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How to Ace Math on the ASVAB

by Nick Robinson

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, is a required exam for prospective military recruits. The exam covers 10 different subject areas over the course of about three hours. Although the military never gives the same exam twice, every iteration of the ASVAB covers the same content. For many people, the mathematics section of the test is the most challenging. Math can be tough, but with a little study a perfect score on this 25-question section is possible.

Things You'll Need

To prepare for the test, prospective military recruits will need an ASVAB study guide, a book of ASVAB practice tests, sharpened pencils and scratch paper.

Step One: Brush Up on Arithmetic

Although the ASVAB does not include any pure arithmetic questions, a good grasp of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division is required to answer most of the algebra and geometry questions on the test. According to the Official Site of the ASVAB, test-takers are not allowed to use a calculator on the test. It's very useful to memorize basic multiplication tables. A good study strategy is to create flash cards from a multiplication table, such as the one at MathIsFun.com.

Step Two: Understand What's On the Test

Understanding the concepts the ASVAB tests allows students to save time and study only the areas that are important to their score. According to Military.com, the exam mainly focuses on basic algebra, geometry, fractions and statistics. Test-takers can also expect a handful of questions about patterns or sequences, and occasionally questions about rounding numbers to a specified unit.

Step Three: Take a Diagnostic Practice Test

Once you are familiar with the basic concepts on the ASVAB, it's time to test yourself. Take a practice test from your book, or download one from Military.com. After completing the exam, grade it and carefully note the questions you missed. You should be able to sort questions into types to determine the topics you need to study the most. If you missed several questions about fractions, for example, then you know you'll want to study fractions carefully before taking the real test.

Step Four: Study Your Weakest Subjects

ASVAB Math is fairly elementary.

Once you know which topics stump you, it's easy to improve your score. The best strategy is to read about those topics in your review book. You can also read about topics online at websites listed in the resources section of this article. If you are really struggling with a particular subject, such as linear algebra, the best option might be to talk with a teacher or hire a tutor. Remember, the ASVAB math section is only 25 questions, so you don't need to become an expert.

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