Online ASVAB

Test Structure of ASVAB Online Tests

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 the online version of ASVAB and many students take up this version. The test administration system is automated, which means that all the processes involved in the exam like the display of questions, recording of answers, scoring and evaluation of the test are all computerized. This test is administered at the Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).

Structure of the Test

To understand the structure of the test, we need to know certain characteristics of it. These characteristics are:

  • Subtests in the online ASVAB test
  • Time duration of the test
  • Difficulty level of the test
  • Scoring of the test

Subtests in the Online ASVAB Test

There are 10 subtests in this version of the test:

  1. Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)
  2. Word Knowledge (WK)
  3. Paragraph Comprehension (PC)
  4. General Science (GS)
  5. Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
  6. Auto Information (AI)
  7. Shop Information (SI)
  8. Electronics Information (EI)
  9. Assembling Objects (AO)
  10. Mechanical Comprehension (MC)

The following table gives the number of questions and maximum time duration of each of the subtests:

Subtest No. of Questions Time Duration (minutes)
GS 16 8
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
Total 145 154

All the questions in this online ASVAB are multiple-choice questions and the answer to a question cannot be changed once it has been submitted.

Time Duration of the Test

In this online ASVAB version, the candidates can pace their responses. Once they complete a subtest, they can move over to the next subtest. The duration of the test is around three hours but candidates generally complete the test in one and a half hours. However, in the case where a candidate is unable to complete the test in the given time, a penalty procedure is applied. The questions that have not been answered are scored as though they have been answered randomly. This penalty procedure rarely comes into use, as most of the candidates complete the tests well within the given time.

Difficulty Level of the Test

In the online ASVAB test, each candidate gets a different set of questions. The difficulty level of the questions is based on the capability of the candidates. This means that, if the candidate answers a question correctly, then the next question's difficulty level will be higher and if the candidate gives an incorrect answer, the difficulty level of the next question will be lower.

Scoring in Online ASVAB

In online ASVAB, scores are computed according to the difficulty level of the questions. Since the difficulty level of the questions 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 59 in General Science in the CAT-ASVAB, he would score the same even if he/she takes up the P&P-ASVAB version.

Advantages of Online ASVAB

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

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

Disadvantages of Online ASVAB

There are a very few disadvantages of the online ASVAB as well; these are:

  1. The candidates cannot skip a question and move on the next one
  2. Once the answer is submitted, it cannot be changed


There are both advantages and disadvantages in the online ASVAB. However, the number of disadvantages is very few and negligible before the number of advantages that this version of the ASVAB has. Moreover, the structure of the online ASVAB is very comfortable for students and this is the best option for the candidates to choose for taking up the ASVAB test.

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