Tips for Getting a Better Score on the ASVAB Assembling Objects Subtest

By Rod Powers

Here are some tips for improving your score on the Assembling Objects subtest of the ASVAB. There are some suggestions for eliminating wrong answers during the test, and some ways you can improve your spatial skills in general (which may come in handy the next time you have to read a map, too).

Comparing one piece or point at a time

On the Assembling Objects subtest, you can sometimes improve your odds of getting the answer right if you select just one shape from the first drawing and then quickly look at each of the choices to see whether that shape is represented there but in a different orientation. This process can help you quickly eliminate answer choices that are obviously wrong.

On connection-type problems, note the position of the dot on one of the shapes in the first drawing and then quickly scan the possible answers, eliminating any choice that depicts the dot in a different location or that shows the line passing through the shape at a different point than that shown in the first drawing.

Remember to be aware of mirror images — shapes that are reflected (instead of rotated) from the image shown in the first drawing. The sneaky test-makers often make use of such mirror representations to see whether they can trick your eyes.

Practicing spatial skills ahead of time

Researchers at the University of Chicago have determined that your basic foundation for spatial skills is established at a very early age, perhaps as young as age 4 or 5. But don’t worry. That doesn’t mean all is lost if your parents never got you that model rocket kit you wanted. The same research has concluded that you can still improve spatial skills by engaging in activities that are spatially oriented. Some of those activities include the following:

  • Practicing reading maps: Map reading can help you develop the ability to gauge scales of size and direction between related objects (roads, rivers, towns, cities, and so on).

  • Putting together jigsaw puzzles: This way is an obvious form of practice for improving your spatial perceptions.

  • Playing puzzle games online: Many online puzzle games exercise the skill of identifying spatial relationships and visual similarities.

  • Playing graphical computer games: Computer games may help you to improve your spatial skills. A study conducted in the United Kingdom showed that children who played computer games consistently scored higher on spatial aptitude tests than children who didn’t play the games.

  • Sketching: Look at an object or a picture and attempt to sketch it as viewed from a different view. This exercise can help you to improve your ability to mentally visualize angles.