Math on the ASVAB

Four individuals taking a testSince On Your Guard has been talking about STEM careers all summer, with mathematics the focus for September, we thought we’d dedicate this week’s post to math on the ASVAB.

ASVAB stands for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, and all National Guard applicants take the test to help figure out which military occupational specialties best match their academic strengths.

So … are you a whiz with numbers or do your palms turn sweaty at the mere sight of a word problem?

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter how you answer that question because, either way, it’s a good idea to do some advanced prep before you take the test.

First, learn what math concepts are included on the test (keep reading for that). And second, practice (you can find tons of free sample problems online or consider purchasing one of the many test prep books on the market).

What’s on the Test?

There are two math sections on the ASVAB: Arithmetic Reasoning and Mathematics Knowledge.

Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) – All the questions on this subtest are word problems. If you take the computer-based test, you will be asked to solve 16 word problems in 39 minutes. If you go to a location and take the pencil and paper version, you will be asked to solve 30 word problems in 36 minutes.

The math concepts being tested in the AR section include:

  • Basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication)
  • Speed/time/distance calculations
  • Percentages
  • Ratio and proportion
  • Interest (simple and compound)
  • Numbers (whole, real, fractions, decimals, and imaginary)

If you are still in high school (or are a recent grad), you’re probably pretty familiar with word problems by now, thanks to the new Common Core curriculum. If not, here are a few tips from McGraw Hill for tackling a word problem:

  • Read the problem all the way to the end before starting any calculations.
  • Look for key words (more than, reduced by, product, divided into equal groups) to learn what mathematical operation(s) to use.
  • List the important information given in the problem and eliminate the unnecessary details that do not help you solve it.
  • Draw pictures and graphics if that helps you to understand what’s being asked.
  • Create an equation from the info you’ve pulled and solve the problem.

Mathematics Knowledge (MK) – This subtest is designed to evaluate your grasp of high school math. If you take the computer-based test, you will have to solve 16 questions in 18 minutes. If you go to a location and take the pencil and paper version, you will solve 25 questions in 24 minutes. Since that’s about a problem per minute, you’ll need to be both accurate and quick.

The math concepts being tested in the MK section are more advanced than the AR section and include:

  • Algebraic equations
  • Geometry concepts, like circumference, angles and area
  • Adding/subtracting fractions with different denominators
  • Prime numbers
  • Factoring
  • Reciprocals
  • Factorials
  • Exponents

That’s it. From all of us at On Your Guard … practice hard and good luck!

P.S. During study breaks, you can learn more about math careers in the Army National Guard  by checking out our STEM Career Guide, visiting our jobs board, and contacting a recruiter.

 

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STEM in the Guard: A Focus on Math

This summer, during the first week of every month, we’ve been taking a closer look at Army National Guard careers in each of the four STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and math. Why? Because these jobs are in demand, both in the Guard and in the civilian workforce. Candidates with expertise in these fields are needed right now and well into the foreseeable future. In fact, the U.S. Department of Commerce predicts that STEM opportunities will increase by 17 percent over the next three years.

We conclude this summer series today, with Part 4 … mathematics.

STEM_MathematicsDo you like to crunch numbers? Are you masterful at solving puzzles, seeing patterns, and understanding formulas? Are you always on the move and searching for a new challenge?

If so, a career in mathematics may be a smart choice for your future. Selecting one of the Guard’s many math-oriented military occupational specialties (MOS) would also be a smart choice, for three important reasons:

  • The skills you learn in the Guard will give you a head start on qualifying for civilian positions like market research, financial management, air traffic control, operations research, statistical analysis, intelligence, electronics, and more.
  • As with most Guard careers, your service is part-time, so you can earn a degree and/or work in that civilian job at the same time.
  • Finally, the Guard offers money for college and other great benefits like healthcare and life insurance.

Just as important, the National Guard’s math specialists are charged with vital missions. Some manage air traffic control services. Others use mathematical models and analytical techniques to solve complex problems. And then there are those who break codes and use statistics to predict situations and possible outcomes.

The following are just a few of the Guard’s mathematics positions. Click the links to view nationwide job openings and read a more detailed description for each MOS.

13D Field Artillery Technical Data System Specialist – Operates the tactical data systems that launch rockets; determines target locations using computers and/or manual calculations

15Q Air Traffic Control Operator – Provides the precision-oriented takeoff and landing instructions needed to ensure flawless, safe aircraft operations

35N Signals Intelligence Analyst – Intercepts and analyzes foreign communications, as well as relays intelligence reports regarding combat, strategic, and tactical intelligence information

36B Financial Management Technician – Performs a wide array of budgeting, disbursing, and accounting duties, including computing payroll, auditing financial records, and preparing payments for various types of transactions

If you aren’t sure which of these math-based career paths is best for you, don’t worry. One way to narrow it all down is to take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. All Guard applicants take the ASVAB to help align their strengths with the military occupational specialties that best capitalize on those skills.

To learn more about STEM careers in the National Guard, check out our STEM Career Guide, visit our jobs board, and contact a recruiter today.

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STEM in the Guard: A Focus on Science

STEM_ScienceThe U.S. Department of Commerce has predicted that by 2018, occupations that rely on proficiency in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) will grow by 17 percent, much faster than the growth that’s anticipated for non-STEM jobs.

Over the last few years, the Federal Government has been actively encouraging schools, employers, and Government agencies to bolster interest in STEM. The Department of Defense (DoD), including the Army National Guard, is no exception.

The Guard offers military occupational specialties (MOS) in all four of these fast-growing disciplines that translate directly into civilian careers. One of the advantages of pursuing a STEM occupation in the Guard is that your military service is only part-time. That gives Soldiers the freedom to attend college or work full-time, plus the Guard offers money for college and other great benefits like affordable healthcare.

Over the summer, during the first week of every month, On Your Guard will take a closer look at Guard careers in each of the four STEM disciplines.

First up: Science

Science jobs in the Guard require an interest in fields like biology, chemistry, or medicine. An aptitude for solving problems, logical thinking, and good math skills are also very helpful. Here are some of the specific military occupational specialties available in science (click to view nationwide job openings and read a more detailed description):

12Y Geospatial Engineer – Using satellite imagery, aerial photography, and field reconnaissance, these engineers collect, analyze, and distribute data to assist with missions.

74D Chemical Operations Specialist – These specialists handle chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear detection and decontamination equipment.

92L Petroleum Lab Specialist – Soldiers who specialize in this job analyze fuel, oil, and grease for purity and quality to keep vehicles moving.

94H Test, Measurement, and Diagnostic Equipment (TMDE) Maintenance Support Specialist – Guard equipment needs to be ready to go at any time; therefore, these specialists calibrate and repair measurement and diagnostic equipment, ranging from aircraft and weather instruments to weapon-aiming devices.

The medical field also needs Soldiers who have an aptitude for science. If that’s the kind of work that’s more up your alley, here’s a listing of Guard medical services careers to explore:

68A Medical Equipment Repairer

68D Operating Room Specialist

68E Dental Specialist

68G Patient Administrator Specialist

68H Optical Laboratory Specialist

68J Medical Logistics Specialist

68K Medical Laboratory Specialist

68M Nutrition Care Specialist

68P Radiology Specialist

68Q Pharmacy Specialist

68S Preventive Medicine Specialist

68V Respiratory Specialist

68W Health Care Specialist

68X Mental Health Specialist

If you feel a bit overwhelmed trying to figure out which of these career paths is best for you, don’t fret. One way to narrow it all down is the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. The ASVAB is administered to all Guard applicants. It’s designed to help applicants determine their strengths and match them to an MOS that capitalizes on those skills.

To learn more about STEM careers in the National Guard, check out our STEM Career Guide, visit our jobs board, and contact a recruiter today.

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