ASVAB Test Blog

Apr 25th, 2022

Is a calculator allowed during the ASVAB exam?

is a calculator allowed during the asvab exam

Is a calculator allowed during the ASVAB exam?

Calculators are not permitted to be used during the ASVAB exam.

This is true irrespective of whether you are taking the computerized or the P&P formats of the ASVAB exam.

Approximately 20 percent of ASVAB test questions are math or arithmetic related.

For examiners, it’s important to establish whether you have the critical thinking skills to work through problems without external assistance. For this reason, you are only permitted a pen and paper to work through math problems.

A calculator allowed during the ASVAB exam would also create serious competency questions. Let’s not forget that some calculators are more sophisticated than others. Many include the ability to perform more complex operations, such as algebra. This would make it impossible for examiners to determine which candidates possess logical reasoning skills and which candidates are reliant on having the work done for them by computer devices.

If anything, this would mean that examiners would have to allow every candidate to have a calculator, or none – and clearly no calculator is a better solution to learn which candidates are more equipped at solving math compared to others.

Ultimately, the ASVAB exam is supposed to cause problems – not ease them!

Each year, candidates ask the question of whether they can use calculators during the ASVAB exam – and many candidates even bring calculators to the exam, only for invigilators to remove them before the exam is about to start.

Math and ASVAB Line Scores

Math is critical to many ASVAB line scores.

For instance: in the US Army MOS scores; Math Knowledge is a core subject for roles in the following divisions:

  • Clerical
  • Field Artillery
  • General Maintenance
  • Skilled Technical

That’s four out of ten army MOS categories!

We see the same kind of spread in the navy, marines, air force, and coast guard.

Remember: math is not just the reserve of the Math Knowledge exam. It is also highly represented on the Electronics Information test; the Mechanical Comprehension test; Arithmetic Reasoning; and even some aspects of the Automotive and Shop Information test.

What else do I not need to bring to the exam?

Nor do candidates even need to bring pencil/pens and paper to the exam.

This is provided for you.

Again, many candidates each year continue to bring their own pen/pencils and paper. Like the calculator, it’s not necessary. ASVAB test administrators have done the work for you, and all you need to do is turn up for the exam with the knowledge and skill needed to succeed. Administrators will provide you with the right type of pencil, so that the reading machines can correctly read and interpret the results.

That said, you should always have scratch paper with you. You don’t want to waste time trying to secure more scratch paper if time is running out during the exam. Better to secure a sufficient stash of paper at the start of the exam, and even if you have leftover paper, that’s okay. The same principle applies to taking ASVAB test practice questions in preparation for the exam.

Practicing ASVAB math questions

The more ASVAB math questions you practice, the better.

Be sure that you do not use a calculator. If you become dependent on a calculator in preparation for the exam, you won’t develop the critical thinking skills to work problems through on the day of your exam.

Get used to not using a calculator to solve ASVAB test practice questions.

Take our free math practice test here (and don’t use a calculator!):

Even though a calculator is not allowed during the ASVAB exam, this is for your benefit in the long-term. Only the very best candidates will make it through, who demonstrate a clear ability to work through both math and arithmetic problems with the kind of logical reasoning skills that examiners search for.

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