Mechanical Comprehension

The Mechanical Comprehension section of the ASVAB exam is not one of the four sections used to calculate the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score that determines your basic eligibility for enlistment. However, scores from this section are used to create Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) scores that determine aptitude and eligibility for training in specific career fields. Some of the military career areas that require high scores on the Mechanical Comprehension section of the test include combat operations, mechanical maintenance, and surveillance and communications.

There are 25 questions on the Mechanical Comprehension portion. You have 19 minutes to complete the section, which means you must work fairly quickly. The Mechanical Comprehension test measures your ability to solve simple mechanics problems and understand basic mechanical principles. Questions deal with topics such as how to:

  • Calculate PSI
  • Measure the mass of an object
  • Identify simple machines
  • Define words such as velocity, momentum, acceleration, and force

Having a good intuitive understanding of mechanics will help you do well on this portion of the test, but you must still know how the vocabulary and formulas used in mechanics are applied to practical scenarios. There are online study guides and practice-test questions to help you prepare for the Mechanical Comprehension section. Studying these resources will help you get a better idea of the format of the questions you will encounter. Timing yourself while taking practice tests is a good idea, since this will tell you if you are working at the correct speed to finish the section in time.

When preparing for the Mechanical Comprehension test, remember that many of the problems require basic mathematics skills. You will need to know how to divide, work with decimals, and multiply two digit numbers in order to solve some types of questions. The Arithmetic Reasoning section of the ASVAB is specifically designed to measure math skills, but there is still a fair amount of overlap between sections.