Written by Fernando Cardona & Eloisa Thomas
One of the biggest reasons many people fail to qualify for military service is a poor ASVAB score. Luckily, with proper training, you can be a successful applicant and start the military career of your dreams. Here are my top recommendations, after a decade of training thousands of students to prepare for the ASVAB.
Why you need a good ASVAB test prep book
Having the right curriculum can be a great first step towards acing your ASVAB test. You probably already know the best your score the higher your chances of qualifying for highly skilled military occupations, so having a good resource to study from is key. While just buying a book isn’t everything, it’s a good overview of what you’ll encounter on the day of your exam.
After almost a decade helping students get the score they need on the ASVAB test, I know the main factor to success is preparing in advance. Thousands of students have crushed their ASVAB goals thanks to a combination of a good curriculum and personalized lessons. I recommend focusing on the problem areas, while also strengthening areas you feel more comfortable with.
Note: Many ASVAB prep books have similar names, I’ve added the ISBN to make them easier to find.
Remember that getting a good score on key subjects is the factor that determines an applicant’s placement in a military specialty
The best books to prepare for the ASVAB tests
Your ASVAB results shouldn’t be left to chance. Choose the right curriculum and start your training on the right foot!
1. McGraw Hill’s ASVAB, Fourth Edition, by Janet E. Wall (ISBN-10: 1259837009)
This book was prepared by a team of examination experts from the Department of Defense. It takes an in-depth look at all topics on the test, from algebra to workshop tools. I recommend this study guide because contains more than 500 practice questions, and it’s available in paperback and electronic versions. This fourth edition also includes 1 complete AFQT sample test.
This book brings 4 complete ASVAB practice tests. They are comprehensive exams, that is, each exam covers the nine areas of the ASVAB. The mock tests also provide an answer key with complete explanations for each question. Additionally, this book will give you insider information on the ASVAB tests, and how to qualify for and pursue a military career.
What I like about it: It offers a good introduction to Military service and career perspectives, as well as 4 practice tests.
2. ASVAB for dummies, by Angie Papple Johnston (ISBN-10: 1119560748)
Like other books from this collection, this guide has everything you need to achieve optimal preparation. The content in ASVAB for dummies emphasizes what to expect on test day, so you can keep a cool head and achieve a better score.
The author, Angie Papple Johnston, has more than a decade in the aviation forces, being a Chemistry, Biology, Radiology, and Nuclear specialist. This book is a bestseller, mainly because it covers all nine subject areas of the ASVAB, including detailed reviews to understand the verbal and mathematical components.
What I like about it: The book has an online component you can access up to 1 year after purchase. This includes practice tests and flashcards you can use online.
3. ASVAB Power Practice by Learning Express (ISBN-10: 1611030013)
I really like this book because it offers a lot of practice on the nine ASVAB thematic tests. I’ve found many students have an easy time using it and skimming to the sections they need to reinforce. Plus, on top of the different sections of the test, it also provides strategies to prepare for the exam, including study time management.
What I like about it: The tips for overcoming test anxiety and information on the range of grades are very helpful. Keep in mind that in the second edition, users have detected some typographical errors.
The ASVAB books you should never buy
While there are many good books to prepare the ASVAB test, in my experience some of them aren’t worth it. Since many of my students don’t have a lot of money to spend on books, it’s better if they focus on quality textbooks.
Through my years coaching students to get the ASVAB score they need, I’ve found the following two books don’t work as well for students. Here are the ASVAB books I don’t recommend:
Kaplan’s ASVAB Prep Plus
This is a fairly popular book, but in my experience, students don’t get much out of it. The content of this book is very similar to the SAT preparation guides. In my opinion, successful ASVAB applicants need targeted practice in the sections specific to the ASVAB test.
While Kaplan’s ASVAB Prep Plus could be used in general areas of knowledge, the differences in the area of mathematics are very marked and I don’t recommend it as your main source of information.
Barron’s Test Prep ASVAB with Online Tests
In the case of this guide, most of the exercises are substantially more complex than the actual ASVAB. In my experience, the mathematical knowledge and arithmetic reasoning sections are unnecessarily complex to get the ASVAB score you need.
Of course, if you already purchased it you can always use it to review the areas of word knowledge and paragraph comprehension. In general, I recommend going with other textbooks to strengthen your math abilities.
My final recommendation
Practice makes perfect. After helping so many applicants improve their ASVAB scores, I know it’s vital to practice the tests beforehand, on top of studying specific sections on its own.
Remember that getting a good score on key subjects is the factor that determines an applicant’s placement in a military specialty. If you feel you need additional help and a more practical guide to passing the ASVAB, feel free to text me at 7872238189 or write an email at [email protected]