The Paragraph Comprehension test is the section of the ASVAB that evaluates your ability to understand written materials covering topics such as art, science, history, or politics. There are 15 questions on this portion of the test. You have approximately one minute to spend on each question.
Questions can be grouped into one of three main categories:
- Main Idea Questions: These questions ask you to determine what a paragraph is about. This measures your reading comprehension.
- Fact Questions: At first, you might think it’s easy to determine whether a statement is a fact or an opinion. However, persuasive writers often have a way of making opinions seem like factual statements. In order to be a fact, a statement needs to have supporting evidence or sourcing statements. A fact can’t be disputed.
- Inference Questions: An inference is a conclusion based on observing facts or evaluating statistics. Some of the questions will ask you to make inferences after reading a short paragraph.
Some questions on the Paragraph Comprehension test will involve vocabulary, but this area is primarily the focus of the Word Knowledge section of the test.
Paragraph Comprehension and Your AFQT Score
If you are interested in military enlistment, you will want to pay extra attention to the questions on the Paragraph Comprehension portion of the ASVAB. Scores from this section, along with the results of the Word Knowledge, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Mathematics Knowledge sections, will be used to calculate your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. AFQT scores are expressed as percentile rankings, comparing your results to other servicemen’s. Each branch of the military has different AFQT score requirements for enlistment. AFQT scores can also be a factor in your signing bonus. The higher your AFQT score, the more options you will have in your military career.