Each year, many high school and postsecondary students take the free Armed Services Vocational Aptitude battery (ASVAB). The ASVAB is the most widely used multiple-aptitude test battery in the world. It consists of eight tests that measure your skills and abilities in the following areas: General Science; Arithmetic Reasoning; World Knowledge; Paragraph Comprehension; Mathematics Knowledge; Electronics Information; Auto and Shop Information; Mechanical Comprehension.
These tests, again the high quality ones, are formatted like the real thing so you can get used to the question and answer formats and the time limits so nothing will be a surprise on test day. You’ll know what to expect and you’ll be used to going from different concept to different concept as is often required on the ASVAB. For example, on the math section you may have a problem using one popular math principle followed by another problem that relies on a completely different principle. This is common on a broad test like the ASVAB and preparing your mind to make these leaps can allow you to answer more questions in less time and boost your score.
From the time of its inception, the U.S. Armed Forces played a decisive role in the history of the United States. A sense of national unity and identity was forged as a result of victory in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. Even so, the founders of the United States were suspicious of a permanent military force. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, continuing to serve as the armed forces of the United States, although a number of its officers resigned to join the military of the Confederate States. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II and during the Cold War's onset, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the Secretary of Defense; and created the Department of the Air Force and the National Security Council. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.
Examinees also receive a score on what is called the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT). AFQT scores are computed using the Standard Scores from four ASVAB subtests: Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), and Word Knowledge (WK). AFQT scores are reported as percentiles between 1-99. An AFQT percentile score indicates the percentage of examinees in a reference group that scored at or below that particular score. For current AFQT scores, the reference group is a sample of 18 to 23 year old youth who took the ASVAB as part of a national norming study conducted in 1997. Thus, an AFQT score of 90 indicates that the examinee scored as well as or better than 90% of the nationally-representative sample of 18 to 23 year old youth. An AFQT score of 50 indicates that the examinee scored as well as or better than 50% of the nationally-representative sample.
The adaptive test is exactly what it sounds like, a test that adapts to the test taker. Questions in each section range in difficulty, and based on the test taker’s answers, the question types and difficulties adjust with each answer. This type of test allows for a greater level of accuracy in evaluating a prospect’s abilities. For the most part, correct answers beget more difficult questions while wrong answers will reduce the difficulty of proceeding questions.
Don’t let the PC section of the test throw you for a loop. Unlike the individual multiple choice questions in other sections, here you will need to read a paragraph and answer several questions in a row based on that one paragraph. The people who designed this section of the exam really knew how to make sure you are able to read detailed (and often boring) documents, remember the details of what you read, understand why they’re important, and be able to pick out the key concepts they illustrate. When you read each paragraph, it’s helpful to know the kinds of questions you’ll be asked at the end. There are basically four kinds of questions to test your comprehension:
First, the ASVAB measures your accumulated knowledge in different areas. So if you are currently in school, stay focused and study hard. Your overall knowledge gained in school will most likely be reflected in your ASVAB score. Second, though accumulated knowledge is important, you may be able to raise your score by preparing specifically for the ASVAB, especially in areas where you are weak. Various study guides are available for this purpose (listed left).
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