ASVAB Test Topics

by Sharen McArthur
The ASVAB Test helps high school students identify and explore occupations.

The ASVAB Test helps high school students identify and explore occupations.

The Military has thousands of jobs available for enlisted personnel and officers. Young adults who would like to identify and explore occupations and develop strategies to accomplish career goals in the military may take the ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) Test.


The ASVAB Test, developed and maintained by the Department of Defense, is a multiple aptitude test. It has subtests that measure aptitudes in four domains: Verbal, Math, Science and Technical, and Spatial. Students take a paper and pencil version, called the P&P-ASVAB, or a computer version of the test, called the CAT-ASVAB.

Verbal Domain

The verbal domain has two tests: word knowledge and paragraph comprehension. Your answers to questions on the word knowledge test will determine if you understand the meaning of words through synonyms. You will also be asked to select the correct meaning of words presented in context. The paragraph comprehension portion measures your ability to obtain information from written passages.

Math Domain

The math domain has two tests: arithmetic reasoning and mathematics knowledge. The arithmetic reasoning test measures your ability to solve basic arithmetic word problems. You will read word passages and figure out a formula to use to solve the problems. The mathematics knowledge test asks you to solve mathematical equations, using standard algebra and geometry.

Science and Technical Domain

This domain includes tests over general science, electronics information, auto and shop information, and mechanical comprehension. The general science test measures your knowledge of physical and biological sciences: life science, earth and space science, and physical science. The test on electronics information measures your knowledge of electrical current, circuits, devices and electronic systems. For the auto and shop tests, you will answer questions about automotive maintenance and repair, and wood and metal shop terminology and practices.

Spatial Domain

To measure your spatial ability, you will take the assembling objects test. You will be asked to determine how an object will look when its parts are put together.

Test Version Differences

The P&P-ASVAB has a fixed number of questions for each subtest. The CAT-ASVAB has fewer questions for each subtopic than the paper and pencil version. Because the CAT-ASVAB adapts to the ability level of the test taker, it can take less time. It also separates the auto and shop information tests into two separate tests.

About the Author

Sharen McArthur primarily writes for education websites. An experienced journalist and high school English teacher, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Washington. The most interesting national news story she covered was the shooting of "Hustler" magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who was on trial on obscenity charges in Lawrenceville, Ga.

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