The Paragraph Comprehension section of the test measures your ability to read a passage and interpret the information contained within it. You may read a selection and be asked to interpret the author’s purpose, or what a particular word in the passage means, based on the context of the sentence where it appears. To help you better prepare for the exam, the Paragraph Comprehension section of the ASVAB practice test has passages of similar length and style to those on the actual ASVAB test. The CAT-ASVAB test has 11 questions in 22 minutes; the paper-and-pencil version has 15 questions in 13 minutes.
If you are interested in using your test scores for military service, you will receive an Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. This score is calculated using the scores from the Word Knowledge (WK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), and Mathematics Knowledge (MK) portions of the exam. AFQT scores are expressed as percentile scores in order to better compare results among all potential military recruits.
A graphic view of the increasing trend in AFQT performance of accessions from FY 1981 through FY 1992 is provided in Figure 2.8. The more significant gains were in Categories I to IIIA, where the percentages increased from 47 percent in FY 1981 to 75 percent in FY 1992. Conversely, there has been a steady decline in the percentage of Category IIIB accessions. Most dramatic has been the decrease in accessions who score in Category IV—from 33 percent in FY 1979 to one percent or less since FY 1991. There has been a gradual decline in the percentage of accessions in Categories I to IIIA in the last seven years, from 75 to 65 percent.
You should note that the exam is given only in English. This is because all of the documents you will need to reference during your military career are in English. Even if English is not your native language, you should be able to make the cut as long as you study enough. You may need to take another test, the ECL (English Comprehension Level), to make sure that you can read and follow instructions given English if it is not your native language.
One ASVAB sub-measure, the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT)--which is just a separate analysis of the same tests that focuses only on four of the subtests--is also population-referenced, but its score from 1-99 is a percentile score. This means that if you score a 73, you scored as well as or higher than 73% of test-takers in the national sample.