Military ASVAB Test

Different Versions of the Military ASVAB Test

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is only one of the requirements essential to join the United States Armed Forces. There are other basic or general requirements along with more specific requirements. The basic requirements include:

  • Age: The age limit ranges broadly from 17 to 39. Different branches have a different age limit and according to the position you are applying for; whether you want to enlist or join as an officer. For example, the Army has an age limit of 17 to 34 years, whereas the Coast Guard has an age limit of 17 to 39 years. You will need to check the requirements of the branch you are interested in.
  • Citizenship: You must be a naturalized citizen of the United States and hold a social security ID.

Specific requirements include specialization, height and weight. The height and weight proportions vary according to the branch of the Armed Forces you select. For example, you will need to be robust and fit to join the Marines.

The military ASVAB test is held at the local Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS). If you do not have MEPS near you, you can contact your school counselor to know more about how to appear for the exam.

Purpose of the ASVAB Test

The military ASVAB test is a test of your aptitude to join the Armed Forces. It assesses your capability in domains that are used in everyday life, such Math and English. Apart from this, it also tests your aptitude in specialized skills that are required in military services.
The following important scores are derived from the military ASVAB test to measure your aptitude for joining the services:

  • Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score: This score is derived from your scores in Math (Arithmetic Reasoning and Mathematical Knowledge) and English (Paragraph Comprehension and Word Knowledge).
  • General Technical (GT) score: This score is used to compute your AFQT percentile.
  • Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) or line scores: This score is used to determine a career or suitability of a job for you.

Versions of the ASVAB Test

The military ASVAB test is administered in two versions: the Paper-and-Pencil based test (P&P-ASVAB) and the Computerized test (CAT-ASVAB). The following is a description about each version of the test:

  • P&P-ASVAB: This is the traditional mode of appearing for the test. The questions for all the candidates are common and need to be completed in the given timeline.
  • CAT-ASVAB: This is the computerized version where candidates appear for the test online. This mode of testing is slightly different from the P&P-ASVAB because it is adaptive in nature. This means that the next question appears based on your response to the previous question. Thus, CAT-ASVAB is customized according to each candidate. For example, if you did not answer question 5 correctly, question 6 will be of an easier level; if you answered the previous question correctly, the next question could be a little more challenging. Thus, this mode of testing allows candidates to take the test according to his/her ability, which is also the reason for its rising popularity.


The duration of the test depends on the version of the test you are taking:

  • P&P-ASVAB: In this version of the ASVAB test, a total of 225 questions are administered in a time span of 149 minutes or 2 hours and 48 minutes.
  • CAT-ASVAB: In this version of the ASVAB test, a total of 145 questions are administered in a time span of 154 minutes or 2 hours and 57 minutes.

Sections and Question Types

The military ASVAB test includes the following sub-tests:

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

The Auto Information and Shop Information sub-tests are administered separately in the CAT-ASVAB consisting of 11 questions in each whereas both are in combined format in the P&P-ASVAB with a total of 25 questions. The number of questions in each sub-test varies according to the test format you are taking. For more information about the number of questions and the time limit for each sub-test, see

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