How to Ace ASVAB Arithmetic

ASVAB Arithmetic Reasoning is one of the four ASVAB sections that factor into your AFQT (Armed Forces Qualifying Test) score. In order to do well, you need to practice doing arithmetic calculations in your head or on paper, quickly. Follow the advice below to ace the ASVAB arithmetic section.

First, memorize times tables and make sure you can do long division quickly in your head or on paper. On the ASVAB, it is extremely helpful to know the times table up to 20x20.

Practice doing problems with short cut estimations. For example, suppose a problem asks "The price of a $243 TV is reduced by 18%, what is the new price?" and the choices are $180.73, $185.50, $199.26, $210.52.

An easy way to do this problem is to round 243 up to 250, and 18 up to 20. Then compute 20% off of $250, which is $200. Since $199.26 is the choice closest to 200, this is the correct answer. This takes a lot less time than multiplying out (243)(1-0.18) = 199.26.

Another example: "If 1 inch equals 2.54 cm, how many meters high is an 88 inch tall wall?" Choices: (A) 2.24, (B) 2.08, (C) 1.83, (D) 1.64.

Round 2.54 down to 2.5, and round 88 up to 90. Since 2.5 times 90 is 225 cm, the correct answer must be A, 2.24 meters.

Always practice the ASVAB arithmetic section under timed conditions. Even if you know how to do the problems, you can get a low score if you don't finish the test, or have to guess on all the problems at the end. The faster you can do easy problems, the more time you can spend on difficult problems.

Try to finish the ASVAB arithmetic section with about 2-3 minutes to spare. Use this spare time to go back and double check your work, especially questions that you may have been stuck on. By catching simple errors, you can get a higher score on the ASVAB and AFQT.

(NOTE: This only applies if you are taking the paper-based version of the ASVAB. On the computerized version, you cannot go back to previous questions.)

Be sure to answer every question, even if you have to guess! A blank answer counts as wrong.

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