How Much Does the ASVAB Cost? Complete Guide and Breakdown

by | Joining the Military | 1 comment

Thinking about joining the military? One of the first steps is taking the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. This crucial exam determines your eligibility and helps identify the best job roles for you within the military. But before you jump into study guides and practice tests, you’re probably wondering about the cost.

The good news is, the ASVAB test is free for anyone looking to enlist. Whether you’re taking it at your high school, at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS), or at a Mobile Examining Team (MET) site, you won’t have to pay a dime. This means you can focus entirely on preparing for the test without worrying about the financial burden.

Understanding the ASVAB Test

What Is the ASVAB?

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is a multi-aptitude test battery used to evaluate candidates for enlistment in the U.S. military. Created in 1968, it’s used by all military branches, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The test includes nine subtests covering subjects such as Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, and Mechanical Comprehension.

Purpose and Importance

The ASVAB serves dual purposes. First, it determines if you meet the basic qualifications for enlistment. Second, it helps in assessing your strengths and aptitudes in various skill areas, which is crucial for matching you with appropriate Military Occupational Specialties (MOS). High scores can open up more job opportunities within the military, making it essential for those aiming for roles requiring specific skills.

ASVAB Testing Formats and Locations

Understanding the various formats and locations where you can take the ASVAB helps you plan effectively for your military career. The ASVAB test is available in two primary formats, each with unique features that may suit your preferences and needs.

Computer-Administered ASVAB

The computer-administered ASVAB, or CAT-ASVAB, offers adaptive testing, meaning the difficulty of questions adjusts based on your responses. This format is primarily available at Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS).

  • Adaptive Nature: Each question’s difficulty is determined by your previous answers, providing a tailored test experience.
  • Time Efficiency: CAT-ASVAB typically requires less time than the paper version, usually taking about 1.5 hours.
  • Immediate Scores: You receive scores immediately after completion, crucial for timely enlistment processing.
  • Location: Available mainly at MEPS, ensuring accessibility for those near these centers.

Paper-Administered ASVAB

The paper-administered ASVAB, known as P&P-ASVAB, is often provided at satellite locations and schools. This traditional format offers a different testing experience that some may find more comfortable.

  • Standardized Questions: All test-takers receive the same questions, with no adaptation to individual performance.
  • Duration: Usually takes about 3 hours to complete, requiring patience and steady pacing.
  • Delayed Scores: Scores are processed manually, typically taking a few days to be available.
  • Convenient Locations: Offered in various schools and military facilities, making it widely accessible.

By understanding these formats and their respective locations, you can choose the ideal testing method that aligns with your needs and circumstances.

Cost Analysis of Taking the ASVAB

Analyzing the costs associated with taking the ASVAB can help you understand the financial aspects of this important test. While the ASVAB is free for those enlisting, other factors may contribute to the overall expenses.

Typical Costs Associated

Taking the ASVAB itself is free. If you’re considering enlisting in the military, there are no fees for the test. But, other costs might arise indirectly. For instance, preparation materials such as study guides, online courses, and practice tests, which can range between $10 to $50 per resource, can add to your expenses. Also, traveling to the test site might incur costs, especially if it’s located far from your home. Planning for these potential expenses ensures you are fully prepared for the overall process.

Item Cost Range
Study Guides $10 – $30
Online Courses $20 – $50
Practice Tests Free – $20
Travel Varies by Distance

Variations by Location and Provider

Costs can vary depending on your location and the provider of prep materials. Urban areas tend to offer more accessible and possibly more expensive resources, while rural areas might have limited options. For example, an online prep course in New York City might cost $50, whereas a similar one in a smaller town could be $20 due to lower overhead costs. Also, different publishers and educational services offer ASVAB prep materials at varying prices, impacting your budget. To get the best value, compare different providers and choose what fits your needs and financial constraints.

Additional Costs and Considerations

The ASVAB test itself may be free, but there are often other costs. Understanding these can help you plan better.

Study Material and Preparation Classes

Preparation materials and classes don’t come cheap. Study guides, online courses, and practice exams cost between $10 and $200. Official ASVAB practice tests and books, especially the ones by Kaplan and The Princeton Review, are reliable options. But, higher-end tutoring services like Mometrix cost more. You might also consider local community colleges or adult education centers offering ASVAB prep classes.

Resource Type Price Range
Study Guides $10 – $40
Online Courses $50 – $120
Practice Exams Free – $30
Tutoring Services (e.g., Mometrix) $50 – $200

Retest Policies

Retaking the ASVAB involves specific rules. You can retake the test after one calendar month if you’re not satisfied with your score, and a second retest requires another month. But, after the second retest, you must wait six months for additional retakes. While retesting itself is free, each retake could mean additional travel expenses and time off from work or school. Hence, it’s best to prepare thoroughly before taking the test again.


Understanding the costs associated with the ASVAB is crucial for anyone considering a military career. While the test itself is free, additional expenses like study materials and travel can add up. Preparation is key, and investing in quality resources can make a significant difference in your performance. Remember, retake policies allow for multiple attempts, but each comes with its own set of costs and time commitments. By planning ahead and budgeting for these expenses, you’ll be better positioned to achieve your desired Military Occupational Specialty and succeed in your military career.


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