ASVAB AFQT For Dummies
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Science is divided into areas of study called disciplines, and most of these disciplines have subdisciplines. When you take the ASVAB, the General Science subtest may ask you some definitions of these disciplines. Here’s a handy list for you to look over.

First, here are some popular Earth and space sciences:

  • Astronomy: Astronomers (not to be confused with astrologists) study outer space. They get their jollies examining the existence, locations, orbits, energy, and compositions of planets and other celestial matter.

  • Geology: Is it a real diamond or just a piece of glass? A geologist can tell you. These scientists study the dynamics and physical history of the Earth; the rocks of which it’s composed; and the physical, chemical, and biological changes that the Earth has undergone or is undergoing.

  • Meteorology: You know that person who gets on the TV each day and tells you whether your planned outing to the beach is going to be ruined by rain? Meteorologists study the weather and attempt to predict it.

  • Paleontology: Paleontologists study prehistoric life, including dinosaurs. How cool is that? This science involves the examination of fossils, including those of plants, animals, and other organisms.

Biologists love everything to do with living organisms and life sciences. There are more subdisciplines of biology than you can shake a stick at. And yes, some biologists study sticks. Other biologists specialize in fish, trees, snakes, insects . . . you get the picture. Here are some subdisciplines of biology:

  • Agriculture: An agriculturalist studies farming. This discipline includes studying methods of cultivating soil, producing crops, and managing livestock.

  • Botany: A botanist studies plant life. This includes everything from flowers to the moss that grows on the north side of trees.

  • Ecology: Ecologists do more than just warn people that they’re destroying the ozone layer. They study all aspects of the environment and how organisms (such as people) interact with it.

  • Entomology: Entomologists like bugs. Specifically, they like insects (bugs with six legs). This position isn’t to be confused with an arachnologist, who studies spiders and other critters with eight legs.

  • Genetics: Geneticists study heredity, especially the aspect that deals with inherited characteristics, such as eye color.

  • Ichthyology: This discipline is the branch of zoology (the study of animals) dealing with fish.

Here are a couple of social sciences:

  • Archaeology: For an archaeologist, the older, the better. Archaeologists study past human life and culture. The job requires recovery and examination of material evidence, such as graves, tools, pottery, and buildings.

  • Genealogy: If you want to find out where your great-great-great-great-great-grandfather was born and what he did for a living, ask a genealogist. These specialists study ancestry and family history.

Another large discipline is chemistry, in which people mix things together to see what happens. These scientists study the structure, properties, composition, and reactions of matter.

Lastly, don’t forget physics. Physics involves the study of matter and its movement. This includes concepts such as energy, force, and motion. In short, physics is concerned with the study of the universe’s behavior and, in general, how things work in nature. Mechanics, which plays a big role in the ASVAB’s Mechanical Comprehension subtest, is a major topic in physics.

If the ASVAB only asked questions like “What does a chemist do?” the test would be a piece of organic matter (cake). Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. The ASVAB writers expect you to know a little more than just the definitions of various scientific disciplines.

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