Preparing For The ASVAB

The ASVAB Testing Program does not endorse any particular method of test preparation beyond recommending that examinees take a solid core of courses in mathematics, English, and science in high school and/or college. Such academic preparation will help with performance on the Arithmetic Reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Word Knowledge, and General Science subtests. Taking technical courses will also help with performance on the Auto Information, Shop Information, Electronics Information, and Mechanical Comprehension subtests.

By law, DoD and Service personnel may not actively engage in ASVAB coaching. Coaching includes the use of ASVAB tests, locally developed test questions, test aids, or commercial study guides to familiarize applicants or potential applicants with the ASVAB. DoD and Service personnel are prohibited from buying, maintaining, or recommending any specific test preparation product, as that would imply endorsement of a commercial product. Further, recruiters and other personnel involved in the accession testing programs are prohibited from participating in (e.g., moonlighting) or otherwise associating themselves with programs that offer tutoring or ASVAB preparatory programs, as this would, by DoD policy, constitute coaching.

DoD and Service personnel may suggest to applicants that commercially available products are available at local book stores and in public libraries. Basic adult education programs are also available through state employment services offices. Additionally, USD(P&R) has approved an Army-developed online program for basic skills enhancement, called March2Success, which applicants may find helpful.

The following are general tips to help applicants perform their best on the ASVAB.

Steps to Take In Advance of the Actual Test Day

  • Prepare well in advance of the day of the test.
  • Know what to expect on test day.
    [To learn more about what to expect when taking the ASVAB, click here.]
  • Familiarize oneself with the contents of the ASVAB subtests.
    [To learn more about the content of the ASVAB subtests, click here.]
  • Take sample questions and review content areas that need refreshing.
    [To see sample questions, click here.]
  • Find out which version (paper and pencil ASVAB, or the CAT-ASVAB) will be administered, as optimal test-taking strategies differ across the two versions.
    [Note, however, that the test content is the same across both versions.]
  • Get plenty of rest the night before the test.

Strategies For Taking Both Versions of the ASVAB

  • Read the directions for each test carefully before beginning the test.
  • Read each question carefully before selecting an answer.
  • Pay attention to the time — don’t spend too much time on one individual question, if that means there won’t be enough time to answer later questions.
  • When the answer to a question is unknown, try to rule out as many incorrect choices as possible, and then make an educated guess from the remaining answers.

Strategies For Taking the P&P ASVAB

  • Don’t get hung up trying to answer difficult questions — answer the easy questions first and then return to the more difficult questions.
  • Answer every question. If time is running short, it is beneficial to fill in random guesses for the remaining items, as there is no penalty for guessing.
  • Review answers if there is time remaining.
  • Make sure that only one response per question is selected on the answer sheet, and erase completely if the answer is changed.

Strategies For Taking the CAT-ASVAB

  • Be familiar with how the CAT-ASVAB works.
    [To learn more about the CAT-ASVAB, click here.]
  • During your test session, review the instructions as many times as needed to feel comfortable taking the test.
  • Be sure the selected answer is the intended one, as answers to previous questions can't be changed once a new question appears.
  • If time is running short, try to read and legitimately answer the questions, rather than filling in random guesses for the remaining items, as the CAT-ASVAB applies a relatively large penalty when several incorrect answers are provided towards the end of the subtest.


Recruiters Home

Understanding ASVAB Scores


Myths About The ASVAB

ASVAB Retest Policy

Preparing For The ASVAB

History Of Military Testing

STP Recruiter Survey

ASVAB Fact Sheet


What To Expect When You Take The ASVAB

ASVAB Subtests

Sample Questions