Word Knowledge

ASVAB Word Knowledge is one of the four subtests used to calculate the AFQT score; the score used to establish whether you are eligible to enlist in the US military.

Learn more about what candidates must study, and what exam tips and tricks to apply, to master this part of the ASVAB exam.

ASVAB Word Knowledge Exam Format

Depending on whether you are taking the CAT-ASVAB or the P&P ASVAB, there are different numbers of questions and time allotted.


15 Questions

8 Minutes


35 Questions

11 Minutes


Word knowledge is about testing your understanding of vocabulary and communication; important transferrable skills that apply to the military and other careers.

To succeed at the word knowledge test, applicants must expose themselves to as much vocabulary – both military and non-military vocabulary – in the weeks and months leading up to the ASVAB test.

  • Synonym-based questions

    Synonyms are words that approximately mean the same as one another. For example: good and nice are synonyms of one another, whereas good and bad are antonyms of one another. You will be asked questions with an underlined word and asked to find its synonym from a list of options. Typically, these questions are framed as, “Clandestine most nearly means:” In this case, you are asked to choose a word from a list of options that most resembles the meaning of the word, clandestine.

  • Contextualized questions

    In contrast, contextual questions test your ability to understand the meaning of a word in each context. Typically, you will be presented with a sentence and one of the words in that sentence will be underlined. You will then be given 4 possible answers and one of those options accurately represents the meaning of the underlined word in that sentence. For example: “We were told that Rebecca was intransigent on the matter.”

You can expect both synonym and contextual questions on your ASVAB Word Knowledge exam.



As exam as it is one of the four subtests used
to calculate your AFQT score!

Test Taking Tips!

To succeed at the ASVAB word knowledge test, candidates must study in the weeks and months leading up to the exam - practicing as many ASVAB test practice questions as possible.

  • 1Read more. Quite simply, the more reading you do, the more exposure you have to a wider range of vocabulary. Vocabulary is not always the most important part. Remember, that context questions are asked too – and you need to have the comprehension skills to understand the meaning of a word within its wider context. Reading, again, helps you hone that skill over the long-term.
  • 2Learn roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Roots, prefixes, and suffixes are the skeletons of words and where those words originated. By learning a couple of dozen roots, prefixes, and suffixes, it harnesses you with the ability to work out the meaning of a word even if you have never seen that word before. Roots, prefixes, and suffixes are an absolute must-study subject to ace the word knowledge exam – and, by creating neat flashcards, you can learn these facts even faster!
  • 3Play games. There are a lot of free apps out there with excellent word games, including Scrabble, where you can – again – become exposed to more vocabulary and words. The more games you play, the greater the exposure you have to even more words and phrases.
  • 4Practice ASVAB word knowledge test questions. The more practice problems you try, the more you acquire the mental skills necessary to identify your strengths and to discover where your weaknesses lie – and to plug those gaps in your knowledge base. Practicing ASVAB questions also lets you know whether you are prepared to take the real thing.
  • 5Practice what you learn. Always be on the lookout for new words and phrases and to be able to put those words and phrases into practice. Use any newly acquired words and phrases in conversation with other people. They will have no idea that is what you are doing, meanwhile you can build and practice your knowledge over the long-term.
  • 6Take a proactive approach. If you come across words and phrases you have never seen before, then have a pen and paper (or mobile tool) ready to jot those phrases down.

How to Pass the ASVAB WORD Knowledge Exam?

At ASVAB Test Practice, we have put together a comprehensive range of thousands of exam-like test questions and practice exams to help you master the ASVAB word knowledge test.