Tips for Improving Your ASVAB General Science Subtest Score

By Rod Powers

As you study for the General Science subtest of the ASVAB, you may feel overwhelmed by facts and figures. General Science requires a lot of straight-up memorization. You’re presented with questions about facts you probably learned in high school in various science classes, such as health, Earth science, biology, and chemistry. If you don’t know that Earth is the third planet from the sun, then all the other science knowledge you have won’t help you one bit when the question asks, “What is the third planet from the sun?”

Instead of trying to remember nine million individual facts, spend some time reviewing the general principles behind the facts. Think about how the facts relate to each other. Looking at the big picture is an effective learning technique.

You have 11 minutes to answer 25 questions on the paper version of the General Science subtest, or you have 8 minutes to answer 16 General Science questions on the CAT-ASVAB. That comes out to about 26 or 30 seconds per question, so there’s no time to dilly-dally. For the most part, you either know the answer or you don’t. If you don’t know the answer, you can always guess.

You can relax this time around … well, just a little. The General Science subtest has no bearing on your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. On the other hand, your score on this subtest is used to calculate some of the military composite scores that are used for job qualification purposes.

You may also want to seek additional study time in these references to boost your science knowledge: Chemistry For Dummies by John T. Moore, Biology For Dummies by Rene Fester Kratz and Donna Rae Siegfried, Astronomy For Dummies by Stephen P. Maran, Weather For Dummies by John D. Cox, and Physics I For Dummies and Physics II For Dummies by Steven Holzner, PhD (all from Wiley).