ASVAB Exam ASVAB Math Knowledge

ASVAB Math Knowledge Study Guide!

Feb 25th, 2020
asvab math knowledge study guide

ASVAB Math Knowledge Study Guide

Math is not everyone’s favorite subject. But to score high on the ASVAB exam, you need to cover all the bases. Here, in this ASVAB math knowledge study guide, we have put together some top tips to help get you through this subtest.

Math Knowledge is one of the most important parts of the ASVAB exam.

That is because Math Knowledge is one of the four knowledge domains that is used to determine your AFQT score; the score used to establish whether you are eligible to enlist in the US military.

Depending on whether you are taking the CAT-ASVAB or the paper ASVAB, there are a different number of questions and different timeframes for each exam:

  • CAT-ASVAB: 15 questions to be answered in 23 minutes
  • Paper ASVAB: 25 questions to be answered in 24 minutes

Math Knowledge overlaps to some degree with Arithmetic Reasoning, another of the four knowledge domains used to calculate your AFQT score. However, though both domains test your knowledge of numbers, the approach is different. Math focuses on fractions, algebra, logarithms, and percentages whereas arithmetic focuses on word problems that involve addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. However, what both subtests have in common is the ability to test the candidates logical reasoning skills and the ability to problem solve on the spot.

And that is the core skill at hand – logical reasoning; an important transferrable skill that can be applied to other careers after you have left the military. To develop this skill takes time. It does not grow overnight.

How to Approach the Math Knowledge Exam

This is a subtest that demands of the candidate the need to work consistently – week after week – on math knowledge problems and the skills needed to unwrap the question and identify the correct course of the solution.

Initially, this may seem overbearing. After all, math is somewhat abstract, and it can be difficult to get to grips with what you need to learn. The worst possible approach is to try and “memorize” paths of solutions. With this approach, you will almost always get caught out when a new and similar but sufficiently different problem comes up on the exam. The best way to ace the ASVAB math knowledge exam is to learn the reasons why you need to take certain steps.

The more you understand how to solve a problem, the more you can apply the same reasoning to other, similar – or even different – problems, in the future. Too many students give up on the question before they have even started. That lack of confidence is caused by bad preparation – the kind of poor memorization techniques that we discussed above. That approach to math knowledge will never, ever work.

What does work is the time you invest to understand the nature of problem-solving and to come up with good reasons why you are taking the steps that you are. And to develop that skill, you must take as many Math Knowledge practice questions as possible. And when you do practice these questions, do not be disheartened if you score low. After all, that is where everybody starts. What matters is that you learn from the solution – the specific step where you tripped yourself up. By closing as many of these knowledge gaps as possible, you slowly but surely and more confidently develop your skills in the weeks and months ahead.

ASVAB Math Knowledge Syllabus

So far in this ASVAB math knowledge study guide, we have learned how to approach the exam because learning about math is different to learning about biology – which can easily be done through memorization methods.

With that approach in mind, the next step is to develop a long-term study plan that ensures you prepare for all topics on the exam. That way, you can work through as many problems as possible – for all topics – and be confident that you have covered everything you need to know for the ASVAB exam.

Below, we have put together a syllabus of the question types you can expect to see on the math knowledge subtest. If you have comprehensively prepared and practiced these ASVAB test practice questions, you can be sure to score well on the day of your exam.

Math vocabularyIntegers
Improper fractions
Numerator / denominator
Prime numbers
Square roots
Composite numbers
Irrational numbers
FractionsAdding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions.
Identifying and manipulating improper fractions.
Expressing fractions as percentages.
Finding a common denominator between two fractions.
Reducing fractions to their simplest form.
Expressing fractions as decimals.
AlgebraHow to solve equations for x.
Reduce equations to their simplest form.
Adding or subtracting exponents.
Finding square roots.
Factoring a three-term equation.
Solving quadratic equations.
GeometryTypes of angle
Types of triangle
Circumference, radius, diameter
Calculating area and perimeter
Calculating volume
Other How to perform operations in the correct order (BOMDAS rule etc.)

Test Taking Tips for Math Knowledge

To succeed at the ASVAB math knowledge subtest, here are some key tips to consider when taking the exam:

  • Understand what the question is asking. Unless you know what the question is asking, you cannot develop a path to the solution. That is why knowing math vocabulary is important. Knowing the vocabulary is just the first step. Now you need to identify an appropriate solution path.  
  • Eliminate wrong answers. Often in multiple-choice question formats, there are two relatively obvious wrong answers and two answers that are more similar. Even if you can work out the problem to a small degree, it may be enough for you to eliminate two wrong answers. That gives you a 50:50 educated guess to choose the right answer.
  • Don’t rush. With math knowledge, it’s about taking a methodical approach to each question. Whilst it may be tempting to rush through questions you think are easy, this maximizes the risk of getting those easy questions wrong. You have been assigned a time limit for this subtest. Use that opportunity to your advantage and space out that time accordingly. This way, you can avoid the risk of getting easy questions wrong, and by spending too little time on more difficult problems.

And that’s why taking ASVAB test practice questions on math is so important. Test questions force the candidate to think through problems and understand the methodology involved in how the answer can be solved. The more ASVAB test questions you practice, the higher the probability you will score high on the day of your exam.

That’s about it for our ASVAB math knowledge study guide. We hope that you have found this study guide helpful. Check back to our ASVAB blog soon for more exclusive content to help master you through the math knowledge exam!