Exam: ASVAB Test - Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery Test: General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Electronics Information, Automotive & Shop Information, Mechanical Comprehension, Assembling Objects
ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) is test developed by the Department of Defence of the United States as part of the recruitment process of the Armed Forces. The test is designed to identify right candidates for the right service in the military forces through analysing their strong and weak points in various domains essential for the job. ASVAB comprises of multiple subsets and composites of subsets and the test is conducted over 14,000 schools and Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) across the United States.
The scoring of the test includes a standard score which includes scores of individual subsets and anArmed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score which is a combined standard score of four subsets including Word Knowledge, Mathematics Knowledge, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Paragraph Comprehension. While the standard scores play a significant role in determining the career field of a candidate and opting for college, vocational school or military occupation, the AFQT score has a major role to play in identifying for which of the military service including Army, Navy, Marines, Air force and Coast Guard is the candidate is eligible based on his percentile. The candidates with highest scores are eligible for Coast Guard followed by Air Force, Navy and, Marine and Army.
On the basis of the purpose the test serves, the test has three versions including Student ASVAB, MET-site ASVAB and CAT-ASVAB. The purpose of the Student ASVAB is to exposethe job opportunities in the military services to the students in the high school and college and facilitating the students to take up the test in schools, colleges and vocational schools. MET-site ASVAB is to be taken by a candidate when referred by a recruiter and the test is designed for recruiting personnel in any one of the military forces. Both the versions, consisting of eight subsets, follow a pencil and paper format with no flexibility in start time of the subsets of the test.
CAT - ASVAB Testing
The latest ASVAB known as CAT – ASVAB is a computer-based test administration that works on automated system. The test comprises of nine sections or subsets including General Science, Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge, Electronics Information, Auto Information, Shop Information and Mechanical Comprehension. One of the differences between the computerised ASVAB and the traditional paper and pencil (P&P) ASVAB test is that in the computerised version of the test the Automotive and Shop Information subtest of the P&P - ASVAB is divided into two separate subtests.
The ASVAB test is designed to assess the ability of a candidate in three domains including Verbal, Science or Technical, and Math with each subsets being classified into one of these four domains.
Verbal – The Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension are classified into the verbal domain. The Word Knowledge subset is designed to test the ability of a candidate to choose the correct meaning of a word in terms of a given context and find the best synonym of a word from the given options. The Paragraph Comprehension subset is to determine how well a candidate can comprehend a paragraph and draw information from it.
Science or Technical –There are four subsets classified under the Science or Technical domain including General Science, Mechanical Comprehension, Electronics Information, and Auto and Shop Information.As the name of the subsets suggests, the General Science test the knowledge proficiency of the candidate in the physical and biological sciences, Mechanical Comprehension test the knowledge in the mechanical and physical principles, Electronics Information subset assesses the knowledge of the candidate in in the electricity and electronics field, and Auto and Shop Information subset examines the knowledge of the candidate in automobile technology and tools and shop terminology and practices.
Math –The subsets included in Math domain include Arithmetic Reasoning and Mathematics Knowledge. The Arithmetic Reasoning subset tests the ability of the candidate to solve arithmetic word problems and the Mathematical Knowledge assesses the knowledge of a candidate in principles relating to high school mathematics.
There is also a spatial domain consisting of the Assembling Objects subset, however, this subset is not a part of the core ASVAB test. The Assembling Objects subset is aimed at determining the ability to establish the final look of an object after organizing its parts together.
CAT – ASVAB is adaptive test which implies that the answer of a question would determine the level of difficulty level of the next question. The test adapts to the ability of the candidate by making the next question harder if the candidate answers a question correctly and making the next question easier if the candidate gives a wrong answer for a question.
CAT- ASVAB or P&P-ASVAB – Which of the two is tougher?
To decide upon which of the two versions is tougher, we need to understand the pattern of questions the candidates have to face in terms of difficulty level.The questions in the P&P – ASVAB are mostly average in terms of difficulty level as it consists of both easy and hard questions. However, the CAT- ASVAB does not a defined pattern of questions for every candidate. The difficulty level of the questions in the computerised version of the test is customized based on the ability of a candidate. This implies an above average candidate will receive questions of above average difficulty and a below average students will need to take questions of below average difficulty level or easier questions in short. Therefore, for candidates with above average ability, the CAT – ASVAB may seem to be tougher than P&P-ASVAB and for candidates with below average ability, CAT- ASVAB may seem to be easier than P&P – ASVAB. However, the scores of both the test versions are treated with no difference and the administrators expect a similar score whether a candidate is taking up the computerised version or the pencil and paper version.
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