Before a recruit can join the armed forces, he must pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or the ASVAB. The ASVAB, which was instituted in all branches of military service in 1976, is designed to test your knowledge and allow the military to better place new recruits into the specialty they’re most suited for. Better scores on the test translate to better jobs down the line, as well as better salaries. To maximize your future job opportunities, prepare for the math section of the ASVAB in advance, as it represents half of your total test score.
Math Prep Classes
The ASVAB is traditionally offered to students in high school after freshman year. Most armed force recruits do well on the test if they've had high school math courses, provided they’ve taken intermediate algebra by their junior year. If you’re planning on taking the ASVAB test without having taken Algebra 2, consider buying an ASVAB test book.
Order of Operations
Algebra is based on the basic order of operations, which will set up most math problems on the test. Remember the phrase “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” The first letter of each word stands for an operation -- parentheses, exponents, multiplication and division and addition and subtraction -- and the order of the words demonstrates the order the operations should be used in.
Many people find word problems on standardized tests challenging. While reading the problem, write down the numbers and variables on the side of the page and double-check your work against the question itself. Reframing the written problem as a math problem can prevent distraction by unnecessary information.
Know Your Test
Depending on where you take your test, you might see one of three different versions of the ASVAB. Most will see the computerized CAT-ASVAB or Student ASVAB at their local testing center. However, students who live abroad or in remote rural areas may sit down to a paper version of the test: the MET-site ASVAB. Knowing in advance what test you’ll be sitting down to can help you mentally prepare for the test ahead. Those who do well on the math section of the ASVAB may be asked to sit for further specialized tests that may help to determine pay grade, bonus structure and military rank.
One of the most important components of test-day power is sleep the night before. Someone who has spent the night before watching TV, hanging out with friends or even cramming is less likely to do well than someone who got a full night’s rest. Prepare well in the weeks leading up to the test, and take the night before test day off to relax and recharge for the long day ahead.
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