If you are a high school or post high school student interested in joining the United States Military, you will first have to take the military version of an entrance exam. The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, also known as the ASVAB. This exam will test your math skills among other topics. The kicker, you are NOT allowed to use a calculator


What? No Calculator?

Many potential recruits are thrown off by this concept. Living in today’s modern age, where everything is a smart-phone app or computer click away, the idea of doing math without a calculator may seem preposterous

But in fact, this is a genius step on behalf on the military testers. You see, they are not looking to see if you can regurgitate information you have learned over the course of your high school and perhaps college schooling. Instead they are trying to test the knowledge, comprehension, and inference skills you have picked up along the way

In the military, they are not interested if you can push a few buttons to get a response. Instead they want to see if you can reason your way through a potentially simple, and even some difficult problems. For this reason, instead of providing complicated math questions that can be solved with the push of a button, they provide you with a mix of simple and complex math reasoning problems that require you to think and work out a strategy for solving each concept

How This Helps You

If you are a dedicated student, motivated to achieve your military career dreams, then you will likely prepare for the non-calculator style ASVAB questions. You are reading this after all, aren’t you?

In your preparation you should plan to do many practice problems similar to those you will be tested on during the actual ASVAB exam. In studying these problems you should learn, not only how each question type can be solved, but also a good non-calculator approach

The more practice problems you try, the more concepts you will learn. Over time you will start to develop a strategy that will help you circumvent the electronic solution requirement, and instead give you the skills an confidence to tackle any math problem the military can throw your way. But not only will this practice style help you with your math skills, you may find that this style of studying also helps improve your score in the other tested areas as well. After all, who says developing a critical and analytical mind is only limited to one section?