test takes about an hour and a half, with each section containing 11 to 16 questions. The paper version takes about 3 hours to complete, and the number of questions in each category ranges from 15 to 35.
Arithmetic Reasoning and Mathematics Knowledge
To score well on the math sections of the ASVAB, you'll need to have a grasp of basic algebra. You should also review basic geometry, such as how to find the circumference or radius of a circle, multiplying and dividing proper and improper fractions, calculating the value of exponents, determining numerical patterns and sequences, and rounding numbers up and down. Calculators are not permitted for the ASVAB.
Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension
The word knowledge section of the ASVAB tests your vocabulary, so prepare for this by spending some time with a dictionary. Get in the habit of learning several new words each day. Reading will increase your vocabulary and also boost your paragraph comprehension scores, especially if you stop every once in a while to think over what you've just read and see if you can re-state the main idea in your own words.
The general science section of the ASVAB covers three different types of science: life science, physical science and earth and space science. The life sciences you'll need to study are biology, human physiology and ecology. Physical science includes basic physics, such as the laws of motion and energy and the concepts of heat and magnetism, plus elementary chemistry such as the names of elements and formulas of compounds and mixtures. For the earth and space science section, review astronomy, geology, meteorology and oceanography.
The mechanical comprehension test deals with things that move. You'll need to know the operation of pulley and gear systems, rotating wheels and disks, cams and cranks and pistons. You should also review pneumatics and the gas laws, particularly the way they power refrigerators and air conditioners. The test may also include questions about water pressure and how water flows through pipes, and you may be asked to calculate the rate at which tanks fill and empty.
On the electronics section of the ASVAB, you'll be asked questions dealing with electricity, electric circuits and electronic or electrical systems and devices. You should be able to measure current and voltage, identify different parts of a circuit and name different types of circuits. Be familiar with Ohm's law, so you can determine the voltage, amperage and resistance in a circuit. You'll also be asked questions dealing with magnetism as it relates to electromagnets, transformers, generators and motors.
Auto and Shop Information
The auto and shop information test determines your capacity for building and repairing the vehicles and equipment used in military operations. Auto questions deal with the different systems that make up a motor vehicle: the internal combustion engine, the transmission, the cooling system, the exhaust system, the suspension, the electrical system and the brakes. You'll also be tested on the uses of shop tools and building materials such as brick, steel and basic construction procedures such as flooring, framing and roofing.