How to Identify Subpoints for the ASVAB

By Rod Powers

If a writer stuck to just one point, the Paragraph Comprehension subtest of the ASVAB would be a breeze. However, an author usually doesn’t make just one point in a piece of writing, so you also need to understand the other points the author makes.

These details, or subpoints, may include facts or statistics, or they may be descriptions that support the main point of the passage. Subpoints help you see what the author’s saying. For instance, look at this passage:

The local school district is facing a serious budgetary crisis. The state, suffering a revenue shortfall of more than $600 million, has cut funding to the district by $18.7 million. Already, 65 teachers have been laid off, and more layoffs are expected.

The subpoints help you understand the main point, which is that the school district is facing a severe budgetary crisis. The subpoints help you understand why: “The state, suffering a revenue shortfall of more than $600 million, has cut funding to the district by $18.7 million.” You can see that the budgetary crisis is part of a larger problem, which is the state is suffering a severe revenue shortfall.

The subpoints also help you understand what this crisis means: “Already, 65 teachers have been laid off, and more layoffs are expected.” By using these facts and figures, the author helps you grasp not only the main point but also the ­implications of that main point.