ASVAB: Paragraph Comprehension Subtest Sample Test Questions

By Rod Powers

Time for you to put all your ASVAB preparation to good use. Quiz yourself on the following sample test questions to see whether your reading comprehension is up to speed. Read each short paragraph, which is followed by one or more questions regarding information contained in that passage. Make sure to read the paragraph carefully before selecting the choice that most correctly answers the question.

First, stick to one excuse. Thus, if a tradesman, with whom your social relations are slight, should chance to find you taking coppers from his till, you may possibly explain that you are interested in Numismatics and are a Collector of Coins; and he may possibly believe you.

But if you tell him afterwards that you pitied him for being overloaded with unwieldy copper discs, and were in the act of replacing them by a silver sixpence of your own, this further explanation, so far from increasing his confidence in your motives, will (strangely enough) actually decrease it.

And if you are so unwise as to be struck by yet another brilliant idea, and tell him that the pennies were all bad pennies, which you were concealing to save him from a police prosecution for coining, the tradesman may even be so wayward as to institute a police prosecution himself.

—G. K. Chesterton

  1. The author is giving the reader advice about:

    • (A)collecting coins

    • (B)stealing

    • (C)dealing with tradesmen

    • (D)becoming a police officer

Ethics are standards by which one should act based on values. Values are core beliefs such as duty, honor, and integrity that motivate attitudes and actions. Not all values are ethical values (integrity is — happiness is not). Ethical values relate to what is right and wrong and, thus, take precedence over nonethical values when making ethical decisions.

  1. According to the paragraph, values can best be defined as:

    • (A)ethics

    • (B)stealing

    • (C)core beliefs

    • (D)right and wrong

Although the average consumer replaces the tires on his or her automobile every 50,000 miles, steel-belted radials can last for 60,000 miles. However, they must be properly maintained. The tires must be inflated to the correct air pressure at all times, and tires must be rotated and balanced according to a routine maintenance schedule. The tread should be checked for correct depth regularly.

  1. How long can steel-belted radials last?

    • (A)25,000 miles

    • (B)50,000 miles

    • (C)60,000 miles

    • (D)No one knows.

  2. According to the passage, proper tire maintenance does not include:

    • (A)keeping tires properly inflated

    • (B)balancing and rotating tires

    • (C)checking the tread

    • (D)checking the lug nuts

Some people argue that baking is an art, but Chef Debra Dearborn says that baking is a science. She says that if you follow a recipe carefully, assembling the ingredients accurately, cooking at the specified temperature for the specified period of time, your cookies will always turn out right. Chef Dearborn says the best baking is like the best experiment; anyone can duplicate it.

  1. In this passage, the word assembling most nearly means:

    • (A)measuring

    • (B)putting together

    • (C)buying

    • (D)storing

  2. According to the passage, a person who can’t make a decent batch of cookies:

    • (A)should get out of the kitchen

    • (B)is an artist

    • (C)isn’t following the recipe carefully

    • (D)is Chef Dearborn

Boiler technicians operate main and auxiliary boilers. They maintain and repair all parts, including pressure fittings, valves, pumps, and forced-air blowers. Technicians may have to lift or move heavy equipment. They may have to stoop and kneel and work in awkward positions.

  1. According to this job description, a good candidate for this job would be

    • (A)a person with management experience

    • (B)an individual with keen eyesight

    • (C)a person who isn’t mechanically minded

    • (D)a person who is physically fit

In June 2004, the city council passed a resolution requiring all residents to paint their address numbers on their homes using a bright color. This was done to assist firemen, police, and paramedics in finding an address during an emergency. In August, 300 residences were randomly sampled and it was found that 150 had complied with the new ordinance.

  1. According to the above passage, what percentage of the randomly sampled residences had complied with the new ordinance?

    • (A)10 percent

    • (B)20 percent

    • (C)50 percent

    • (D)60 percent

Answers key

Use this answer key to score the practice Paragraph Comprehension questions.

  1. B

  2. C

  3. C

  4. D

  5. B

  6. C

  7. D

  8. C