ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Study Guide

Mar 17 / Arsheena Mohamed and Anderson Duran
Did you know that you only have about two minutes to answer each question on the Paragraph Comprehension subtest of the ASVAB? 

Well guess what! Each of the five types of Paragraph Comprehension questions has its own specific strategy for helping you choose an answer in about two minutes or less.

Make sure you know how to identify these types of questions so you can answer it with the correct strategy FAST!

In this blog we'll cover everything you need to know to prepare you for test day:

Watch:
ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Strategy

What is the ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Subtest?

The ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension (PC) subtest presents short passages for you to read and then asks questions based on those passages.

The purpose is to gauge your knowledge of language, your ability to critically assess what you read, and your ability to draw conclusions from that information.

How Many Paragraph Comprehension Questions are on the ASVAB Test?

The ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension subtest has 11 questions total. 

How Much Time Do You Have to Answer Each Paragraph Comprehension Question?

The total time allotted for the Paragraph Comprehension subtest is 22 minutes. With 11 total questions, you only have about 2 minutes to answer each question.

Fortunately, we’ve created strategies for each of the various types of PC questions you may see on the ASVAB. The strategies are designed to help you choose a strong answer quickly in order to beat the clock!

What are Some Tips for Answering Paragraph Comprehension Questions?

Read the question first! ASVAB reading comprehension tips and strategies will vary depending on the type of question you have in front of you. By reading the question first, you’ll be able to identify what type of question and strategy you’ll want to move forward with.

In order to do this, you’ll want to make sure you know what those different types of Paragraph Comprehension questions are and the specific test-taking strategy that goes along with each of them.

Types of Paragraph Comprehension Questions on the ASVAB

Remember, always read the question first!

Why? Because each type of Paragraph Comprehension question has its own form of attack. Identifying the type of question in front of you is the first step to choosing the best answer for that question. Here are five types of Paragraph Comprehension questions you might see on the ASVAB: 

Inferencing / Factual Questions

With these types of questions, you'll want to find the answer that is best supported by the passage

1. Read the Question
2. Compare the length of the passage to the length of all the answers. If the answers are shorter, read those first! If they’re about the same, read the passage first.
3. Go through each answer to choose the only one supported by the passage.

**Look out for trick answers! Some answers may be true or common knowledge but at the same time, if it is NOT being supported by the passage, it will be wrong. ONLY USE INFORMATION GIVEN IN THE PASSAGE TO ANSWER.

***Exception Questions
You're looking for the complete opposite: Find the answer that is NOT supported by the passage. There will be three answers that are supported based on the passage. The answer that is not supported is the answer you're looking for!

1. Read the Question
2. Compare the length of the passage to the length of all the answers. If the answers are shorter, read those first! If they’re about the same, read the passage first.
3. Go through each answer and choose the only one NOT SUPPORTED by the passage.

Sequence of Events

The correct answer will be the one that represents the correct chronological order of the events described in the passage. Watch out for words like until, before, after, since, next, finally, etc.

1. Read the Question
2. Go straight to the answers. Underline the first part of each answer.
3. Read the passage. Look for the event that happens first, chronologically.
4. Continue with the next part of each answer until you have found the answer that represents the correct chronological order.

Next Sentence

Look for the answer that best carries the same tone as the passage, continues its main idea, and is a compatible follow up to the last sentence in the passage.

More than one answer may seem fitting but you’re looking for the best one based on the tone, main idea, and the follow up from the last sentence.

1. Read the Question
2. Go straight to the passage. Do not read the answers first.
3. Reread the passage until you have grip on the main idea, tone, and what could follow the last sentence. 
4. Choose the answer that BEST continues the passage.

Tone

Identify the tone that best represents the passage based on its mood, style, and audience. 

1. Read the Question
2. Go straight to the passage. Do not read the answers first.
3. Read the passage.
4. Read the passage again and again. Predict the tone before reading the answer choices.
5. Select the answer that best represents the tone of the passage based on those three points. Again, keep in mind the mood, style, and audience. 

Quote

Select the answer that best represents what the author is trying to say. Idioms and metaphors will represent deeper meanings so beware of answers that are literal interpretations of the quote!

1. Read the Question
2. Go straight to the passage. Do not go to the answers! They are designed to confuse you!
3. Read the passage.
4. Read the passage again and again.
5. Get your own meaning of the quote. Think about what message the author is trying to say to the readers and move forward to the answers only once you have your own meaning.
6. Choose the answer that best matches your meaning. Remember, the answer is not likely to be a literal translation of the quote.

Still Having Trouble Raising your Paragraph Comprehension Score?

There's no way around it: read, read, read! 

The reason you may be struggling with this section of the ASVAB is because the passages could be too advanced for your reading level. Start with lower level paragraph comprehension questions and work your way up. 

When you're not practicing Paragraph Comprehension questions, you can help increase your score just by reading more. Start within your reading level and move up to more advanced literature. 

Want to speed up the process? Audiobooks work just as well! You can use them to read and listen to a book at the same time, giving you an easier time understanding unfamiliar words when they pop up. Or you can listen at the gym, in your car, or while doing chores! 

The major take away
is that a little reading practice everyday will go a long way. 

To start reading more, your public library is a great resource and will give you access to books, audiobooks, and workbooks! In addition, here are a few FREE websites and apps you can use as well: 

ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Practice Test (Free)

Looking for ASVAB questions on paragraph comprehension? Register for this FREE ASVAB practice test to get started. It includes automatic registration to a free weekly ASVAB class! Register below: 
You can also check out the schedule for all ASVAB classes (Hosted by Duran Learning)
Did you know that 8 out of 10 applicants fail the ASVAB on their first try? It's because they aren't prepared. Don't let that be you. 

For a complete ASVAB program that guides you start-to-finish, learn more about the ASVAB All-Access Program here:
👨🏾‍🏫 Reliable guidance, study plans, and help with practice questions from your ASVAB Tutor via text 
🖥 Fun live classes + all the recordings  
📝 Confidence-building with 2500 practice test questions, videos and explanations included

Covers Word Knowledge (WK), Arithmetic Reasoning (AR), Math Knowledge (MK), Paragraph Comprehension (PC), and General Science (GS). 

For more details, text ASVAB Coach Anderson: (567)-698-8867 

ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Quizlet

ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension Quizlet Set:
Strategies for Raising Your Score

Conclusion

So that's the complete guide to studying vocabulary for the ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension test.

For EVERY question, start by reading the question first! Then, move forward based on the type of question you have: 

  • Inferencing/Factual: Find the one answer that is BEST supported by the passage.
    **Exception: Find the one answer that is NOT supported by the passage.
  • Sequence of Events: Find the one answer that represents the correct chronological order of the events described in the passage
  • Next Sentence: Find the one answer that BEST continues the passage’s tone and main idea as a relevant follow-up sentence
  • Tone: Find the one answer that BEST represents the mood, style, and audience of the passage
  • Quote: Find the one answer that BEST represents your understanding of the quote

With all that said, how are you going to change how you study for the ASVAB Paragraph Comprehension? Tell Coach Anderson what you think!Text/Call: (567)-698-8867 
Email: Anderson@DuranLearning.com