ASVAB Online Testing

Why do students appear for ASVAB CAT?

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery or the ASVAB is available in three versions: Computerized Adaptive testing-ASVAB (CAT-ASVAB), Paper & Pencil ASVAB (P&P ASVAB) and the Student ASVAB.


This is an online testing version of ASVAB. Many of the candidates appearing for the ASVAB take up this ASVAB online testing version. This is an automated test administration system. The display of questions, recording the answers, scoring and evaluation of the different scores are all computerized. One can take up this test at any Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS).

In this ASVAB online testing version, one can pace the responses and pass on to the next subtest at his/her own pace. Though the duration of this test is approximately three hours, most candidates finish it within one and a half hours. If a candidate does not complete the test in the given time, a penalty procedure is applied. Here, the questions that have not been completed are scored as though the questions are answered at random. This procedure is rarely applied since most examinees complete the tests in the stipulated time. All the questions in this test are multiple-choice questions and one cannot change the answer after submitting the answer once.

Subtests in CAT-ASVAB

There are 10 subtests in this version of the test,

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  • Word Knowledge (WK)
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  • General Science (GS)
  • MathematicsKnowledge (MK)
  • Auto Information (AI)
  • Shop Information (SI)
  • Electronics Information (EI)
  • Assembling Objects (AO)
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC)

The following table states the number of questions and maximum time duration of each of the Subtests

Type Subtest No. of Questions Time Duration (minutes)
AR 16 39
WK 16 8
PC 11 22
MK 16 20
EI 16 8
AI 11 7
SI 11 6
MC 16 20
AO 16 16

Scoring in CAT-ASVAB

In ASVAB online testing, scores are computed according to the difficulty level of the questions. All the candidates taking up this test do not get the same questions. The difficulty level of the succeeding question depends on the answer the candidate gives to the previous question. If the candidate gives the correct answer, the difficulty level of the next question increases. If the candidate gives an incorrect answer, the difficulty level of the next question decreases. Since the difficulty level differs from candidate to candidate, the scores are computed keeping in mind the difficulty level of the questions answered. This system of valuation has been implemented after 20 years of extensive research.

The scores of the CAT-ASVAB undergo a process called "equating". Due to this process, the score interpretation of the CAT-ASVAB is identical to that of the P&P-ASVAB. This means that if an examinee scores 64 in General Science in the CAT-ASVAB, he would score the same if he/she takes up the P&P-ASVAB version.
In ASVAB, online testing computes and gives the score report automatically. The AFQT and the standard scores for each of the subtests are given in this report. Composite scores for all the Service composites are also included in this report.

Advantages of CAT-ASVAB

Many of the candidates appearing for the ASVAB prefer the ASVAB online testing version. This is so because there are many advantages. Some of the major advantages are,

  • The difficulty level is tailored to suit each individual's ability
  • One can pace his/her test according to his/her need
  • One can proceed to the next subtest as soon as he/she completes the previous subtest which means there is a reduction in the testing time
  • Immediate scoring is possible
  • Scoring errors are minimal
  • The scoring accuracy is increased
  • Procedures and instructions are standardized
  • The test security is increased

Disadvantages of CAT-ASVAB

The major disadvantage in the ASVAB online testing is that, one cannot skip a question and come back to the question later. One cannot change an answer after submitting his/her choice.


Like for any test version, the CAT-ASVAB has its advantages and disadvantages. However, the advantages outnumber the disadvantages. The ASVAB online testing version is a good option for those wanting to take up the ASVAB.

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