The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is used by all branches of the U.S. Military and U.S. high schools to assess a candidate’s eligibility for enlistment and to guide high school students in the identification of potential career paths.
The ASVAB is available in two formats – computer-delivered (CAT-ASVAB) and paper and pencil (P&P-ASVAB). The CAT-ASVAB contains ten subtests, and the P&P-ASVAB contains nine subtests. Regardless of the delivery method, the ASVAB is taken in a three-hour appointment, and candidates work through each subtest, one after the other. Each subtest has specific time limits that vary from six minutes to 39 minutes. The length of time provided for each subtest is dependent on the difficulty and amount of questions it contains.
The generalities of the ASVAB, as well as specifics of the Word Knowledge (WK) subtest, are examined in this article.
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Registration and cost
High school students taking the ASVAB register for the exam through their career guidance office. There is no cost to take the test.
All other candidates register for the ASVAB through their local military recruiter. There is no cost for the exam to test takers. This article assumes you are exploring a military enlistment and that you are working with your local recruiter.
There are 65 Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) located nationwide and in Puerto Rico. The majority of test candidates will take the ASVAB at a MEPS location near them. If a MEPS is not available, test candidates will take the ASVAB at a Military Entrance Test (MET) site. MET sites are located in federal government offices, National Guard armories, or Reserve centers. Your location and deadlines determine your testing site.
Your recruiter may arrange travel if your testing location is outside of a commuting distance, or financial hardship is caused by traveling to the site. Your recruiter will discuss the options available with you.
Test delivery method
MEPS testing locations utilize a computer-delivered (CAT-ASVAB), adaptive exam. Subsequent questions presented are determined by your response to the previous question. If your answer is correct, the prompt increases in difficulty. If your answer is incorrect, the next question may decrease in difficulty. CAT-ASVAB is self-paced, and you can work through the entire exam without having to wait for the group to finish. Questions are presented one at a time, and when you have submitted your answer, you cannot go back to review or change your response.
MET sites deliver a paper and pencil (P&P-ASVAB) exam. Test takers use the same exam and work through the subtests as a group. Within each subtest of the P&P-ASVAB exam, you can review and change your responses. However, you cannot review completed subtests.
ASVAB Word Knowledge Practice Test
The CAT-ASVAB WK test contains 16 multiple-choice, computer-adaptive questions. You have 8 minutes to complete the test before moving on to the next subtest. You cannot change your answers once they are submitted. Incorrect and unanswered questions receive a penalty at scoring. Be sure you answer every question and avoid randomly selecting answers.
The P&P-ASVAB WK test contains 35 multiple-choice questions. You have 11 minutes to complete the test. You are not penalized for guessing, and you can review and make changes to your responses if you have time.
The Word Knowledge test evaluates your ability to determine word meaning through synonyms or antonyms. In a nutshell, the WK exam is a rapid-fire vocabulary test. The larger your basic vocabulary, the better prepared you are to answer the questions correctly. Each question has four possible answers with only one correct response. There are two types of questions:
- Definition – select the appropriate definition of the given word
- Emphasized word – determine its meaning based on its use within a sentence
Your WK score is a part of your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score.
Follow the directions provided to you for test day procedures. Bring the appropriate identification and leave your belongings at home. You are not allowed study aids, and this includes cell phones, smart watches, and notebooks. These items are collected from you before you are seated at your testing station. Discuss your concerns and questions about test day with your recruiter.
You receive an individual score for the WK test, indicated on a scale of one to 100, with a score of 50 as the mean (average). After you complete the ASVAB, you discuss your results with your recruiter. Your recruiter reviews your score with you and identifies the next steps in your enlistment, or other options determined necessary.
The Word Knowledge test is one of four tests that comprise your AFQT score, which determines your enlistment eligibility. The other three subtests that factor into your AFQT score are Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, and Arithmetic Reasoning. Minimum AFQT scores vary by military branch.
Retaking the ASVAB
If you did not perform well on the ASVAB, or if you did not receive the score you need for a particular occupation, you can retake the exam up to two times. Between each subsequent attempt, you have to wait one calendar month. You cannot take individual subtests; you will have to take the entire ASVAB exam.
Your enlistment depends on your success with the ASVAB. In addition to determining eligibility for the military, your results determine the career options that are available to you. A high score can land you your dream occupation plus monetary incentives. To help you reach your goal, Mometrix has developed a suite of study aids designed to prepare you for success with the ASVAB. The study guide, video tutorials, and flashcards cover content, vocabulary, and concepts you need to know to move confidently through the subtests.