Fall is now upon us and it is one of the busiest times for High School Seniors as they take a host of exams for career placement and college. The only assessment that is used for the USA military (all branches) is the ASVAB and it is free to complete. The ASVAB is a timed multi-aptitude test, which is given at over 14,000 schools and Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) nationwide and is developed and maintained by the Department of Defense. The ASVAB contains 8 or 9 sections depending on which of the 3 versions you complete (Student & Paper MET Site have 8 while the Computerized CAT has 9 sections). Your scores in four critical sections — Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge (see below) — count towards your Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. The AFQT score determines whether you’re qualified to enlist in the U.S. military. Other combinations of the sections determine what job(s) you are qualified for. Scores for all the branches are similar but there are some differences that you’ll want to research.

If you are planning to take the ASVAB, the best preparation  you should do is take an ASVAB Practice Exam.  A practice exam will help you to prepare for the actual test and promotes you getting a higher score then if you did not prepare.  Taking one or more practice exams will also give you a good idea of what to expect and where you need to brush up a bit.  An additional benefit is that if you know what to expect before your exam, you will not be as nervous and experience test anxiety when you get to the test site.

The ASVAB Practice Exam should contain all sections of the ASVAB test.  This will give you a good idea of what to expect for each section.  If you’re not prepared for one section and have never seen it before, you will probably not do well on that section.  The practice test should also contain the number of questions that will be on your actual test.  This will give you a good idea of the time limits (i.e., how fast you need to work in order to complete the exam without running out of time).

Practicing with question formats that are similar to the actual ASVAB Exam, will help you to get the highest possible score on the ASVAB Exam and this is extremely important in getting into the branch you want to and securing the job you would like.  Two of the sources I use with my ASVAB students are the book ASVAB for Dummies (About $15.00 and it contains 4 practice paper exams with most answers explained) and the web site (Free, 3 abrieviated exams and 3 full-length).

Give yourself about 3-4 weeks of prep before you take the exam. If you are going to take the student version check with your guidance office when it will be offered. For the other versions you need to make arrangements with a local recruiting office. Remember that it is free to take the ASVAB! Good Luck


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