ASVAB Math Practice Study Guide: A Battle You Can Win
Between you and me, arithmetic isn’t your strong point. In fact, if you take a moment to think back, math was your worst grade school subject. And now, ASVAB math questions threaten to derail your future military enlistment.
Passing the Arithmetic Reasoning (AR) and Math Knowledge (MK) portions of the ASVAB exam is mandatory. Combined, these sections make up one third of your AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score. Will math once again be your defeat?
Hardly! You’re hard wired to be a soldier, aren’t you? If you want to get your absolute highest ASVAB score on the math section this module will help you gain better understanding of your test questions.
Whether you’ve failed the AR and MK portions of the exam previously, or if you’re worried about your MEPS appointment for the first time, you’ll learn to approach ASVAB mathematics logically and effectively.
ASVAB Mathematics Success: Not A Function Of Memory
A recent study conducted by the University of California found that students who worked to link mathematical concepts together instead of simply trying to memorize the steps did much better. Here’s why:
Rote (sounds like “wrote”) learning (memorizing versus understanding) has long been the standard of primary arithmetic training.
Think back to when you were learning your multiplication tables. Remember how you were taught to recite the table repeatedly? Unfortunately, this learning technique did nothing to promote the actual understanding of multiplication concepts.
Think about it. If you had to multiply 12 times 13 without a calculator, how would you approach solving the problem? If you’re like me, your mind’s eye probably visualized the fact that the answer to 12 multiplied by 13 isn’t found on the multiplication table.
Because the information isn’t committed to memory, you must rely on your understanding of the multiplication concept.
Now, this is not to say that rote learning techniques are never appropriate when it comes to math; I’d argue they are. There are many formulas you’ll need to commit to memory. However, your ASVAB math scores require something more. You must understand mathematic concepts to be successful.
The ASVAB Math Foundation Organizer will help you train yourself to do just that. You’ll learn to improve your ASVAB math problem-solving skills, which in turn will increase your math knowledge and your AFQT score.
Building Blocks Of Your ASVAB Math Success Strategy
Gain better ASVAB math understanding with the following steps:
Part I: Embrace the Basics. Math is foundational, and the mastery of each new concept relies on your understanding of the one before. Take time to fully explore and re-visit the concepts of addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.
Think that’s too simple? Don’t be fooled. These four basic concepts are what you’ll use to solve ASVAB math problems, including everything from the simple to the complex.
Build on the Basics. Recall that sometimes rote learning can help rather than hinder math understanding. In this case, you’ll need to commit the Order of Operations to memory. Always solve ASVAB math equations working from left to right using the popular saying “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.
” You’ve heard it before, but committing it to memory will save you time. Remember: Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction—in that order, from left to right.
Once you’ve reviewed the basics, tackle each ASVAB math question as follows:
- Read the ASVAB math problem thoroughly and slowly. It’s easy to miss steps the first time you read the problem, so be careful not to skip ahead.
- Diagram/illustrate the problem. What do you know? What don’t you know? Make a simple drawing to help visualize the scene of what’s happening in the ASVAB math problem. This might include a diagram, table or list.
- Write out the steps you must take to solve the ASVAB math problem. Identify keywords and use math functions to figure out what is being asked.
- Read the problem over again, slowly. Check to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Be sure that all labels in your diagram make sense. For example, don’t just write the number “50,” be thorough by writing “50 miles per hour.”
- Solve the ASVAB math problem and check your answer.
Use the ASVAB Math Foundation Organizer each time you practice questions in the AR and MK test sections.
ASVAB Math Foundation Organizer Test Drive
So, what happens when you use the ASVAB Math Foundation Organizer to improve your understanding of math problems?
Over the next few days or weeks, you’ll be working to strengthen your knowledge and understanding of the four basic math concepts and the order of operations. However, you can put the new skills you learned in Part II to work right now. Take a look at the following practice ASVAB math word problem:
If the tire of a car rotates at a constant speed of 552 times in one minute, how many times will the tire rotate in half-an-hour?
- Read the ASVAB math problem to yourself or out loud if necessary.
- Next, take out your sheet of paper and sketch out the scene. Draw a diagram, table or make a list of all the important things that are happening. For example, you might list that (a) 552 tire rotations happen in one minute and that (b) there are 30 minutes in one half hour.
- What steps must you take to solve the problem? Confirm your understanding. For example, in order to find out how many times the tire rotates in 30 minutes, you will need to multiply 552 times 30.
- Re-read the problem to make sure you understand what is being asked. Did you miss anything? Did the world “half” cause you to consider dividing any numbers in your list by 2?
- Solve and answer check. 552 x 30 = 16,560. Why is your answer correct? Because 16,560 (tire rotations) divided by 30 (minutes in a half hour) equals 552 (rotations per minute).
The more you practice ASVAB math questions with the ASVAB Math Foundation Organizer, the more confident (and less math phobic) you will be.
Remember, those who rely solely on memorized math formulas are trapped by the limitations of what they already know. You, on the other hand, now have the tools you need to approach each ASVAB math problem with a focus on understanding.
With a renewed strategy to tackle the Arithmetic Reasoning or Math Knowledge ASVAB math sections, get ready to enlist!
The Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) exam is an aptitude test that’s used to determine an applicant’s eligibility to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.