Written By Scott Ostrow For USMilitary.com
If you’ve decided to join the military, or are at least seriously considering it, you’ve no doubt thought about the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or as it’s better known, the ASVAB exam. You may have already taken the exam in high school, or you may have been given an exam in your recruiter’s office to determine how well you may perform on the actual exam. In any case, the truth is you could probably do better with a little practice.
Before I discuss the virtues of studying for the ASVAB I need to clarify and disclose a couple of things. First, I have, from time-to-time, revised military test prep books. So you’ll find my name on ASVAB, Officer Candidate Test, and Military Flight Aptitude Test, preparation books. You’ll also find my name on a book entitled, Guide to Joining the Military; and here comes the shameless plug; you’ll find a third edition on sale soon in your local bookstores and online. Notice I did not give a publisher’s name because I am not quite that shameless. Although there are a number of ASVAB study guides out there, the truth is, in theory you should not have to study for the ASVAB.
Because it is an aptitude test, in theory, the ASVAB should measure your current knowledge as well as your aptitude for learning subjects such as mechanics and electronics. However, in reality, studying for the ASVAB will increase your scores in all areas of the exam and, therefore, open up more military career opportunities for you. As with any study guide, however, ASVAB prep books can only help you if you actually spend time studying.
Several years ago, perhaps more than I’d care to admit, my son was contemplating joining the military, and like thousands of other young men and women, he took the ASVAB in high school. While he did not do poorly, his available choices of military specialties were limited. Because I just happened to have a copy, or two, of a particular ASVAB study guide at home we began a week-long intensive study routine. The results were phenomenal as he increased his ASVAB score beyond expectations, thus expanding his military career choices. Below is a short list of winning strategies for studying for the ASVAB whether you are using an ASVAB prep book or online test prep:
• Set aside about one hour a day devoted to study.
• Find a quiet place to study. If you can’t study at home try the library.
• Study early enough in the day to avoid nodding off (the test is important but not necessarily exciting).
• Complete all of the practice exams and have someone time you, just as you would be timed when taking the actual exam.
• Don’t leave anything to chance. If you are having difficulty on a particular part of the practice exam, you will have difficulty on the actual ASVAB. Therefore, you must spend more time on those sections.
• You may want to consult more than one book. In that case, instead of buying multiple books you may be able to check one out from the library; unfortunately though, you will lose the ability to write in the book.
Studying for the ASVAB is a small investment to be made when compared to the possible benefits. You may be pressured into taking the ASVAB as soon as possible, or you may be told that the results of your high school ASVAB are good enough. Regardless of what you’re told, most times, preparing for the ASVAB will open new opportunities to you. You owe it to yourself to take the time to study.