Details About ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension

Significance of ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension

ASVAB or the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery is a test administered by the Department of Defenses to select suitable candidates for the U.S. Armed Forces. This is a multi-aptitude test.

About the Test

The ASVAB consists of ten subtests which fall under four domains. These domains and the subtests are:

1. Science & Technology Domain

  • General Science (GS)
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC)
  • Electronics Information (EI)
  • Auto Information (AI)
  • Shop Information (SI)

2. Math Domain

  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK)
  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)

3. Verbal Domain

  • Word Knowledge (WK)
  • Paragraph Comprehension (PC)

4. Spatial Domain

  • Assembling Objects (AO)

Question Types and Duration

All the questions in the test are multiple-choice questions. The entire examination is administered in two versions and the candidates are free to choose any one of these. The two versions are CAT-ASVAB and the P&P-ASVAB.

    • CAT-ASVAB – Computer Adaptive Test – ASVAB. In this version, there are ten subtests as mentioned above.
  • P&P-ASVAB – Paper & Pencil – ASVAB. In this version of the test, there are nine subtests; the Shop Information and Auto Information subtests are combined to form one subtest and it is called Auto & Shop Information (AS).

Mechanical Comprehension

As mentioned earlier, the Mechanical Comprehension sub-test falls under the science domain. This subtest measures the candidate’s knowledge of mechanical and physical principles and the ability to solve simple mechanical problems. The level of the questions in this sub-test pertains to the high school syllabus
In the computerized version of the examination, the Mechanical Comprehension sub-test comprises 16 questions that should be answered in 20 minutes and in the P&P version, there are 25 questions that should be answered in 19 minutes.

Significance of Mechanical Comprehension

The score in this sub-test is used to decide whether the candidates have the aptitude and ability to work in the mechanical, scientific or technical jobs in the U.S. Military. Therefore, if you want to get enlisted and get a job in one of the three mentioned fields, you should score well in the Mechanical Comprehension subtest.
The fields where the Mechanical Comprehension score is used in the different wings of the U.S. Military Services, are listed below:

Wing Broad Job Field
Army and National Guard Combat Operations
Field Artillery
Mechanical Maintenance
Surveillance and Communications
Skilled Technical
Navy and Coast Guard Mechanical Maintenance
Nuclear Field
Special Operations
Air Force Mechanical
Marine Corps Mechanical Maintenance
Skilled Technical

How to Prepare for the Mechanical Comprehension Subtest?

Learning about the following concepts and principles will help you prepare well for this sub-test:

    • Mechanical terminology– The description of simple machines, motion, force, load, weight etc which are a part of the terminology associated with this field could be learnt by using flash cards. Many times, it so happens that candidates do not do well in this subtest because they lack mechanical vocabulary. Therefore, be thorough with mechanical terminology.
    • Arithmetic Problems– Most often questions in the Mechanical Comprehension test involve  solving simple mathematical problems. It is best to learn to solve these problems in an easy and fast method as this will save time.
    • Force and Motion– Learn about velocity, momentum, acceleration, force etc. The differences and relation between these concepts should also be learnt thoroughly. Many of the questions in this subtest are based on these concepts.
    • Strength and Density– You must also improve your knowledge about weight and load distribution. At the same time, you must understand the concept of buoyancy and other related phenomena.
  • Simple Machines– It is important to understand and learn how simple machines work. The concepts of lever, pulley, gears and springs are also frequently asked.


All the questions in the sub-test are simple if you learn the above said concepts and principles thoroughly. After you have learnt them, take as many practice tests as possible. This will exactly show you the areas you are good at and the areas you need to study more. This way, before the actual ASVAB, you can be thorough and ace this subtest with confidence and get the job of your dreams.