Every year, a plethora of people register to take the ASVAB test so as to apply for the U.S. Military. Some of them might wonder how challenging the ASVAB test is. Thus, in this paper, we will help you answer the question Is the ASVAB hard?” and also give you some study guides in order to make it easier and enjoyable. 

First and foremost, we will provide you with a brief overview of the ASVAB Test. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test is used to measure the qualification of military recruits and also determine eligibility for specific career paths within the discrepant branches of the United States Armed Services. The ASVAB test comprises 9 subtests that cover spatial, technical, science, and mathematical knowledge and skills. 


1. Is The ASVAB Hard

For the question raised in the title, the difficulty level of the ASVAB test will depend on how good applicants are at taking tests; how adeptly they know the knowledge and content being tested; and also how well they prepare for the ASVAB. As ASVAB is a multiple choice test, there are a number of answering options given out when answering a question which make it much easier than other types. However, if you don’t possess much knowledge of the different test areas, its difficulty can be considerable.

how hard is the asvab
If you don’t possess much knowledge of the different test areas, its difficulty can be considerable.

If the ASVAB is in your future, you should not worry about it when you prepare for the test in advance. At present, we know what you are thinking. It could be the question “How do you study for an exam with 9 subsections?” Don’t sweat it! We are here to give you one of the best study guides and testing tips to ace the ASVAB with the desired score the first time. 

Based on the recent studies, many candidates deem the mathematics knowledge test is the hardest ASVAB subsection. Follow our ASVAB Math Study Guide if you want to get a comprehensive understanding and tips for highest ASVAB scores on this section. 


2. How Hard Is The ASVAB? 

2.1.  The test is pretty long

The ASVAB is a battery of  subtests, and each of which has its time limit. Additionally, there are 2 different versions of the test you can take including the Computerized Adaptive Test (CAT) and the Paper version (P&P) at the Military Entrance Test (MET) sites.



ASVAB test is long
The ASVAB is a battery of 9 subtests, and each of which has its time limit.

Depending on what kind of test delivery method you take, the timing of ASVAB will be different as follows:

ASVAB Subsections Test Length: CAT – ASVAB Test Test Length: P&P – ASVAB Test
General Science 8 minutes for 16 questions 11 minutes for 25 questions
Arithmetic Reasoning 39 minutes for 16 questions 36 minutes for 30 questions
Word Knowledge 8 minutes for 16 questions 11 minutes for 35 questions
Paragraph Comprehension 22 minutes for 11 questions 13 minutes for 15 questions
Mathematics Knowledge 20 minutes for 16 questions 24 minutes for 25 questions
Electronics Information 8 minutes for 16 questions 9 minutes for 20 questions
Auto Information 7 minutes for 11 questions n/a
Shop Information 6 minutes for 11 questions n/a
Auto & Shop Information n/a 11 minutes for 25 questions
Mechanical Comprehension 20 minutes for 16 questions 19 minutes for 25 questions
Assembling Objects 16 minutes for 16 questions 15 minutes for 25 questions
Total 154 minutes for 145 questions 149 minutes for 225 questions


2.2. The ASVAB is stressful

Many people confess that the ASVAB Test might be so stressful because they need to focus on their scores. As you know, the AFQT score will determine whether you can qualify for the military career path. Unless you pass this portion of the test with a good score, you are disqualified and need to retest. What’s more, almost every armed job has a minimum expectation for scores on the ASVAB that you need to meet. Plus, some careers are competitive so the minimum may not be enough to help you excel than others. 

>>> Read More: Can You Retake the ASVAB Test ?


2.3. It takes a lot of studying for multiple subjects

The studying scope surrounds Arithmetic, Knowledge of Mathematics and Equations, Paragraph and Word Comprehension, Mechanical Skills and Understanding, and Science. Some parts of the test might be much easier than the others and vice versa. 

  • Word knowledge and paragraph comprehension is among the least hard. Thus, you will likely score high on these sections as long as you have a decent knowledge of basic vocabulary and read paragraphs thoroughly. 
  • Knowledge of the mathematics section will vary in difficulty. If you have forgotten certain concepts or find them difficult to understand, this section will be quite difficult. It should be noted that if you read over the questions carefully and make proper calculations, the arithmetic reasoning section is not hard to pass. 
  • The general science section ịncludes basic concepts in biology, chemistry, physics and geology. In general, this is regarded as one of the easiest subtests of the ASVAB. If you have taken science courses at high school, this section will likely be easy. However, if you have not taken any science courses in a while, then this section might be a little challenging. 
  • The mechanics and electronics section is more difficult than others.  On this subtest, you will  answer questions regarding wheels, vehicles, the function of their parts and things that are operated by electricity. Again, if you are not familiar with how electronics work and mechanical knowledge, these parts of the test will be quite difficult. 

In short, if you want a high score on the ASVAB Test, you need to plan in advance to study multiple subjects.


2.4. You must wait to retest

If you have received an expected ASVAB Score, you can take a retest to qualify for service or the job you want. However, the retest policies must be followed strictly. 

  • You can retake it after 30 days for the 1st and 2nd times. 
  • You must wait six months before a third attempt.

Furthermore, the military branches also set their own rules for retesting. For example: 

  • The Air Force will now allow retesting when the score does not match an available Air Force job.
  • The Marines allow retests if the score does not reflect the actual capabilities of a potential recruit.


2.5.  The ASVAB has more than one score 

Score also makes the ASVAB seem harder and stressful than others. There are 4 critical sections in the ASVAB that you should pay more attention including Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Mathematics Knowledge because their scores make up your AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test ) Score – known as “the minimum ASVAB score” enlistment requirement”. The score determines whether you’re eligible to enlist in the U.S forces. 

Typically, the military uses the following formula to calculate your raw AFQT score: 2VE + AR + MK. After that, your raw AFQT is converted to a percentile score to compare your results to the results of thousands of other ASVAB test takers.  So if you receive a percentile score of 60, that doesn’t mean the correct answers you get, it means you did better than 60% of the people in your comparison group.  Each branch of the military has distinctive AFQT score requirements such as  Coast Guard – 40;  Army – 31;  Marine Corps – 32;  Navy – 35.

* Take note: If you are a GED holder, your minimum score requirements for enlistment may be higher than those who have a high school diploma. Check with your recruiter for more details on this according to your desired armed branch.

In addition to AFQT scores, service composite scores or line scores are mainly used to determine which particular military job matches the ability and qualification of each test-taker. The line score that is made up by the scores of ASVAB sections will vary depending on the military branch and the specific military job. 

For instance, line scores for a Skilled Technician in the Marines take into account the achievements in General Science, Verbal Expression, Mathematics Knowledge, and Mechanical Comprehension. Thus, the higher you score in all areas, the higher likelihood you have a choice of jobs. 


3. How To Study For The Hard ASVAB?


asvab hard test
The best study guides and testing tips to ace the ASVAB with the desired score the first time.

3.1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses

Your best study guide depends on various factors such as your own personal academic strengths and weaknesses, the military branch you want to enlist and the job you are hoping to have and so on. Thus, first and foremost, it is recommended that you should take a mock test or practice test to identify what you have already known or what you need to improve later. 


3.2. Focus on your weaknesses

After you identify your strengths and weaknesses, let’s focus on your weaknesses.  If you’re very strong in English but not so great in math, you should pay more attention to math sections which will likely help boost your score overall. 


3.3. Prioritize studying for 4 sections that make up your AFQT 

If you’re short on time, at the absolute minimum, you should study for the four sections that make up your AFQTArithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Mathematics Knowledge. Take our ASVAB practice tests to get to know what the questions look like and how difficult they might be.


3.4. Recall the concepts you might be unfamiliar or completely forget

You would forget some 10th grade math formulas, wouldn’t you? Read textbooks and follow our ASVAB Study Guide. Furthermore, you can access ASVAB Flashcards to learn terms and concepts for your actual test. 


3.5. Focus on any weaknesses

If you’re very strong in English but not so great in math, focusing on the two math sections will likely help boost your overall score.

In short, for the most concerned question “Is the ASVAB hard?”, after reading our blog, you can see that although the ASVAB is not the easiest test you’ll ever take, it is not hard to conquer on the first try if you have advanced preparation. Let’s take our ASVAB Practice Test.