Chapter 4

Arithmetic Reasoning: Solving Word Problems with Math

The Arithmetic Reasoning subtest on the ASVAB measures your ability to pull information from word problems and solve mathematical concepts in real-world situations. Like the Mathematics Knowledge subtest, it formulates a big part of your AFQT score, and it’s also used to help determine which jobs you’ll be most suited for when you’re in the military.

This subtest requires you to read a word problem, figure out what mathematical concept it’s asking you to use, and arrive at the correct answer. It includes questions that involve fact-finding, algebra, and geometry. You’ll have to use your reasoning skills to cut through unnecessary information, choose which type of math to use, and find the right answers. You have 39 minutes to work through 16 Arithmetic Reasoning questions on the computerized ASVAB or 36 minutes to complete 30 questions on the paper ASVAB. Calculators are not allowed.

The Questions You’ll Work On

You’ll find three types of questions on the Arithmetic Reasoning subtest:

  • Algebra: The algebra questions on this subtest deal with unknown variables. It’s your job to figure out what the question is asking before you calculate the answer.
  • Geometry: These questions ask you to solve for circumference, area, volume, and similar values. They also include distance and several other geometry concepts.
  • Fact-finding: Fact-finding questions ask you to read through a word problem and find specific facts; they include ...

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