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 will send 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 a 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 is administered at a satellite location called a Mobile Examining Team (MET) site. MET sites are often located in Federal government office buildings, National Guard armories, or Reserve centers.

Most ASVAB testing is done in the evening. 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.

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

Paper and Pencil Administration
As soon 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 a little over three hours. Each subtest has a fixed number of questions and time limit, as shown in the table below.

Subtests Questions and Time

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, 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.

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 most examinees complete the individual subtests before the time expires. On average, it takes about 1½ hours to complete the CAT-ASVAB. The number of questions and time limits for the subtests on the CAT-ASVAB are shown in the table below.

All examinees receive training on using the computer keyboard and mouse, answering test questions, and obtaining help. In addition, each subtest has specific instructions plus a practice question.

Unlike the paper and pencil ASVAB, you will not be able to review or change an answer once you submit it. Your test scores will be available immediately after the test session. You may leave the test room as soon as you are finished with the entire battery.

To learn more about how the CAT-ASVAB works, click here.



Recruiters Home

Understanding ASVAB Scores


Myths About The ASVAB

ASVAB Retest Policy

Preparing For The ASVAB

History Of Military Testing

STP Recruiter Survey

ASVAB Fact Sheet


MEPS Sites

ASVAB Subtests