A lot of people see the “CAT” term attached to the ASVAB test when they first start looking into the test and aren’t sure what that stands for. This term is an acronym and it stands for “Computerized Adaptive Test”. There are three different versions of the ASBAB test. The CAT is available at military processing stations for enlisting soldiers. The pencil and paper (also known as the P&P or S-ASVAB) version of the test is available for high school and college students who may not actually enlist. The third type of ASVAB test is the MET-ASVAB, or Mobile Examination Test, which is available only for enlisted soldiers at mobile testing centers (this test is also done with paper and pencil).
There are a few significant differences in the CAT test compared to the P&P version of the test in particular. First, the number of questions differs. The CAT test has less questions, with a grand total of 145 while the pencil and paper version of the test has 225 questions. This is due to the CAT being an adaptive test.
What’s an adaptive test?
The adaptive test is exactly what it sounds like, a test that adapts to the test taker. Questions in each section range in difficulty, and based on the test taker’s answers, the question types and difficulties adjust with each answer. This type of test allows for a greater level of accuracy in evaluating a prospect’s abilities. For the most part, correct answers beget more difficult questions while wrong answers will reduce the difficulty of proceeding questions.
What happens if I don’t finish the CAT-ASVAB test?
The vast majority of people who take the CAT-ASVAB test finish it as the time constraints are not very aggressive. However, if a respondent isn’t able to finish in time, the remaining unanswered questions are scored as if the respondent had answered them randomly. This is obviously not an ideal way to finish up the test and most often results in even poorer scores.
CAT-ASVAB test sections, number of questions and time limits
- General Science. 16 questions. 8 minutes.
- Arithmetic Reasoning. 39 questions. 16 minutes.
- Word Knowledge. 16 questions. 8 minutes.
- Paragraph Comprehension. 11 questions. 22 minutes.
- Mathematics Knowledge. 16 questions. 20 minutes.
- Electronics Information. 16 questions. 8 minutes.
- Automotive Information. 11 questions. 7 minutes.
- Shop Information. 11 questions. 6 minutes.
- Mechanical Comprehension. 16 questions. 20 minutes.
- Assembling Objects. 25 questions. 15 minutes.