ASVAB Strategies

If you’re studying for the ASVAB, you’ll want to develop some test-taking strategies so you get the score you want. Here are some of Kaplan’s ASVAB strategy recommendations:

  • Always answer every question.

    There is no guessing penalty on the ASVAB. This means that it is absolutely in your interest to guess on every question on every subtest of the ASVAB! Even if you have to make a completely blind guess, you have a 25 percent chance of picking the correct answer.

  • Familiarize yourself with the test.

    One key to success on the ASVAB is knowing what to expect. The format—which includes the directions, the types of questions, and even the traps that the test maker places among the answer choices—is remarkably similar from test to test. One of the easiest things you can do to improve your performance on the ASVAB is to understand the test format before you take the test.

  • Practice, practice, practice!

    Completing sample problems and practice tests will help you improve your scores for three reasons. First, it will help you brush up on skills and topics that you have not used since you finished school. Second, practice improves your speed. Third, as mentioned above, practicing will help you recognize patterns and trap answers.

  • Take advantage of the multiple choice format.

    Since you have a 25 percent chance of getting the correct answer just by guessing blindly, being able to eliminate any of the answer choices greatly improves your odds of making a correct guess. If you know that one of the four answer choices cannot be right and eliminate it accordingly, you now have a 33 percent chance of getting the correct answer. Remove one more wrong answer choice, and your chance of getting the question right is now 50-50. On certain ASVAB questions, you will find that using the process of elimination on wrong answer choices is just as effective a way of getting to the correct answer as spotting the correct answer the straightforward way. Often, even if you are completely confused by a question, you can still make a solid guess by eliminating answer choices that run counter to the other three answer choices.

CAT-ASVAB Strategies

If you are taking the CAT-ASVAB, applying certain CAT-specific strategies will have a direct, positive impact on your score:

  • At the beginning of the section, each question you get right or wrong will rapidly move the computer’s estimate of your score up or down. Thus it pays to spend enough time on each question so that you can work your way up to the more difficult questions. Getting to the hard questions as soon as possible can only help your final score—as long as you don’t run out of time at the end of the section. If you answer several questions wrong at the end of the section (because, for example, you are rushing), or if you do not finish the section, you will undo your earlier gains. Thus, you must manage your time so that you are using just enough time to answer early questions correctly without taking time away from the later questions.
  • As you progress through the middle part of a section, try to avoid getting several questions in a row wrong, as this can sink your score on the CAT. If you know that the previous question you answered was a blind guess, spend a little extra time trying to get the next one right.
  • The CAT does not allow you to skip questions. So if you are given a question you cannot answer, you’ll have to guess. Guess intelligently and strategically by eliminating any answer choices that you know are wrong and choosing from those remaining.
  • Don’t get rattled if you see difficult questions. Because the CAT increases difficulty when you get correct answers, earning difficult questions just means that you are doing well. Moreover, keep in mind that the CAT will continue to adapt until you are answering roughly half of the questions you see correctly. Thus, toward the end of the test, you likely will feel that you are getting about half the questions you see wrong. That means the test is working the way it should. So don’t get discouraged—just keep doing your best and keep your confidence up!

[ KEEP STUDYING: ASVAB Math Strategies  •  ASVAB Technical Subset Strategies ]

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