Next on the scale of importance are your ASVAB subtest scores. These scores indicate how you did in each of the nine subtest categories that make up the ASVAB. These categories are:

• General Science
• Arithmetic Reasoning
• Word Knowledge
• Paragraph Comprehension
• Mathematics Knowledge
• Electronics Information
• Auto & Shop Information
• Mechanical Comprehension
• Assembling Objects.

One thing to keep in mind as you look at all of your scores in the report is that each score is expressed as a percentile. This means that if you scored a 65 on the Electronics Information subtest you performed as well or better than 65 percent of the men and women in your age group who took the test.

The reason your subtest scores are important is because the Marines take these scores and use them to determine what jobs you qualify to perform. The marines do this by creating three composite line scores, which are:

Electronics Repair, Missile Repair, Electronics & Communications (EL) – General Science (GS), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Electronic Information (EI).

General Maintenance, Construction, Utility and Chemical Maintenance (MM) – General Science (GS), Auto & Shop (AS), Mathematics Knowledge (MK) and Electronics Information (EI).

General Technical, Special and Officer Programs (GT) – Verbal Expression (VE) and Arithmetic Reasoning (AR).

Verbal expression is the combination of the Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension subtest categories.

If you want to follow one of the above career tracks, you will want to make sure that you perform well in the associated subtest categories. Failure to do so could mean being stuck in a career track that you don’t enjoy or that will not benefit you later.

One more thing to remember about your ASVAB scores, the higher they are the greater your career options and the higher your chance of receiving enlistment incentives, including bonuses.

If you feel your ASVAB scores don’t match your education, training and experience and a Marine recruiter agrees with you, you can retake the ASVAB. You can also retake the ASVAB if your previous test results are expired.

However, a retest can’t be scheduled solely because your scores didn’t meet those required for enlistment options or programs.

That means you should take your first test with the utmost seriousness and be sure to study thoroughly. One effective way to study is to take online practice exams like those offered here on this website.

The ASVAB Subtests: Paper Version

The ASVAB test can be delivered via paper or computer.  If you are at a local Military Entrance Test (MET) site, you’ll likely take the paper-and-pencil version of the test. The following chart list the subtests on the paper version of the ASVAB.  Pay special attention to the time requirements.

Subtest Questions Time (Minutes) Content
General Science (GS) 25 11 Test your science knowledge, including your understanding of health. biology, Earth science, chemistry and more
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) 30 36 Test your knowledge to apply mathematical principles to the real world
Word Knowledge (WK) 35 11 Tests your vocabulary. You’ll need to know how to differentiate words by spelling as well as what certain words mean
Paragraph Comprehension (PC) 15 13 Means just what it says: you’ll be given paragraphs to read and then you’ll be tested on your ability to understand them
Mathematics Knowledge (MK) 25 24 Tests your knowledge of math concepts and applications. Questions cover basic high school mathematics
Electronics Information (EI) 20 9 Measures your knowledge of electricity and may include questions on current, circuits, radio, television and more
Auto & Shop Information (AS) 25 11 In this section, you’ll be asked about basic automotive systems and repair and you’ll also be asked to identify common shop tools and practices
Mechanical Comprehension (MC) 25 19 Tests your understanding of basic mechanical devices and mechanical device processes. Includes many diagrams and questions about those diagrams
Assembling Objects (AO) 25 15 Measures your spatial relationship skills, which can be valuable in interpreting maps, technical drawings, graphs, etc

The CAT-ASVAB Subtests: Computer Version

The computer adaptive test version of the ASVAB is used at all Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).  The following table lists the subtests, number of questions, and time limits on the CAT-ASVAB.

Subtest Questions Time (Minutes) Content
General Science (GS) 16 8 Test your science knowledge, including your understanding of health. biology, Earth science, chemistry and more
Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) 16 39 Test your knowledge to apply mathematical principles to the real world
Word Knowledge (WK) 16 8 Tests your vocabulary. You’ll need to know how to differentiate words by spelling as well as what certain words mean.  Some questions may include antonyms.
Paragraph Comprehension (PC) 11 22 Means just what it says: you’ll be given paragraphs to read and then you’ll be tested on your ability to understand them
Mathematics Knowledge (MK) 16 20 Tests your knowledge of math concepts and applications. Questions cover basic high school mathematics
Electronics Information (EI) 16 8 Measures your knowledge of electricity and may include questions on current, circuits, radio, television and more
Auto Information (AI) 11 7 In this section, you’ll be asked about basic automotive systems and repair.
Shop Information (SI) 11 6 In this subtest, you’ll also be asked to identify common shop tools and practices
Mechanical Comprehension (MC) 16 20 Tests your understanding of basic mechanical devices and mechanical device processes. Includes many diagrams and questions about those diagrams.
Assembling Objects (AO) 16 16 Measures your spatial relationship skills, which can be valuable in interpreting maps, technical drawings, graphs, etc.