Taking The ASVAB Test At MEPS
How are you supposed to practice the ASVAB if you don’t even know what is on it? Before entry into service, an applicant will have to take several types of tests. These include health physicals and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or otherwise known as the ASVAB.
Enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces means meeting specific requirements and benchmarks. Military service is not for everyone. Beyond physical requirements, there are mental and emotional characteristics that define qualified applicants. A large part of the responsibility of a recruiter is to evaluate applicants to make certain they meet the standards and can fulfill the challenges of military service.
The Recruiters Office Practice ASVAB Tests
Once you give the go ahead to the recruiter that you wish to enlist, they will have you take an ASVAB practice test in their office. Depending on your score, the recruiter will either set up a date for you to head to MEPS to take the real test or if you scored too low have you come back to take the practice test again.
There are over 60 MEPS offices throughout the US. During your visit to the MEPS, you may undergo a physical exam, so be prepared to spend a large part of your day there. For more information about military entrance processing, visit the Military Entrance Processing Station page. Your travel to the MEPS station, meals during your trip and any related expenses are free. Even if you do not qualify for or decide to enter into military service, you will not incur a cost for applying.
Should you reside far from a MEPS, the ASVAB can be administered at a testing extension or alternative location. These alternate locations are called Military Entrance Test (MET) sites. MET sites can be located in Schools or Federal office buildings. A National Guard armory or Reserve center may also serve as a MET site.
The Computer Administered Tests (CAT-ASVAB)
The computer version of the ASVAB, called the CAT-ASVAB, is adaptive test. The questions that you are asked changes based on the ability level of each person taking This means that the test changes, or adapts, as the ability of the examinee is calculated throughout the testing period. The adaptive nature of the CAT-ASVAB allows for usually shorter test than the one given using pen and paper.
Each examinee works on the CAT-ASVAB at their own pace. As you finish subsets, you can move onto the next subtest without waiting for every test taker to complete it. There are time limits imposed on each subtest, but almost the majority of applicants complete the subtests before the time expires. A countdown clock will appear on the screen so you can be sure to finish on time. The time spent completing the CAT-ASVAB is approximately an hour and a half.
When completing the ASVAB using a computer, you will have a brief instruction on using the keyboard and mouse, the method of choosing responses to test questions and how to get help.
You will be unable to review or change an answer once you have submitted it, also you will not be able to go back to a question unlike the paper and pencil ASVAB. Once your test is complete, your scores are immediately available. You should be sure to leave the test room once you are finished.
Yes, They Still Do The Paper and Pencil Tests:
Once all the examinees are registered and ready to begin, the test administrator provides detailed instructions on testing procedure and distributes test booklets and answer sheets. Pay close attention and do move on to other sections until instructed to do so. Each subtest has a specific number of questions and a specific amount of time to complete them. The paper and pencil test typically requires between three and four hours to complete.
During the paper and pencil ASVAB, you can review your responses when you finish a subtest – but only in that particular subtest. You cannot go back to an earlier subtest or move forward until you are instructed to. Scoring of the answer sheets takes a few days; your recruiter is notified of your scores.
What The ASVAB Covers:
The ASVAB developed by the Department of Defense as a timed multi-aptitude test. It consists of nine individual tests all are multiple choice:
- General Science – 25 questions
- Word Knowledge – 35 questions
- Paragraph Comprehension – 15 questions
- Mathematics Knowledge – 25 questions
- Arithmetic Reasoning – 30 questions
- Electronics Information – 20 questions
- Auto and Shop Information – 25 questions
- Mechanical Comprehension – 25 questions
- Assembling Objects* – 16 questions
*Note that the Assembling Objects subtest is only administered on the CAT-ASVAB.
Each subtest and combinations of subtests are used in scoring the ASVAB. Your score in four areas—Arithmetic Reasoning, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge and Word Knowledge—comprise the Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) score. This score determines whether you are qualified for enlistment.
Your other subtests scores determine your level of qualification for certain military occupational specialties, or MOS. Each MOS, or job you have in the military comes with unique qualification standards and there may be bonuses associated with enlisting in that specialty. A high score will improve your chances of getting the specialty/job and signing bonus you want. Preparation is key, scoring higher allows the recruiter to offer additional options for your MOS. Make the most out of preparation materials, and use test-taking techniques to improve your score. Military service is not all about physical strength, highly skilled, technical occupations are prevalent in the armed forces. Physicists, Logistics Specialists and Computer Programmers are just as important to our nation’s security as Rangers, Pilots and Scouts.
Study aids are available to help you prepare for the ASVAB. Your recruiter is unable to offer assistance in preparing you for the exam. However, your public library or school guidance counselor, career advisor or local bookstore will have resources with practice examinations, study guides and testing locations. There is no need to buy ANYTHING.
Here is the Official ASVAB Fact Sheet.
More about the AFQT
The Armed Forces Qualifying Test (AFQT) is not a stand alone test. While many of the sections in the ASVAB determine what jobs you are qualified for, the AFQT determines if you are even eligible to join the branch you are trying to get into.
These sections are:
- Arithmetic Reasoning: This is includes 30 math word problems.
- Word Knowledge: 35 questions of relating words to other words and meanings.
- Paragraph Comprehension: 15 questions that determine if you understand a paragraph you just read.
- Mathematics Knowledge: 25 basic math problems that are at high school level.
For more information about the AFQT visit this page: ASVAB-AFQT Info & Scoring
- Learn the way the test is organized. You should be familiar with the type and number of questions in each section, how much time you have to complete each section and the instructions the section covers.
- Try to complete a minimum of two full-length practice exams with the same time restraints. Scoring these practice exams will give you an idea of the sections where you are the weakest. Spend more time focused on studying the sections where you score the lowest on the practice exam.
- Do not linger too long on one question. If you get stuck, make a note of the question, move forward then go back to those difficult questions if time permits.
Testing Day Tips:
Valid identification issued by a state or federal agency is required for admission to the ASVAB testing room. Since it is a timed examination, if you are late you will be unable to test and must reschedule. Persons not testing, including your recruiter are not allowed in the testing room. ASVAB test questions are controlled testing materials. Giving away information about individual test questions to other people is strictly forbidden, doing so makes you subject to severe penalties.
Here is a page that give you information on Retaking the ASVAB
At the MEPS, the ASVAB is most often completed on a computer. However, a paper-and-pencil version is typically used at MET sites. Different testing procedures rule each location based on how the test is administered.