The ABCs of the ASVAB

Arithmetic Reasoning Sample Questions

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

There are two types of Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB Tests) that you can take with a recruiter. The questions are similar but the written test is longer than the computerized test.

Computerized Test Format

Most recruits will take the Computer Adapted Test (CAT - ASVAB) when they visit Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS). It lasts about 90 minutes. 

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) – 16 questions in 39 minutes

Written Test Format

The Mobile Examination Test (MET - ASVAB) can be given at any site but must be referred to by a recruiter to take the written test.

  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) – 30 questions in 36 minutes

The other written test format is the Student ASVAB which is given at high schools, vocational schools, or colleges. This test lasts approximately three hours. The Written Arithmetic Reasoning subtest of the ASVAB consists of 30 multiple choice questions, which must be answered in 36 minutes. Below are a few sample questions which are very similar to the actual questions you'll see on the ASVAB:

1. If 1/3 of a 12-foot board is sawed off, how much is left?

(A) 4 feet
(B) 3 feet
(C) 8 feet
(D) 6 feet

2. At a cost of $1.25 per gallon, 15 gallons of gas will cost:

(A) $20.00
(B) $18.75
(C) $12.50
(D) $19.25

3. A student buys a science textbook for $18.00, a math textbook for $14.50, and a dictionary for $9.95. What is the total cost of the books?

(A) $27.95
(B) $42.45
(C) $41.95
(D) $38.50

4. Jack loaned Bob $1,500 at an annual interest rate of 7%. After one year, how much will Bob owe Jack?

(A) $105
(B) $1,500
(C) $1,605
(D) $1,507

5. A 2-ton truck is taxed at a rate of $0.12 per pound. How much is the total tax bill?

(A) $480
(B) $240
(C) $120
(D) $600


1. (C) 2. (B) 3. (B) 4. (C) 5. (A)

The ASVAB tests are designed to measure aptitudes in four domains: Verbal, Math, Science and Technical, and Spatial. The table below describes the content of the ASVAB tests. The tests are presented in the order in which they are administered. 

Test Description Domain

  • General Science (GS) Knowledge of physical and biological sciences Science/Technical
  • Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) Ability to solve arithmetic word problems Math
  • Word Knowledge (WK) Ability to select the correct meaning of a word presented in context and to identify the best synonym for a given word
  • Verbal Paragraph Comprehension (PC) Ability to obtain information from written passages Verbal
  • Mathematics Knowledge (MK) Knowledge of high school mathematics principles Math
  • Electronics Information (EI) Knowledge of electricity and electronics Science/Technical
  • Auto Information (AI) Knowledge of automobile technology
  • Science/Technical Shop Information (SI) Knowledge of tools and shop terminology and practices Science/Technical
  • Mechanical Comprehension (MC) Knowledge of mechanical and physical principles Science/Technical
  • Assembling Objects (AO) Ability to determine how an object will 

For more practice questions, you may wish to pick up a copy of my books, and information from ASVAB Fact Sheet