ASVAB Exam Overview

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is an exam given to individuals who are interested in joining the U.S. Military. All individuals who wish to enlist will need to take this exam, regardless of which Military branch they wish to enter.

There are a total of 10 subtests given – each subtest is timed. The amount of time and number of questions you need to answer will depend on the type of ASVAB you take. The ASVAB test has 2 different kinds of formats:

  1. CAT-ASVAB (Computer Adaptive)
  2. P&P-ASVAB (Paper and Pencil)

The CAT-ASVAB is the more common format given to individuals. In this format, the questions adapt to the user based on how they answer the questions. Typically, if you answer a question incorrectly, you will be shown an easier question next.

Each branch of the military has different scoring requirements. To begin preparing, use our free ASVAB practice test.

How Many Questions are on the ASVAB?

The number of questions on the ASVAB exam depends on which version you are taking (CAT-ASVAB or P&P-ASVAB).

The CAT-ASVAB exam has a total of 135 questions while the P&P-ASVAB has a total of 225 questions.

How Long is the ASVAB Test?

Just like with the number of questions, the amount of time given for the ASVAB exam varies depending on which version you are taking (CAT-ASVAB or P&P-ASVAB).

The CAT-ASVAB exam lasts for 193 total minutes while the P&P-ASVAB lasts for 149 total minutes.

ASVAB Sections

As with the number of questions and time limits, the sections of the ASVAB vary ever so slightly depending on which format of exam you will be taking (CAT or P&P).

We have broken down the different ASVAB sections for you in the table below.

Cat-ASVAB Sections

SectionQuestionsTime Limit (Minutes)
General Science (GS)1512
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)1555
Word Knowledge (WK)159
Paragraph Comprehension (PC)1027
Math Knowledge (MK)1531
Electronics Information (EI)1510
Auto Information (AI)107
Shop Information (SI)107
Mechanical Comprehension (MC)1522
Assembling Objects (AO)1518

P&P-ASVAB Sections

SectionQuestionsTime Limit (Minutes)
General Science (GS)2511
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR)3036
Word Knowledge (WK)3511
Paragraph Comprehension (PC)1513
Math Knowledge (MK)2524
Electronics Information (EI)209
Auto & Shop Information (AS)2511
Mechanical Comprehension (MC)2519
Assembling Objects (AO)2515

The biggest difference with regards to ASVAB sections is that the paper ASVAB exam combines auto and shop information into one section where the computer ASVAB exam separates the two sections.


An image showing an overview of the ASVAB exam

ASVAB Testing

There are a couple of different options for individuals who wish to take the ASVAB. However, the first thing you need to do is talk to your local recruiter.

Your local recruiter will walk you through all the steps and help get you set up. Once the recruiter has determined you are qualified, you will be able to schedule the ASVAB Military Test. There are 3 possible locations for taking the ASVAB exam:

  1. Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS)
  2. Military Entrance Testing Site (MET)
  3. At Your School Via the ASVAB Career Exploration Program

What is a Passing Score for the ASVAB Test?

Each branch of the Military has their own required minimum score when it comes to ASVAB testing. The way the score is calculated can be very confusing. In simple terms, you will be given something called an AFQT score.

This AFQT score is given as a percentile and is based on your scores from only 4 sections of the ASVAB:

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

You can view the passing scores for each branch of the Military in the table below.

Military BranchMin. Score (HS Diploma)Min. Score (GED)
Air Force3150
Coast Guard4050
Marine Corps3250

For more information on scoring, visit our guide to ASVAB scores. We break down everything in that guide including more information on each branch of the Military, composite scores, and how your scores are calculated.

How Many Times Can You Take the ASVAB?

You can take the ASVAB a total of 3 times. In order to take the ASVAB exam a 2nd time, you must wait 1 month from your original test date.

If you would like to take the exam a 3rd time, you will need to wait 6 months from the time you took your 2nd exam.

It is important to be prepared for this exam – consider using our ASVAB practice to ensure you get the score you would like on your first try.

Preparing for the ASVAB

Students who prepare properly for this exam will find more success versus students who do not put in the proper preparation. We suggest the following steps:

  1. Take a Practice Exam: This will help you get a baseline score and help you figure out what subjects you need to dedicate the most study time too.
  2. Find Study Resources: You should find some study resources that work for you. We offer an ASVAB study guide, which is a good place to start. Some students may prefer to use a prep course or another form of study.
  3. Take a Final Practice Exam: Once you feel comfortable with the material, you should take a final practice exam. This will help ensure you are ready for the actual exam. If you do not do as well as you would have liked, go back to step 2 and continue your studies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions. For more FAQs, visit the official ASVAB FAQ page.

You can fail the ASVAB 2 times. If you fail the ASVAB a 3rd time, you will be ineligible to take the exam again.

As with most exams, if you are not prepared, you will not do well. With that being said, the ASVAB is not the most difficult exam you will take.

It will require proper preparation, but most students find it easier than the ACT or SAT.

If we are basing this strictly off of the ASVAB, the Army and Air Force are the easiest branches to get into. They both require a minimum score of 31 for students who have a high school diploma.

You will not be permitted to use a calculator on the ASVAB.

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