The ASVAB Test Format

What are the Subtests of ASVAB?


The ASVAB is a battery of varied and timed aptitude tests that help recruiters decide the candidates' eligibility for military enlisting, and also for classifying potential candidates into appropriate job functions and roles. It is offered as part of the military enlisting process in the US, and is one of the primary stages of recruitment. Though all force branches use the same test battery, each one has its own minimum score criteria for enlisting and classification purposes. For example, the US Army and US Navy do not have the same score requirements for enlisting. The test is offered in two different formats - the traditional paper and pencil format, and the computerized format.

For more information on the test, you may refer to:

What are the Sections and Subtests of the Military Test ASVAB?

In general, the ASVAB is designed to test the candidates' abilities and skills in the following core areas:

  • Mathematical
  • Science and Technical
  • Spatial
  • Verbal

Accordingly, there are nine (in the paper and pencil version of the test) or ten (in the computerized version) subtests:

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

All the questions of all the subtests are of multiple-choice type. The number of questions in each subtest, however, differs. You can find a set of sample questions at:


  • The Auto Information (AI) and Shop Information (SI) subtests are combined into one single Auto and Shop Information (AS) subtest in the traditional (P&P) format. Also, the AI and SI tests are scored together as AS in the CAT-ASVAB (

  • Some of the subtests are not used by some of the branches of US military services. For example, the AO or Assembling Objects subtest and its score are not considered in the US National Guard recruitment process (

What is the Duration of the Military Test ASVAB?

Each of the subtests is of varying duration in both the formats of the test. The number of questions and timing for each subtest in both formats can be found on the official ASVAB website ( You may please note that the time limits and number of questions for all subtests differ from traditional ASVAB to CAT-ASVAB.

Also, in the paper and pencil format of the test, it takes up to three hours to complete the test approximately; while in the computerized version, the average completion time is one and a half hours. The computerized test being an adaptive test, it allows candidates to complete the test at their own individual paces within the time limit. While it is possible for individual examinees to finish off a subtest and move onto the next without waiting for instructions in the CAT-ASVAB, it is not allowed in the traditional format. This provides for the time difference between the two versions.

Though there are two different formats being used, it is ensured that the format of the test, in no way, proves beneficial or disadvantageous to test takers. The scoring process of the test ensures that all versions are scored on the same scale, the scores are equated, and accurately reflect a correct picture of the candidates' abilities and skills; thus facilitating the whole purpose of the ASVAB.