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ASVAB Study Guide

Use our ASVAB study guide below to prepare for your upcoming exam. We review all the key concepts you will need to know to get a top score on the exam.

Our team has listed study materials for the following 4 subjects:

  1. Arithmetic Reasoning
  2. Math Knowledge
  3. Word Knowledge
  4. Paragraph Comprehension

We are focusing on these 4 subjects as they are used for the AFQT score (the most important portion of the exam).

We recommend that you review the study guide below and then take a free ASVAB practice test.

Arithmetic Reasoning & Math Knowledge Study Guide

This section will challenge students on various concepts in math and their ability to solve problems. Some problems will test many concepts while other problems will only test you in one concept.

Concept #1 – Types of Numbers

You should be familiar with the following types of numbers when studying for the ASVAB:

  • Even Numbers: -20, -18, -16, 20, 18, 16, etc…
  • Odd Numbers: -21, -19, -17, 21, 19, 17, etc…
  • Integers: -20, -19, -18, 20, 19, 18, etc… (Any whole number / number that is not a fraction)
  • Prime Numbers: 2, 3, 4, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, etc…. (A number greater than 1 that is not a product of 2 smaller numbers. 2 is the only even prime number.)

Concept #2 – Percents

Make sure you are comfortable with percents when studying for the ASVAB:

Think of a percent as a number out of 100. 70% means 70/100. This can also be expressed as .70 or 7/10.

Example 1: If the tax on a $80 item is $2.25, what is the tax rate?

$2.25 = x/100 x $80

X= 2.81%

Example 2: What number is 125% of 4?

x = 125 / 100 x 4

X= 5

Concept #3 – Working With Negative Numbers

Working with negative numbers may sound simple, but it is one of the more important concepts on the exam.

Multiplication and Division:

  • Negative number x negative number = positive number
  • Positive number x positive number = positive number
  • Negative number x positive number = negative number

Concept #4 – Averages

You may be asked to work with various types of averages so it is important that we cover them in our ASVAB study.

  • Arithmetic Mean – Add up all of the numbers and divide by the total number of numbers. Example: Find the arithmetic mean of 3, 5, 6 and 8. (3+5+6+8)/4 = 4.75
  • Median – List out the numbers and the number in the middle is the median. Example: Find the median of 3, 5, 6, 8, and 9. The median would be 6. If there are an even number of numbers, the median is the mean of the 2 middle numbers.
  • Mode – List out the numbers and the number that occurs the most is the mode. Example: Find the mode of 3, 5, 5, 6, and 9. The mode would be 5.

Concept #5 – Probability

Probability may come up on your exam. The easiest way to deal with probability is by using the following:

Number of ways an outcome can occur / total number of possible outcomes.

Example: A class has 8 students wearing red shirts and 14 students wearing green shirts. What is the probability that 1 student is selected and is wearing a red shirt?

8 / (8+14) = .36 or 36%

Concept #6 – Area and Perimeter

Knowing how to work with area and perimeter can save you a ton of time on the actual exam.


  • Area = pi r ^2
  • Circumference = 2 pi r or pi d


  • Area = length x width
  • Perimeter = 2 (length + width)


  • Area = ½ (base x height)
  • Perimeter = sum of lengths


  • Volume of rectangle = length x width x height
  • Volume of cylinder = pi r^2 h

Word Knowledge Study Guide

This section will give students a sentence that has a bolded word. You will be asked to choose which answer most closely means the same as the bolded word. This is an important concept to include in your ASVAB study.

If you would like specific help with these types of questions, visit our ASVAB practice test page.

Concept #1 – Prefixes and Suffixes

You can use prefixes and suffices to help you in this section. A prefix is the part of the beginning of the word while a suffix is the part at the end of the word.

Some common prefixes include:

  • Anti – against
  • Auto – self
  • De – reverse
  • Dus – remove
  • Down – reduce
  • Hyper – extreme
  • Il or Im – not
  • Mid – middle
  • Post – after
  • Pre – before
  • Pro – in favor of

Some common suffixes include:

  • Al – act or process of
  • Ance – state of
  • Ism – belief
  • Ist – one who
  • Ment – condition of
  • Ness – state of being
  • Able – capable of
  • Ful – notable for
  • Less – without
  • Y – characterized by

Concept #2 – Synonyms and Antonyms

You will be asked to identify the word that most closely matches the bolded word. Understanding synonyms and antonyms can be very helpful.

You can immediately look for antonyms when solving these problems. Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning. These words can be crossed off as answer choices.

You should then be left with a couple of possible answer choices. There may be instances where there is not a synonym (word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word). You will need to choose the best option from the answer choices given to you.

Crossing off clearly wrong choices will help a ton in this section.

Concept #3 – Positive and Negative Words

You can use the nature of the word to help you determine the proper answer choice in this section. If the word has a positive meaning, you should look for the answer choices that are also positive in nature.

If the word has a negative meaning, you should look for the answer choice that are also negative in nature.

Concept #4 – Type of Word

You can narrow down your answer choices by determining the type of word that is bolded. If the bolded word is an adjective, you should be looking for other adjectives.

If the bolded word is a verb, you should be looking for other types of verbs.

Concept #5 – Utilize Your Answer Choices

Since the ASVAB gives you complete sentences, you can substitute in the answer choices to see if they make sense. This is a great strategy to use to easily eliminate answer choices right away.

Students need to use every advantage they can. With the ASVAB giving complete sentences, this is a major benefit for students.

Paragraph Comprehension Study Guide

This section will assess a student’s ability to understand various passages. Each passage is followed by a series of questions about the passage.

You will be pressed for time on this section so it is important to apply the following ASVAB study concepts.

Concept #1 – Creating a Summary of the Passage

Some individuals recommend reading the questions first so you know what to look for. We recommend the opposite. You should briefly skim the reading passage and try to create a general summary of what is going on in the passage.

This general summary does NOT need to be written down of in-depth. You just need to have a general idea of what is going on in the passage. This general summary will then allow you to quickly find information within the passage when you start answering the questions.

Concept #2 – Utilize Opening and Closing Sentences

A lot of important information is at the beginning and ending of these passages. You can learn a lot by just reading the opening and closing of these passages.

You can also learn a lot by reading the first and last lines of paragraphs. This is also where key information is stored.

Concept #3 – Ask General Questions

You can ask yourself the following general questions throughout the passage to help you break it down:

  • What is the main idea of this passage?
  • What is the author’s point?
  • What is the most important takeaway from this passage?

Asking yourself these general questions can help you get a better understanding of the passage as a whole.

Other ASVAB Study Guides

Our team put together a list of some of our favorite ASVAB study resources. You can sift through the table below to find which resources work best for your learning style.

ASVAB Core ReviewLearningExpress
ASVAB for DummiesDummies
Kaplan ASVAB PrepKaplan
ASVAB PrepAccepted
Official ASVAB Preparation GuideASVAB

What Do I Need to Study for the ASVAB?

There are plenty of things students should focus on when studying for the ASVAB. It can become somewhat overwhelming if you think about all the concepts and things you should study for the ASVAB.

It is best to break it down by topic. You should study and prepare for the following topics when putting together your ASVAB study resources:

  1. General Science
  2. Arithmetic Reasoning
  3. Word Knowledge
  4. Paragraph Comprehension
  5. Math Knowledge
  6. Electronics Information
  7. Auto Information
  8. Shop Information
  9. Mechanical Comprehension
  10. Assembling Objects

You can use our study guide for the ASVAB which is listed above or you can use our ASVAB test questions to study more.

Dave Evangelisti
Dave is our founder and CEO. He has 20+ years of experience in the testing and test prep industry.