It’s test day – time to take your ASVAB and hopefully get the scores you need to qualify for the military branch and military job of your dreams.

One key to doing well on this challenging exam is to know what to expect before you sit for it. This will help you stay calm and allow you to do your best.

So let’s take a closer look at what test day is like and then we’ll provide some general tips you can use to help ensure the best test performance possible.

What to Expect on Test Day

The ASVAB test can be administered at a school, Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) or at a Military Entrance Test (MET) site, which are often in federal government buildings or National Guard armories or reserve centers.

When you arrive for the test you will need to show valid proof of identification, such as a driver’s license. If you do not have valid ID you will not be allowed to take the exam and will have to reschedule for a later date.

You will take the test either via paper and pencil or on a computer. Testing procedures vary depending on which version of the test you are taking. You will not be allowed to bring any items into the testing room with you. That means no cell phones, no calculators, no water bottles, no snack, no pens, no pencils, no paper, etc.

If you take the test at an MEP location you can expect to also take other required tests for admission into the military, such as vision, hearing, blood and blood pressure tests, pregnancy test (for women), a physical exam, a height and weight check, urinalysis, breathalyzer test and a psychological/background exam.

If you are deemed qualified for military service you can meet with a service counselor. During this time you can enlist and swear or affirm your entrance oath. You do not have to enlist at this time though. Your ASVAB scores will be good for six months if you want to take more time and think about your decision.

Test Day Tips

Don’t be late!
You must arrive on time for your ASVAB test or you will not be allowed to take it. For this reason, be sure you know how to get to the testing location and plan to arrive at least 15-30 minutes early. You may even want to take a practice drive to the location beforehand so you know the route and are aware of any potential traffic issues. Arriving late or feeling rushed can distract you and cause you to perform poorly on the test. Be sure to arrive early so that you are calm and prepared to pass.

Get lots of sleep the night before
It’s better to rest than spend the night cramming for the test. Your recall will be much better when you are well rested as opposed to being tired from staying up all night studying. In fact, a recent study reported at showed that people who got enough sleep the night before performed better on a math test than those who stayed up studying.

Listen closely to instructions
Don’t let your nerves cause you to lose focus. Listen carefully to any instructions before the test and also be sure to read any test instructions before starting. This will help prevent you from making a silly mistake that could damage your score.

Go question by question
Be sure to focus on each question as you come to it. Don’t look ahead and don’t let your mind wander to questions you’ve already answered. If you’re not sure about an answer don’t obsess over it either answer it the best you can or skip over it and come back to it later.

Answer all the questions
Unanswered questions are counted as incorrect so you have nothing to lose by answering each question, even if you are not sure of the answer. When guessing, try to first eliminate answers that are obviously wrong.

Relax, relax, relax
If you find yourself blanking out on something or getting tense during the test, take a few deep breaths and relax. You may even want to wiggle your fingers and toes as this has been shown to help people relax. The more you stress the easier it is to forget something important. You need to stay relaxed during this test to ensure your best performance. Remember, you can take this test again so doing poorly is not the end of the world. Just do your best and see what happens.

Review your work
If you finish early, go back and review the questions you were not sure about. Rereading a question now when you know you have completed that section and are no longer in a rush may be just what you need to provide the correct answer.

Let us know in the comments below if you have any test-taking tips that have worked for you in the past.

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