Dave Evangelisti Authored By: Dave Evangelisti
PiCAT Practice Test

Those who are wishing to enter the military have to take a test to determine if they are well-suited for the job. Most veterans took the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), but in the 2000s, a new test called the PiCAT started to be offered as well.

If you are someone looking to enter a branch of the military and need to take the PiCAT test before you can enlist, we recommend taking a PiCAT practice test to help you prepare for what you will see on the PiCAT exam.

Summary: Use a PiCAT practice test to prepare for your exam. The ASVAB is a very similar exam – you can use our ASVAB practice test for more help.

The most important thing when looking for a PiCAT practice test to take is to look for exams that are automatically scored and provide detailed answers to the questions to help you learn. 

Below are some of our practice tests that will make you feel the most prepared to take the PiCAT test.

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

The PiCAT and ASVAB are almost identical exams, so you can use ASVAB practice tests in place of a PiCAT practice test if you want to prepare for the PiCAT test. 

Here are some other resources we found that may help:

PiCAT stands for Pre-screening, internet-delivered Computer Adaptive Test. This is an unproctored, untimed test that you take from the comfort of your home to tell a military recruiter if you are prepared to enter either a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or take a Military Entrance Test (MET). 

By taking the PiCAT, you gain familiarity with the ASVAB exam and tell recruiters if you have enough knowledge to obtain a passing score on the official test. This saves both military money and time by not having to pay proctors to get similar results.

It also helps you, because if you pass the PiCAT and move to MEPS or MET and proceed to fail there, you will have to take the full-length ASVAB. By taking the PiCAT test, you are already familiar with what appears on the ASVAB exam.

As mentioned above, passing the PiCAT is the beginning of your enlisting journey. If your recruiter deems that you have scored high enough on the PiCAT test, you will be sent to MEPS or MET to take a verification test to confirm your results.

The verification test is a shorter (usually 20 minutes to a half-hour) version of the PiCAT test that is proctored and may take place at a MEPS or MET. This just confirms that your results on the PiCAT were real and should contain similar questions to the ones you saw on the PiCAT.

There are ten main areas covered by the 145-question PiCAT test. These subsections show the recruiter how versatile your knowledge is and help them see how much you’ve learned so far in your schooling. The subsections are as follows:

Arithmetic Reasoning

You will be asked to understand, read, and manipulate numbers in specific ways in this section. The 16 questions in this section will be presented as written problems that may be in unfamiliar formats. You can utilize a scrap piece of paper to physically write down and solve equations.

Key arithmetic areas: mental arithmetic including percentages, fractions, ratios, and sequences.

Assembly of Objects

If you join the military, there are plenty of roles that require you to know how to visualize and manipulate 3D objects as well as have great spatial awareness. This subsection asks 16 multiple-choice questions where you must interpret certain objects provided for you.

Key object areas: maps, graphs, and other technical drawings.

Auto Information

This 11-question subsection is not a requirement for entry into the military as a whole. However, some positions require you have a working knowledge of the machines and devices you are using. You will need to know both mechanical and physical properties to pass this portion of the PiCAT test.

Key mechanism areas: gears, levers, and pulleys.

Electronics Knowledge

Some roles in the military also require you to have a working knowledge of electricity and how it passes through different electrical devices. In this 16-question section, your knowledge of electrical components and principles will be tested.

Key electronic areas: currents, circuits, and knowledge of how TVs and radios work.

General Science

Scientific knowledge is not a requirement for the military, so this subsection won’t test you on that. However, working knowledge of some scientific principles is necessary to survive in the military, so you will see science questions on the PiCAT exam.

Key science areas: biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, and physics.

Mathematics Knowledge

You will not be able to use a calculator in this section as your mathematics knowledge is tested. This 16-question section builds upon the basic arithmetic questions you saw earlier in the exam, meaning you may see similar questions or similar topics.

Key mathematics areas: algebra and geometry.

Mechanical Comprehension

Though not necessary in all branches or careers of the military, this section, containing 16 multiple-choice questions, focuses on your understanding of mechanical devices and forces that affect them. You may be required to look at mechanical tools and explain how they work.

Key mechanical areas: acceleration, friction, force, gravity, and reading mechanical diagrams.

Shop Information

This section tests your knowledge of basic tools and their operations. You may be asked to explain diagrams and functions of the tool.

Key shop areas: common tools and tool diagrams.

Paragraph Comprehension

In this section, test takers are asked to read passages and respond to the questions about the prompt. There are 11 multiple-choice questions in this section, but since the PiCAT isn’t timed, you will have plenty of time to answer them.

Key reading areas: reading comprehension.

Word Knowledge

Your vocabulary and language skills will be tested when you reach this section of the PiCAT. You will be asked to define highlighted words and find synonyms or antonyms. There are 11 questions that you will have to answer in this section.

Key word areas: definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and context clues.

The biggest two differences between the PiCAT and the ASVAB are where and how they are taken. The ASVAB is taken in person under the watch of a proctor to ensure that test takers aren’t cheating. Whereas the PiCAT is taken online at home without a proctor.

You also have to take a verification test with the PiCAT to make sure your answers weren’t doctored in any way. With the ASVAB, you take one test and that is it.

Practice for the ASVAB with our ASVAB practice test.

The PiCAT is scored like a test in high school would be, one point for each question for a total of 145 points. They look closest at arithmetic reasoning, mathematic knowledge, paragraph comprehension, and word knowledge. There is a total of 54 points in those categories. You want to score at least 31.

Here are the scores you need and other areas you will be tested on based on the job and branch you hope to enter:

Scores Needed

Branch of Military Necessary Score
Air Force PiCAT Score 36 or higher to serve
Army PiCAT Score 31 or higher to serve
Coast Guard PiCAT Score 40 or higher to serve
Navy PiCAT Score 35 or higher to serve
USMC PiCAT Score 32 or higher to serve

Additional Test Areas (Job-Based)

Army Test Areas Air Force Test Areas Coast Guard/Navy Test Areas USMC Test Areas
General Technical (GT) Administrative (A) General Technical (GT) General Technical (GT)
Clerical (CL) Electrical (E) Administrative (ADM) Clerical (CL)
Combat Operations (CO) General (G) Basic Electricity and Electronics (BEE) Electronics (EL)
Electronics (EL) Mechanical (M) Electronics (EL) Mechanical Maintenance (MM)
Field Artillery (FA)   Engineering (ENG)  
General Maintenance (GM)   Hospital Corpsman (HM)  
Mechanical Maintenance (MM)   Mechanical Maintenance (MEC)  
Operators and Food (OF)   Mechanical Maintenance 2 (MECs)  
Surveillance and Communications (SC)   Nuclear Field (NUC)  
Skilled Technical (ST)   Operations Specialist (OS)  

If you fail the PiCAT, you aren’t automatically disqualified from being able to join the military. You will be asked to take the full ASVAB test (5% of PiCAT takers are asked to do so anyway). You will still have a chance to join the military, but you have to go through a longer process.

The first thing you should do is determine where you want to serve in the military and focus on the skills you will need to do well in that area. Studying math, language, and reading will help you on the general test, but you will need to focus on subsequent tests.

A PiCAT practice test like the ones listed above can help you familiarize yourself with the test as well. Plus, a prep course will tell you all the things you need to know to take the PiCAT test from experts in the area.

How many times can you take the PiCAT?

There is no limit to the number of times you can take the PiCAT, so if you are unhappy with your score (or if it isn’t high enough to get the job you want), take it again.

Are the PiCAT and ASVAB the same?

No, there are slight differences mainly in test location and proctoring.

Is PiCAT harder than ASVAB?

No, they are very similar tests, so they are around the same level of difficulty.

Does PiCAT count as ASVAB?

Yes, the PiCAT and its verification test can replace the score of the ASVAB.

Can I take the PiCAT instead of the ASVAB?

Yes, passing the PiCAT and verification test will be your version of the ASVAB.

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