All About the ASVAB

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Taking the ASVAB. What you need to know.

Even though it’s been a couple of months, I want to clue you in on the ASVAB. If you don’t already know, the ASVAB is a test you are required to take to enter the military. The score you receive determines what branch and jobs you are eligible for. You don’t want to screw it up.

Thankfully, the ASVAB only tests you on information a tenth grader should know. I scored an 82, and I’ve been out of school for eight years. If I had taken it in tenth grade (when recruiters tend to give it in public schools), I’m sure I would have scored even higher. A lot of the questions were about things I remembered learning, but couldn’t quite put my finger on the answer.

NOTE: You want to score as high as possible so you’ll qualify for the best jobs. The best jobs are the ones that transfer over to the outside world and make  you big money. Thanks to my high score, I was chosen for the Air Force Electronic aptitude area.

The ASVAB consists of 10 parts. Four of those parts combine to make your AFQT score – the score that tells you which branch of the military you are eligible for. The other six parts will tell the military which job(s) you’re most qualified for.


The AFQT is made up of scores from four tests: Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, and Arithmetic Reasoning. This is 10th grade stuff people. If you graduated high school, you’ll recognize a lot of the information.


The six sub-tests that help determine your proficiency in certain subjects has no effect on your AFQT score, so if you earn miserably low scores on them, never fear. It won’t keep you out of the military. The sub-tests are to help the military know which jobs would be good for you based on your aptitude for the subject. These tests include General Science, Electronics Information, Auto & Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, and Assembling Objects.

There really isn’t a way to prepare for this. I will say, the ASVAB for Dummies book did help me know what to expect, but I didn’t spend a lot of time on it. If you grew up on a farm and know a lot about mechanics, you’ll excel in those categories. Some of it is common sense. I did well on the Electrical and Mechanical test, oddly enough. Those were ones I wanted to score high on, but I didn’t actually expect that I would. They’re really not that hard. If you’re a solid guesser, you’ll do just fine.

Since there are so many ASVAB resources out there already, I don’t want this post to be a regurgitation of that information. I want you to understand the process I went through in St. Louis, and how you should approach your own situation, wherever you may be.

What to Expect when Taking the ASVAB at MEPS

Take it in the afternoon.
First off, if you go in to take the ASVAB in the afternoon, the environment will feel much more relaxed than if you go to take it in the morning. Things are crazy stressful in the morning because a lot of recruits who have already taken the test are getting their physicals or preparing to ship out. Do yourself a favor and take it at like… 2 p.m.

Keep your mouth shut.
You’ll have to go to your military liaison to get prepped to take the ASVAB. They tell you what to do and where to go. These people are your friends. Anyone outside the office is not your friend. Do not talk outside the office. If you do have to say something, whisper it. The workers in St. Louis were nice, but prepare yourself for the worst. You could get some real stick-in-the-muds. Stay quiet.

How loud can I yell this point? If you take your phone into MEPS, leave it in the liaison’s office. If you happen to take it into the office where they sign you in to take the test, turn it off, put it in your bag, and leave the bag on a table they provide. Tell them you DO NOT HAVE A PHONE.

Please don’t try to sneak a phone in. A girl in front of me told the first lady she didn’t have a phone. Then, as we stood in line waiting for a Navy guy to let us into the testing center, he asked each of us if we had a phone. This girl said, yes, I do have a phone. Don’t ask me why she tried to take it in there, but she was immediately removed from the testing area. The Navy guy said, “You will not be allowed to test today. Please go back to your liaison.” Obviously, don’t do that. Life will be much easier.

In the ASVAB Testing Area

Don’t say a word once you get inside. Your test will probably be given via computer. They will give you a piece of paper and pencil to work with because you are not allowed a calculator. It is timed and multiple choice.

Just relax and do your best, and don’t look at anyone else’s screen. When you’re done, your score will be automatically printed up by where the person is sitting. Don’t look at your score until you leave the testing area. You’ll probably want to text or call your recruiter at that time to tell them what you received.

As I said before, I didn’t have any issues. Just use common sense and don’t make problems. You’ll be just fine.

If there’s any questions you may have about the ASVAB, feel free to leave a comment or email me. I’ll do my best to help you out.

Good luck out there everyone!

4 thoughts on “All About the ASVAB

  1. I absolutely agree about taking the test in the afternoon (or your preferred time of day, really). As a kid I took a number of tests in the AM and I’m not a morning person and it was a nightmare. I appreciate the input, I’ve also been honing up with some of the timed online practice tests which I think are good for prepping for the time limits just to make sure you don’t run out of time. This one has been handy for me –

  2. My son is joining the National Guard and he did not have a choice, they scheduled it in the afternoon. After reading your blog, I am glad for that.

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