ASVAB Subtest Details - dummies

By Rod Powers

Depending on where and for what purpose you take the test, you may encounter several versions of the ASVAB. The computerized version of the ASVAB (CAT-ASVAB) contains nine separately timed subtests. On the CAT-ASVAB, Auto Information and Shop Information are separated into two different tests, whereas they’re combined on the paper version.

Check out the nine ASVAB subtests in the order that you take them; the bolded subtests are used to calculate the AFQT score.

Subtest Questions/Time (Paper Version) Questions/Time (CAT-ASVAB) Content
General Science 25 questions, 11 minutes 16 questions, 8 minutes General principles of biological and physical sciences
Arithmetic Reasoning 30 questions, 36 minutes 16 questions, 39 minutes Math word problems
Word Knowledge 35 questions, 11 minutes 16 questions, 8 minutes Correct meaning of a word and best synonym or antonym for a
given word
Paragraph Comprehension 15 questions, 13 minutes 11 questions, 22 minutes Questions based on paragraphs (usually a few hundred words)
that you read
Mathematics Knowledge 25 questions, 24 minutes 16 questions, 20 minutes High-school math
Electronics Information 20 questions, 9 minutes 16 questions, 8 minutes Electricity and electronic principles and terminology
Mechanical Comprehension 25 questions, 19 minutes 16 questions, 20 minutes Basic mechanical and physical principles
Auto and Shop Information 25 questions, 11 minutes 11 Auto Information questions, 7 minutes; 11 Shop Information
questions, 6 minutes
Knowledge of automobiles, shop terminology, and tool use
Assembling Objects 16 questions, 15 minutes 16 questions, 15 minutes Spatial orientation

You can’t take just the four AFQT subtests of the ASVAB. You have to take all nine subtests in order to get a qualifying AFQT score. The military isn’t set up to give partial ASVAB tests.

For example, if you take the ASVAB and get line scores that qualify you for the military job(s) you want, but your AFQT score is too low to join, you have to retake the entire ASVAB — not just the four subtests that make up the AFQT — to get a higher AFQT score.

During the initial enlistment process, your service branch determines your military job or enlistment program based on minimum line scores it has established. Line scores are computed from the various subtests of the ASVAB. If you get an appropriate score in the appropriate areas, you can get the job you want — as long as that job is available and you meet other established qualification factors.