What skills does ASVAB measure?

Certification: Test Prep ASVAB - Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery


Skills are important to shape the personality of a person. Different skills are responsible to provide different status to different people in the community. The ASVAB is designed with an aim of determining the strengths, weaknesses and potential of a candidate with reference to military job. It tells that whether the candidate is suitable for military job or not. As it is understood that ASVAB is not a test which is used to check IQ rather this test is intended to evaluate the skills that a candidate has. On the basis of these skills his job is determined in Military forces. The ASVAB is divided into nine subsets which can be gathered under three categories of skills i.e. communication skills, arithmetic skills and technical skills. It is well observed by Rod Powers that all of these skills involve one major skill which is the most important i.e. the observation skill. All these skills evaluation questions are demanding to show how you observe different fields on daily life. Let me explain this briefly, starting from communication skills. Every one communicates in this world but few of them are able to communicate effectively which is because of their observation. They observe how the communication can be effective and adopt those effective ways. Similarly is the case of arithmetic skills. We all have been studying mathematics and dealing with figures and logic but few of us have good command on arithmetic principles and their application. This is because of their keen observation. They observe deeply how the logic works and adopt that way. Similarly the technical skills are also dependant on the observation of the candidate. Everyone in his routine life faces technical issues related to engine, shafts, shapes, electronic devices, general science which is taught from the beginning of studies. All these things are also based on the observation of a person that how he sees towards these things. Not all of them are capable of observing these facts deeply but few of them have the ability of observation and understanding the basic science behind these routine problems. So concluding the point, it can be understood that all these skills are based on observation of a candidate.  The test is designed in such a way that it focuses on these skills and their integral parts which are discussed below. Let us discuss them separately. The good thing about ASVAB test is that it consists of pretty basic questions which evaluate your skills instead of any technical and confusing question.

Communication Skills

Communication is part of everyday life. Communication skills not only have major part in ASVAB but also in daily life. These skills make you prominent from others. With regard to ASVAB, Communication skills consist of word knowledge and paragraph comprehension. The word knowledge include issues related to spelling and meanings of words, prefixes and suffixes, synonyms and antonyms, vocabulary and pronunciation. Word knowledge plays important role in determining jobs like air traffic controller, military intelligence and even firefighting.  The paragraph comprehension on the other hand is related to understanding of paragraph where the questions are mainly based on four types i.e. finding specific information, recognizing the main idea, determining the word meaning in the context and understanding implications. Many operations jobs like administrative and general technical jobs including health and nuclear sections are based on paragraph comprehension score.

Arithmetic Skills

Arithmetic skills can be explained as logically dealing with facts and figures in order to gain sure knowledge about the target. For military jobs, mathematics and its principles are necessary. Surprise for you is that you can’t use a calculator in ASVAB test. Arithmetic skills are not only important for ADVAB but also for AFQT (Armed Force Qualification Test) which determine whether you are eligible for enlistment to any branch of armed services or not. Arithmetic skills like communication skills consist of two parts i.e. mathematics knowledge and operations, and reasoning with arithmetic (Math Word Problems). Mathematics knowledge and operations include issues related to math terminologies, order of operations, arithmetic sequence, probability, fractions, ratio and proportion, scientific notation, perfect squares rational and irrational numbers, algebra and its formulas, equations, quadratic equations, geometry and angles and Theorems. Math word problems check the arithmetic ability of the candidate by questions related to daily life most famous of them are related to age, sale and purchase and life expectancy. It can be said that the mathematics knowledge and operations is asked in shape of word in math word problems.

Technical Skills

Technical skills include five important parts i.e. General Science, Auto and Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, Electronics Information and Assembling objects.

a)  General Science part includes questions include problems related to:

  • Scientific methods like forms of measurement, metric, temperature conversions
  • Biology problems like ecology, human body systems, genetics
  • Chemistry problems like elements and their uses, periodic table, physical state, chemical reactions
  • Astronomy including sun and moon, planets, stars
  • Earth science including rocks, geology, meteorology, layers of earth, atmosphere, clouds etc.

b)  Auto and Shop Information is related to various types of tools. These tools may be of:

  • Engine like strokes, spinning tools, brake system, drive system, electrical and ignition system etc.
  • Tools of trade like striking tools, fastening tools, cutting tools, drilling, punching and gouging tools, finishing tools, clamping tools, measuring tools, leveling and squaring tools, nails, screw, bolts, nuts and washers etc

c)  Mechanical Comprehension involves test of skills related to the basics of forces, action and reaction, balance, kinds of forces, resistances, levers and pulley, inclined plane, gears, wheel and axles, hydraulic jacks, grips etc

d)  Electronics Information deals with the testing of candidate’s skills related to electronic devices and circuits. It involves information about electricity like current, potential, power, circuits, alternating and direct current, frequency, transistors, rectification etc.

e)  Assembling objects include most general concepts related to connectors, shapes problems (jigsaw puzzles) etc.


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