Why Word Knowledge is Important for the ASVAB

By Rod Powers

Word Knowledge isn’t part of the ASVAB just because the military likes to use big words. It’s included because words stand for ideas, and the more words you understand, the more ideas you can understand (and the better you can communicate with others). A decent vocabulary is essential in the military if you want to get ahead.

The military operates on paperwork, and whether you’re trying to get more supplies (submit necessary logistical requisitions) or get the assignment you want (via application for personnel career-enhancement programs), you need to develop a good vocabulary.

The military considers clear communication so important that it’s taught and graded at all levels of leadership training, including at the Army, Navy, and Air Force War Colleges, which are requirements to be promoted to General officer equivalent rank (Admiral in the Navy).

The Word Knowledge subtest is one of the four most important subtests on the ASVAB (along with the Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, and Arithmetic Reasoning). This subtest comprises a significant portion of the AFQT score — the score that determines your eligibility for military service. You also need to do well on the Word Knowledge subtest to qualify for many military jobs, such as air traffic controller, military intelligence, and even firefighting.

Check out the military job qualification line scores that are calculated by using your Word Knowledge subtest score.

Branch of Service Line Score
U.S. Army Clerical, General Technical, Operators and Food, Surveillance and Communications, and Skilled Technical
U.S. Air Force Administrative and General
U.S. Navy/Coast Guard Administrative, General Technical, Health, and Nuclear
U.S. Marine Corps General Technical