The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a skill and placement test, containing various types of questions, that is given to individuals who seek to join the United States military. The multiple choice questions are broken down into nine categories, and each one contains a specific number of questions on that particular topic, although the number of ASVAB questions depends on if one is taking the computer version or the paper version of the test. The categories are arithmetic reasoning, mathematic knowledge, general science, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, mechanical comprehension, electronics information, auto and shop information, and assembling objects.
The arithmetic reasoning ASVAB questions involve basic math skills and logical analysis, such as addition, multiplication, order of operations, and percentages. It also might have story problems about everyday life situations and using money. Similarly, the section for mathematic knowledge tests one’s ability to apply more complex math concepts, like algebra, geometry, measurements, and using theorems.
General science covers topics from the high school science curriculum in the Unites States. Some of these ASVAB questions are on life sciences, such as biology, anatomy, animals, and botany. Others focus on the earth sciences of meteorology, geology, and astronomy. The physical sciences, like chemistry and physics, are also in this section.
The word knowledge category tests vocabulary skills with definitions, identifying word meanings in a sentence, and recognizing synonyms. On the other hand, paragraph comprehension involves more abstract reasoning. Given paragraphs to read, the test taker must answer questions to see how well he understands the written information and can draw conclusions. These ASVAB questions are typically about the theme, tone, the author’s main point, and meanings of certain words or phrases in the paragraphs.
Mechanical comprehension ASVAB questions include principles of mechanics and physics, like force, work, and torque. They also might be about properties of materials, fluid dynamics, and motion. Additionally, the section on electronics information covers principles of electricity, such as currents, electrical circuits and systems, electrical materials and properties, and electrical tools.
The ASVAB questions on auto and shop information are sometimes split into two separate sections. The topics covered in these categories include repairing and maintaining vehicles as well as parts of a vehicle and what they do. Further topics are woodworking, metalworking, and construction processes.
Starting in 2002, assembling objects was added to the categories for ASVAB questions. In this section, one is given diagrams to interpret. There are also questions that show puzzle pieces of various shapes, and the test taker must identify what the final shape would be if the pieces were put together.