How to Answer Deep Thinking Questions on the ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Subtest

By Rod Powers

If the paragraph comprehension questions on the ASVAB simply asked you to scan a passage and find the main point or supporting details, it would be a pretty simple test. But the subtest goes beyond that. In order to properly answer some of the questions on the test, you have to analyze what you’ve read and draw conclusions.

The conclusion — which may be called an inference or implication — must be reasonably based on what the passage says. You have to use good judgment when deciding what conclusions you can logically draw from what you’ve read. Be careful not to confuse passage content with your opinion.

Try this example:

One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is that the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. For example, approximately 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20 percent.

Safe motorcycle riding means:

  • (A)always wearing a helmet

  • (B)using premium gas

  • (C)selecting the most expensive motorcycle

  • (D)always riding with a buddy

The correct answer is Choice (A). The author didn’t specifically state in the passage that wearing a helmet is important, but you can infer the correct answer because the author gives the reason for fatalities: Motorcycles themselves offer virtually no protection in a crash.

Based on the information provided in the passage, you can logically conclude that even the small degree of protection offered by a helmet increases the safety of riding motorcycles. None of the other choices is as closely connected to the idea of safety.