If you’re thinking about enlisting in the US military, you’ll need to take the ASVAB. However, the exam is tougher than many people expect, and you’ll likely have to do some studying for it. Practice ASVABs are the best way to learn how well you’re currently doing and where you need to improve. Read this guide to learn where you can find the absolute best ASVAB practice tests, which practice tests you should avoid, and how you can get the most out of your studying.
What Is the ASVAB? How Can ASVAB Practice Tests Help?
The ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is an exam people wanting to join the military must take and achieve a certain score on (depending on which branch of the military they want to join) before they can enlist.
The ASVAB can be taken on either the computer or paper, and it tests you on four main areas: math, science and technical, spatial, and verbal. These concepts are tested across ten subtests:
- General science
- Arithmetic reasoning
- Word knowledge
- Paragraph comprehension
- Mathematics knowledge
- Electronics information
- Auto information
- Shop information
- Mechanical comprehension
- Assembling objects
There are two versions of the ASVAB: the enlistment ASVAB and the ASVAB Career Exploration Program (CEP). The enlistment ASVAB is used for recruiting purposes, and its main purpose is to determine if you’re eligible for military enlistment. The ASVAB CEP is given to high school students in grades 10 to 12, as well as first- and second-year college students to help them decide which career paths (civilian or military) could be best for them based on their personal strengths.
In this article, we’ll focus on the enlistment ASVAB (aka “ASVAB”) since this is the exam students typically study and take practice tests for. Taking practice tests prior to the real exam can help you figure out what your chances of passing are and which subjects you need to improve the most in. Then you can develop a study plan and take additional practice tests to give yourself the best chance of passing on test day.
If you’d like to learn more about the ASVAB exams, including what the format is, what scores you need to pass, and more, check out our guide specifically on what the ASVAB is.
Official ASVAB Practice Tests
Official practice ASVABs are the absolute best practice tests to take. Since they’re developed by the same people who create the real ASVAB you’ll be taking, you can be sure official practice tests have the same format, content, and difficulty level as the real ASVAB. The closer your practice test is to the real deal, the better prepared you’ll be.
Official ASVAB practice tests are found at only one place: the official website of the US Military. On this site, you’ll find three full-length practice ASVABs as well as three shorter ASVAB practice tests.
The shorter tests each have 40 questions, and the full-length tests each have 225 questions. The exams aren’t timed (which the actual ASVAB will be), so you should time yourself to make sure your time management skills are strong. After you finish the exam, you’ll be able to review your responses, along with brief answer explanations.
And, best of all, these tests are all free! You’ll need to enter your email and you have the option of providing your information to be contacted by a recruiter, but you don’t need to pay anything to access these tests. These should absolutely be the first ASVAB practice tests you look at during your studying. They’re the highest-quality practice tests available, and they won’t cost you anything.
Unofficial ASVAB Practice Tests
While official ASVAB practice tests are the best to use, if you take all of them and still want more practice, you can look at unofficial practice tests. You need to be more careful with unofficial practice tests than you do with official practice tests because unofficial practice tests can be made by anyone, without any oversight. This means they may be significantly harder/easier than the ASVAB, test different subjects, or ask questions in different ways. And, unfortunately, there are many practice ASVABs that were clearly put together very quickly and without trying to accurately replicate the real ASVAB.
Taking a practice ASVAB that’s significantly different than the real ASVAB won’t help you much, and it can even hurt your score if you start studying the wrong information and neglect the information you should actually be studying. Below are some unofficial ASVAB practice tests to consider, both free and paid versions.
Free ASVAB Practice Tests
To be honest, none of the free ASVAB practice tests that are available online is a great resource. Some are significantly different than the real ASVAB, but even the better ones are often shorter than the real test and can have questions that are easier than what you’ll see on test day. You can still use them, but we recommend using them just as a supplement, not as your main study source, and only using them after you’ve taken at least two of the official tests so you have a solid grasp of what the ASVAB is like. Here are some of the better free ASVAB practice tests:
4Tests: This practice test is fairly close to the ASVAB in terms of difficulty, but it’s not timed and the answer explanations are somewhat brief.
ASVAB Practice Tests: This practice test is timed and full length, and the questions are an OK match for the ASVAB (although some are easier). However, it breaks up the flow of the test by letting you know whether you got a question correct or incorrect immediately after answering it.
Union Test Prep: This practice test isn’t timed, and it’s not quite full length. Additionally, it tells you if you got a question right or wrong immediately after you answered it. However, the questions are decent, as are the answer explanations.
ASVAB Practice Test Online: This practice test is full-length, but the questions are much easier than those you’ll see on the actual ASVAB and there are no answer explanations. Use it only if you scored low on an official practice test and are trying to work up your skill levels across the board.
Paid ASVAB Practice Tests
Although it’s always nicer to get something for free, when it comes to unofficial ASVAB practice tests, paying is often worth it. The unofficial paid ASVAB practice tests are much higher quality than the unofficial free practice tests.
The paid ASVAB practice tests discussed below are found within ASVAB prep books, which means you can review for the test beyond just taking practice tests. There are several highly-rated ASVAB prep books, and below are two of the best for practice tests.
- Master the ASVAB (Peterson’s)
- Cost: About $19
- This book contains four full-length ASVAB practice tests. Three are in the book and one is online, so you can take the ASVAB both ways to see if there’s a way you score higher on. It also includes a useful diagnostic test for you to see where your strengths and weaknesses are.
- ASVAB Prep Plus (Kaplan)
- Cost: about $16
- This book, produced by Kaplan, has six full-length ASVAB practice tests (three online and three in the book) as well as study material and additional practice questions, including video lessons.
Both of these books have high-quality practice tests, far better than any of the unofficial free ASVAB practice tests, and they generally receive very high reviews from users. However; you do need to pay for them, and if you don’t need the additional study material they provide, they may not be the best value. You can also see if your library has them available for you to use.
(Nick Youngson / The Blue Diamond Gallery)
Tips for Getting the Most Out of Practice ASVAB Tests
Now that you know where to find the best ASVAB practice tests, here are three tips for how to use them during your studying.
#1: Make Good Use of Official Practice Tests
As we mentioned earlier, the best ASVAB practice tests are the official ones, so you want to get the most out of them. There are three full-length official practice tests, and we recommend the first practice test you take, before you even begin studying, be an official practice test. Use the scores on that test to get an idea of how well you’re scoring and where you need to improve. The final practice test you take, to get the best estimate of how you’ll do on exam day, should also be an official practice test. If you take other practice tests between those two, use the third official practice test, then additional unofficial practice tests.
#2: Review Your Mistakes
Your work isn’t done after you finish taking an ASVAB practice test. After taking and scoring the practice test, review your answers to see where you got questions wrong. Look for patterns in the questions you answered incorrectly. Did you do well on the science questions but missed a lot of verbal questions? Did questions that required calculations trip you up?
The primary reason for taking practice tests is to find where your weaknesses are and improve in those areas, and the only real way to do that is to start by figuring out exactly why you got certain questions wrong.
#3: Strengthen Your Weak Areas
After you take your first practice ASVAB, don’t just immediately jump to the next one. Instead, spend time strengthening areas you need to improve on. This is where review books can come in handy if there are areas of the test you need to brush up on. Get whatever knowledge gaps you have taken care of before you take another practice test because otherwise you likely won’t see much improvement.
Strengthening weak areas may include studying relevant sections in a prep book, answering practice questions, and/or altering your test-taking strategies (for example, you may frequently make careless mistakes, which means you need to slow down and read questions more carefully).
Want more information on the ASVAB? Check out our complete guide to the ASVAB exam, including the complete format and the types of questions you can expect to see.
What score should you be aiming for on the ASVAB? Learn what a good ASVAB score is by reading our guide on ASVAB scoring.
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.