Questions on the Word Knowledge portion of the ASVAB measure your vocabulary. The words on the test are ones that you would encounter as part of a typical high school curriculum, such as “legible” or “ejected.” The words are used in sample sentences in order to better help you understand the context of the definition you should provide.
The Word Knowledge test is especially important if you are planning to use your score for military enlistment. The Word Knowledge results, along with you scores for Paragraph Comprehension, Arithmetic Reasoning, and Mathematics Knowledge, are used to calculate your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. There are minimum AFQT score requirements for each branch of the military.
Improving Your Vocabulary
As you might expect, avid readers tend to do best on the Word Knowledge portion of the test simply because they encounter a wider variety of words in their daily lives. You don’t need to be reading classic literature, either. Even reading the daily newspaper or your favorite sports magazine will help you build your vocabulary. You will want to be cautious when reading online materials, however. The spelling and grammar used in blogs and online forums is often not the formal English that you are expected to know for the Word Knowledge test.
When you are reading, keep a dictionary by your side. If you encounter a word you do not know, take the time to look it up. If you’re near a computer, you can make this process even easier by using an online dictionary that will provide the definition, alternative meanings, antonyms (words with an opposite meaning), and synonyms (words that mean the same thing).
There are practice test questions for all portions of the exam, readily available online, including questions for the Word Knowledge test. Completing these questions can make you more comfortable with the general structure of the ASVAB, although you will want to keep in mind that these questions are examples only. There is no way to predict exactly which words you will need to know on exam day.