What To Expect When You Take The ASVAB

The U.S. Armed Forces have high standards for enlistment. An important part of a recruiter’s job is to screen applicants to ensure they measure up. Even before a recruiter sends you to take the ASVAB, he/she will ask about your marital status, health, education, drug use, and arrest record. It’s very important that you answer these questions openly and honestly. Once the recruiter has determined that an you are qualified for further processing, you will be scheduled to take the ASVAB. A physical exam may also be conducted at that time. For more information about military entrance processing, visit the Military Entrance Processing Command website at http://www.mepcom.army.mil/.

ASVAB testing for applicants is conducted at Military Entrance Processing Stations, known as MEPS. The MEPS are a Department of Defense joint-service organization staffed with military and civilian professionals. There are 65 MEPS located across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Click here to learn where the MEPS are located.

If you do not live near a MEPS, the ASVAB can be administered at a satellite location called a Military Entrance Test (MET) site. MET sites are often located in federal government office buildings, National Guard armories, or Reserve centers.

You’ll need to bring valid identification to be admitted into the testing room. Don’t be late—you’ll be turned away and required to reschedule if you are. Your recruiter may give you a ride to and from the session, but he/she is not permitted in the testing room.

ASVAB test questions are treated as controlled testing materials. You should neither accept nor give information about specific test questions to other individuals. Applicants who either give or receive information about test questions are subject to severe penalties.

The ASVAB is administered by computer at the MEPS and at most MET sites. The paper-and-pencil version is given at a handful of MET sites. Testing procedures will vary depending on the mode of administration.

Computer Administration
The computer version of the ASVAB, called the CAT-ASVAB, is an adaptive test. This means that the test adapts to the ability level of each individual examinee. Thus, it is possible to administer a shorter test than is used in the paper and pencil administration.

Each examinee completes the CAT-ASVAB at his/her own pace. That is, when you complete a subtest, you can immediately move onto the next subtest without waiting for everyone else in the testing room to finish. There are time limits imposed on each subtest in the CAT-ASVAB, but almost all examinees complete the individual subtests before the time expires. As you take each subtest, the amount of time and number of items remaining for that subtest is displayed in the lower right-hand corner. On average, it takes about 2 hours to complete the CAT-ASVAB.

The number of questions and time limits for the subtests on the CAT-ASVAB vary depending upon whether “tryout” questions are administered. Tryout questions are new questions that do not count toward your score. Tryout questions are evaluated to make sure they are performing as expected and in a fair manner prior to future use in determining applicant scores. They are also used to make sure that scores of future applicants can be compared to scores of current applicants. Each examinee receives tryout questions in 2–4 of the ASVAB subtests, with 15 tryout questions randomly dispersed throughout each of the selected subtests. Extra time is given to complete a subtest when tryout items are administered, as shown in the table below.

* To learn more about the contents of the ASVAB subtest, click here.

Paper and Pencil Administration
As soon as all examinees are checked in and seated, the test administrator will provide some general instructions and pass out the test booklets and answer sheets. Listen carefully and do not proceed unless instructed to do so. The total time required, including administrative tasks and instructions, is three to four hours. Each subtest has a fixed number of questions and time limit, as shown in the table below.

Subtests Questions and Time

* To learn more about the contents of the ASVAB subtest, click here.

When you complete the items in a subtest, you may review your answers. However, you cannot go back to an earlier subtest nor proceed to the next subtest until instructed to do so. After the test session, completed answer sheets are sent to the MEPS to be scanned and scored. This process usually takes a few days. Your recruiter will be notified when your test scores are verified and available.



Applicants Home

What To Expect When You Take The ASVAB

Understanding ASVAB Scores

Where To Take The ASVAB

Preparing For The ASVAB


Sample Questions


ASVAB Fact Sheet


MEPS Sites

ASVAB Subtests