ASVAB Exam ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension

Tutorial: ASVAB Mechanical Comprehension Questions.

Mar 30th, 2024
asvab mechanical comprehension questions

Mechanical Comprehension Questions on the ASVAB Exam

The ASVAB mechanical comprehension exam measures an applicant’s understanding of mechanical and physical principles. Approximately half of the questions will be math based, and the other half will test your understanding of basic physical and mechanical principles.

The exam assesses your ability to comprehend and apply concepts related to mechanics, such as basic physics, machinery operation, and mechanical devices.

ASVAB questions on this subtest cover the following topics:

  • Mechanical devices: understanding how basic mechanical devices work such as gears, levers, pulleys, and hydraulic jacks.
  • Mechanical motion: understanding concepts related to motion, such as velocity, acceleration, force, friction, and gravity. An understanding of the basic forces is essential.
  • Fluid mechanics: basic principles of fluid mechanics, including buoyancy, pressure, and hydraulic systems.
  • Thermodynamics: basic concepts of heat transfer, including conduction, convection, and radiation.

Very often the questions on this subtest are mathematical, and that alone can prove very challenging. It can be difficult to predict what type and standard of question will appear, so it is important to be well prepared.

A strong performance on the Mechanical Comprehension subtest indicates an aptitude for mechanical and technical tasks, which are valuable in many military occupations, particularly those related to engineering, mechanics, maintenance, and equipment operation.

If this is the kind of military domain you intend to enlist in, a strong performance in Mechanical Comprehension is essential.

Computerized FormatWritten Test Format
15 questions in 20 minutes25 questions in 19 minutes

In the computerized format, then, you only have an average of 1.3 minutes to answer each question and, on the written test format, only 45-seconds. Not long by any stretch, so it’s imperative that you are well prepared to answer simple mechanical comprehension mathematical questions.

Note that you will not be allowed to bring your calculator into the exam hall.

In the tutorial below, we will review 5 sample ASVAB test practice questions. Take the time to practice each question first, then review the answer explanations below. Compare your method with the correct answer and identify any points where you can improve.

Mechanical Comprehension Tutorial

Answer the following five mechanical comprehension questions.

  • Calculate the density of an aluminum block that has a mass of 500 grams and occupies a volume of 250 cubic centimeters.
  • Whilst throwing a stone, Michael projects a forward force of 35 newtons, pushing the stone a further 4.2 meters. How much work did Michael exert on the stone?
  • Calculate the height of the following incline.
  • If a cyclist applies a force of 180 newtons to maintain a constant velocity of 4 meters per second, what is the power exerted?
  • A hydraulic jack has two cylinders: one with a diameter of 0.5 meters and a second with a diameter of 1 meter. What is the mechanical advantage of this hydraulic jack?

Answer Explanations

Answer to Question 1: 2 g /cm3

To answer this question, we must use the following formula:

                                 Density = Mass / Volume

Density = 500 grams / 250 cubic centimeters

Density = 2 g /cm3

The density of the aluminum block is 2 g/cm3.

Answer to Question 2: 147 Joules

The formula for force in this context is:

                                    Force = Work x Distance


Force = 35 N x 4.2 meters

Force = 147 Joules

Answer to Question 3: 3.4 meters

There are two steps involved when answering this question:

  • Find mechanical advantage.
  • Find height.

Mechanical advantage = Output Force / Input Force

MA = 500 lbs / 50 lbs = 10

With the MA, we can use the following equation to find the height of the incline plane:

Mechanical Advantage = Length of Incline / Height of Incline

10 = 34 / x

10x = 34

x = 34 meters

The height of the incline plane is 3.4 meters.

Answer to Question 4: 720W

The formula for calculating power in this context is:

Power = Force x Velocity

Let’s plug these values into the formula:

                                              Power = 180 Newtons x 4 m/s

                                                          Power = 720 W

720 Watts of power is used when the cyclist applies a force of 180 newtons to maintain a constant velocity of 4 meters per second.

Answer to Question 5: Two

If the left cylinder in a hydraulic jack has a diameter of 0.5 meter and the right cylinder has a diameter of 1 meter, this creates a mechanical advantage of 2 (i.e. 1 / 0.5 = 2).

Improving Mechanical Comprehension Skills

If you didn’t score high, don’t worry too much – that’s normal.

What matters is that you learn from these questions and how to improve your skills going forward. If you are only starting to study this knowledge domain of the ASVAB exam, always start with easier questions first. At least form a strong foundation upon which you can build your knowledge further.

At first glance, mechanical comprehension questions can seem deceptively difficult. But as you can see from the answer explanations, often the answer is remarkably simple. Once you know and understand the basic formulae involved, most of the questions become very manageable. It’s also important that you know the scientific units of each equation. This is essential to ensure you are using the equations correctly.

We hope you found this mechanical comprehension tutorial helpful. Check back to our ASVAB blog in the near future for more exclusive content to help you study and pass the ASVAB test.