ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Practice

By Rod Powers

One of the subtests you will see on the ASVAB is the Paragraph Comprehension test. This part of the ASVAB is geared toward seeing if you understand what you read.

Sample questions

Paragraph Comprehension

Time: 13 minutes for 15 questions

Directions: Paragraph Comprehension is the fourth subtest on the ASVAB. The questions are designed to measure your ability to understand what you read. This section includes one or more paragraphs of reading material, followed by incomplete statements or questions. Read the paragraph and select the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question. Then mark the corresponding space on your answer sheet.

Question 1 refers to the following passage.

Terry always wanted to move back to Chicago, the city of her birth, because of fond childhood memories. After convincing her husband, Jim, to leave sunny California, her dream was coming true. They moved in the fall, just in time to catch the leaves changing.

However, the worst winter in the city’s history was too much for their beach bum mentality, and Terry soon regretted her decision. Her dream wasn’t the same as reality, and she realized you can’t always go back.

1. Why does Terry feel like you cant always go back?

  • (A)Chicago is too far.

  • (B)She is no longer a child.

  • (C)California had changed her.

  • (D)Winter was her favorite season.

Questions 2 and 3 refer to the following passage.

A new study shows that since the 1970s, the number of households with pets has almost tripled. Despite this increased pet ownership, the number of animals euthanized at shelters each year is still between 2.5 and 3 million. In fact, according to the Humane Society of the United States, in 2012, only 30 percent of the 62 percent of households with pets got the animals from shelters or rescue organizations.

Furthermore, many of the euthanized animals are healthy, and 25 percent of the dogs euthanized are purebred. There is still a lot of work to do to spread the word about rescue pets to ensure healthy animals don’t meet this fate.

2. What is the main point of the passage?

  • (A)Americans have more pets than ever before.

  • (B)More households should adopt rescue animals.

  • (C)More cats are adopted than dogs.

  • (D)Shelters house only sick or hurt dogs.

3. Of the households that had pets in 2012, how many of them got their pets from a shelter or rescue organization?

  • (A)62 percent

  • (B)25 percent

  • (C)3 percent

  • (D)30 percent

Question 4 refers to the following passage.

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were an artistic couple known for their elaborate and grandiose projects. Their projects involved giant sheets of nylon wrapped or hanging in an unlikely environment. They achieved notoriety for their artistic installations, such as Valley Curtain, which displayed a 200,200-square-foot curtain hanging between two Colorado mountains.

Although their unconventional penchant for wrapping monuments and buildings wasn’t understood by everyone, no one can dispute that their work was respected nonetheless.

4. In this passage, penchant means

  • (A)inclination

  • (B)disinterest

  • (C)incompetence

  • (D)experience

Question 5 refers to the following passage.

Despite having used her new shoes for only three months during her frequent marathon training, Tara was having pains in her feet while running. All the articles she read said that running shoes should last at least six months if used an average of two to three times a week. Tara decided she had bought the wrong shoes.

5. Based on the passage, what other reason could Taras shoes be worn out sooner than six months?

  • (A)She runs with bad form.

  • (B)The shoes are cheap.

  • (C)She runs more than average.

  • (D)She damaged her shoes on rough terrain.

Question 6 refers to the following passage.

Robert De Niro may never have won his first Academy Award if he had gotten the role he wanted as Michael Corleone in The Godfather. In 1975, he received his first nomination and win for his role as young Vito Corleone in The Godfather: Part II. By 2013, he’d scored six more nominations (including another win in 1981).

6. According to the passage, how many Academy Awards has Robert De Niro been nominated for?

  • (A)3

  • (B)6

  • (C)7

  • (D)0

Answers and explanations

  1. C. California had changed her.

    The author doesn’t explicitly state that California changed Terry, but you can infer the correct answer from the phrase “too much for their beach bum mentality.” Based on that phrase and the distinction between sunny California and the worst winter, you can determine that the weather in California had ruined her ability to handle cold weather.

  2. B. More households should adopt rescue animals.

    You may think that the paragraph is about the increased number of pets in American households, but that’s only a small piece of information. The other information about pets in shelters and rescue facilities dominates the rest of the paragraph, with the main idea presented in the last sentence. All the information supports the idea that Americans need to adopt more rescue pets.

  3. D. 30 percent

    You’ll notice that all the percentage numbers fall within the middle two sentences. You may be tempted by Choice (A), but read carefully and you’ll see that it’s the total number of households with pets, not the number with rescue pets.

  4. A. inclination

    The paragraph describes how the artists were known for their preference, or inclination, for undertaking these large and unconventional projects.

  5. C. She runs more than average.

    The passage states that shoes last six months for average use, so that’s the only information that could lead to a logical assumption about Tara or her shoes. The other answers aren’t related to the presented information.

  6. C. 7

    The passage says that De Niro was nominated for six other awards in addition to the Oscar he won in 1975. That makes seven nominations in all.