U.S Coast Guard ASVAB Tests

Prepare for the U.S Coast Guard recruitment process with tailor-made practice materials.

The United States Coast Guard was established in 1790 to protect the US from all maritime threats. The Coast Guard is responsible for around 95,000 miles of coastline as well as US waters and there are more than 50,000 members covering many different career areas.

You can enlist through the US Coast Guard Academy, which is a top military college based in New London, Connecticut. Through your studies, you will have the opportunity to gain a Bachelor of Science degree and become an Ensign in the Coast Guard when you graduate.

Direct entry is also available, and you can choose from some different career paths, including:

  • Aviation Maintenance Technician
  • Aviation Survival Technician
  • Boatswain's Mate
  • Culinary Specialist
  • Damage Controlman
  • Diver
  • Storekeeper
  • Yeoman
  • Maritime Enforcement Specialist

What Is The Coast Guard ASVAB Test?

As with other branches of the US military, your eligibility for a role in the Coast Guard depends on your performance in a test called the ASVAB.

The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) is an aptitude test that is taken at a MEPS center, and it includes nine different sections looking at different cognitive abilities and competencies.

The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) is made up of four sections from the ASVAB, and it is this score that will decide if you have what it takes to join the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard Recruitment Process

To enlist as a coast guard, you need to complete a basic application form called a Prospect Questionnaire, and you will need to meet the eligibility requirements, which include:

  • Age 17-41
  • US Citizen if a lawful permanent resident
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Meet the physical fitness standards
  • Achieve a minimum score of 36 on the ASVAB AFQT.

What To Expect In The Coast Guard ASVAB Test

There are ten sections in the ASVAB. Four of these sections (Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Mathematics Knowledge) are the scores that are used to create the overall AFQT. For many branches of the military you need to score at least 31 in the AFQT for consideration, but if you want to enlist with the Coast Guard in any of the available roles, you need to score at least 36.

Here is what each section of the ASVAB covers:

General Science

8 Minutes - 15 questions.

The questions in general science are based on your scientific knowledge, based on the principles you will have learned in school. This will include things like physical science, life science and space.

Arithmetic Reasoning

39 Minutes - 15 Questions.

These are math-based questions, but they will be written as word problems, and you will need to use basic mathematical operations to answer them.

This section is part of the AFQT.

Word Knowledge

15 Minutes - 8 Questions.

This is about your knowledge of words and their meanings, and to assess this you might need to find the missing word in a sentence or find the appropriate synonym or antonym from the multiple-choice options listed.

This section is part of the AFQT.

Paragraph Comprehension

22 Minutes - 10 Questions.

In this section, you will be given a passage of text that you need to read and answer questions about. The answer will be in the text, so you will need to be able to analyze the information to choose the right option from the multiple-choice list given.

This section is part of the AFQT.

Mathematics Knowledge

20 Minutes - 15 Questions.

This section is based on the high school math syllabus and will evaluate your ability to solve math problems in the same way you would have done at school. Essentially, this is a math test based on elements of the Common Core curriculum.

This section is part of the AFQT.

Electronics Information

8 Minutes - 15 Questions.

As the name suggests, this is a test that evaluates your understanding of electronics, circuits, and current, as well as other electric-related principles. You'll need to have some understanding of the way that electronic systems work.

Auto & Shop Information

7 Minutes - 10 Questions.

This section of the test is evaluating your knowledge of automobile repair as well as the different tools and techniques used in a shop. You might be asked questions about common practices, or to recognize certain tools and terminology.

Mechanical Comprehension

20 Minutes - 15 Questions.

In this section of the ASVAB, you are being assessed on your understanding of the way mechanical items work, using common appliances and applications. You will need to know about things like structural support and the properties of materials, as well as basic physics principles like force and acceleration.

Assembling Objects

40 Minutes - 15 Questions

This part of the test is about your ability to visualize and manipulate 2D and 3D images in space and evaluates your spatial reasoning. You will need to be able to translate a description to picture what something would look like when assembled.

Verbal Expression (subtests)

The verbal expression section of the ASVAB is designed to evaluate a candidate's ability to comprehend and convey complex information, which is essential for the diverse and challenging roles within the Coast Guard. The Verbal Expression test consists of two subtests: Word Knowledge and Paragraph Comprehension, both of which are timed and multiple-choice.

Top Tips To Pass Coast Guard Tests

Know what role you want

There are many roles in the Coast Guard and many different ways to get started on your career - and the best thing that you can do if this is your aim is to speak to a recruiter.

The recruiter will become your main point of contact through the recruitment process, including for the ASVAB, and they will be able to help you decide on the best career path for you with the Coast Guard.

Practice tests

Aptitude tests are challenging, especially if you have not taken the time to practice beforehand. Using relevant practice tests will help you get used to the test structure and the content of the questions, and you can use your practice test results to create a study guide so that you can revise well.

Make sure that you treat practice tests like the real thing - including time limits and no distractions - because this is the most effective way to build familiarity.


From your practice test results, you will be able to see if there are any areas where your knowledge is lacking or where you might consider a weakness to be. These should be the areas that you focus your revision on when you are creating your study plan - remember, you will only need high school level skills to answer the questions on the ASVAB, but the recruiters want to see the potential and aptitude that you have in the different cognitive areas.

Self-care and fitness

Testing is nerve-wracking, and you need to prepare yourself mentally and physically for what is to come. You'll need to complete the MEPS on the same day, so make sure that you are well rested, that you have fueled yourself with a healthy meal, and that you stay hydrated.

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U.S Coast Guard ASVAB Tests FAQs

Is the Coast Guard Assessment hard?

The Coast Guard Assessment is designed to be challenging enough to separate applicants in several different ways. The test filters out those who don't meet the standards to join any branch of the military (AFQT), as well as suggests the best career paths based on aptitude. This means that if you have not practiced, you might struggle to achieve the score you need to get started on the career you are interested in.

What happens if I fail?

If you fail the ASVAB, or you don't get the score that you require for the career path that you are interested in, your recruiter will discuss your options. You can retake the test but it might be worth reconsidering your career trajectory if you are struggling to get the score you need.

What score do I need to get to be considered for the Coast Guard?

To be considered for enlistment in the Coast Guard, you need to score at least 36 on the AFQT. The score needed to become an Officer is higher; if this is something that you are interested in, then speak to your recruiter.

How do I improve my score on the Coast Guard Assessment?

The best way to improve your score on the Coast Guard Assessment is to practice. You'll get familiar with the test format and structure, as well as the content of the test, and you will be able to use your results to choose how best to revise to improve your score.