What Is a Skilled Technical on the ASVAB?

by Liz Frazier
Many high school students are offered the opportunity to take the ASVAB.

Many high school students are offered the opportunity to take the ASVAB.

Skilled Technical is an Army line score for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). The ASVAB test is made of nine sub-tests, and line scores reflect the total scores for specific groups of sub-tests. For example, the Skilled Technical line score is the sum of the general science, verbal expression, mathematical knowledge and mechanical comprehension scores. High ST line scores are required for enlistees interested positions such as aviation operations specialist, civil affairs specialist or information systems operator.

General Science

This section tests basic knowledge in the life, earth and physical sciences. Some key topics covered include nutrition, the human body, genetics, geology, astronomy, physics and chemistry. A review of basic high-school science textbooks should help you earn a strong score.

Word Knowledge

Upon entering the Army, soldiers have to absorb huge amounts of written information quickly and accurately. For this reason, the word knowledge and paragraph comprehension scores ( which are combined together to create the verbal expression score) are weighted double in the Armed Forces Qualification Score (AFQT), which determines overall eligibility for acceptance into military service. The key to scoring well on the word knowledge portion of the test is to build up the vocabulary by reading books and magazines as much as possible and always keeping a dictionary nearby. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) vocabulary flash cards are also helpful.

Paragraph Comprehension

The paragraph comprehension section tests the enlistee's ability to read a passage, recall relevant information and then answer questions on the passage. As with the word knowledge sub-test, the best preparation is reading. Reading comprehension is like a muscle: its ability withers away without practice. SAT verbal test prep guides can help build reading comprehension skills.

Mathematical Knowledge

Most technical trades require a solid foundation in mathematics. The mathematical knowledge sub-test draws upon math skills learned in middle school and high school. Enlistees should review concepts such as equations, inequalities, probabilities, word problems and both plane and solid geometry. This information is accessible through high school texts or SAT math preparation books.

Mechanical Comprehension

Finally, test takers must have a thorough understanding of mechanical concepts if they want a high Skilled Technical score. To move successfully though training for technical jobs, soldiers should familiarize themselves with Newton's three laws of motion, the concept of force, the difference between weight and mass, mechanical advantage, simple machines, friction and hydraulics.

About the Author

Liz Frazier has been producing Web content, instructional articles and trivia for websites such as TopTenz.net and RealDealTechnologies.com since 2008. Her writing interests lie primarily in the areas of politics (specifically public administration and elections), the military, education and forced migration. Frazier has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from California State University, Northridge.

Photo Credits

  • Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images