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1,001 questions about the ASTB (post your scores & ask your questions here!)

gabriellehale

New Member
Just finished my ASTB-E and thanks to this everyone that has contributed on this thread I did alright.
51 7/8/7
BS History Oregon State 3.02 GPA
AD Navy Diver

The ProProf Flash cards may have been the most helpful for me.
All that aside, the software for the ASTB kinda sucks. I ended having to retake the first 3 sections multiple times, and the computer lost network numerous times. The mechanical section was a breeze but the program froze as I selected around my 9th-10th question, and once the computer was restarted it just spit out an OAR score which was frustrating.
Thanks again to everyone that continues to contribute.

What sort of math did you primarily have?
 

gabriellehale

New Member
Took my OAR, bunked it with a 37, recruiter said take it in a month and not to be discouraged cause he’s seen worse. I got kicked out of the math with 14 minutes and felt confident on the mechanical. Only issue for me really was the reading, never been strong at reading but will focus on all sections now rather than just the math and mechanical. Did not know how to study for reading, any tips or pointers?
 

OperationChungus

New Member
Weird question, but can I bring gum into the testing facility? Also, is there a urinalysis that occurs on test day or is that only at MEPs? I don't want to go into the test fully hydrated and sitting around with a full bladder and losing focus while stressing over problems.
 

Meyerkord

Primary
Weird question, but can I bring gum into the testing facility? Also, is there a urinalysis that occurs on test day or is that only at MEPs? I don't want to go into the test fully hydrated and sitting around with a full bladder and losing focus while stressing over problems.
There is no urinalysis, and yeah, gum should be fine.
 

OperationChungus

New Member
Took my OAR, bunked it with a 37, recruiter said take it in a month and not to be discouraged cause he’s seen worse. I got kicked out of the math with 14 minutes and felt confident on the mechanical. Only issue for me really was the reading, never been strong at reading but will focus on all sections now rather than just the math and mechanical. Did not know how to study for reading, any tips or pointers?
What were your other scores? Did you have any logs for the math portion?
 

swmonroe88

New Member
I took my first ASTB on Tuesday. I decided to take it after only about 2.5 weeks of studying (a couple hours a day maybe 5x a week and a few 5-6 hour sessions over the past weekend) to gauge where I stood and to give my time to retake, if need be, before submitting my SNA package. I ended up doing much better than I expected on my first try (71 9/9/9) and will obviously be submitting this score.

A little bit about myself: Prior USMC enlisted aircrew with a little more than 900 hrs. time, finishing an Aerospace Engineering degree at USC (SoCal, not Carolina) with a 3.25 GPA thats still slowly trending up, total military aviation/plane nerd (constantly watching documentaries and reading), FAA SEL private pilot, and Operations Analyst for a major defense company. Honestly after taking the test, I feel as if my background set me up almost perfectly to succeed. As far as study guides go, I primarily used the gouge here and the Barons book to study a little bit of everything. The majority of my time was spent relearning how to work with multiply/divide and work with fractions by hand again because in the engineering world I almost never don't use a calculator. I read probably 100+ pages of this thread which really helped calm my nerves about what I would see on the test and how I would feel like I was constantly bombing it. I don't have a whole lot to say about the test itself that hasn't been said here already (seriously just click back to page 250 or so and start reading), but am going to post some of my thoughts on the sections and can answer any questions you all have.

Math: Started easy but became challenging fairly quickly. Lots of D=RT problems comparing two peoples movement towards or away from each other. Had a couple fairly complicated solve for x or simplify questions. No logs, no binary. Got kicked out with maybe 3 minutes left.

Reading: Dry. Painfully so. Some passages obviously pulled from Navy pubs and others from what seemed like science text books. First couple were easy, and got much more cryptic and difficult quickly. Towards the end I was usually only able to narrow down to two options and make an educated guess. Kicked out with about 5 minutes left.

Mechanical: Honestly much harder (as an engineer) than I thought it was going to be. Had a couple straightforward ones and then a couple fairly complicated pulley questions. One pulley question asked for the names of a particular cascaded set-up (atkinson or wilkins or something else) which I had no idea whatsoever of. Almost no actual math done on this one, just focused on concepts. Ran the clock all the way down to 0:00 on this one.

ANIT: Straightforward, study the gouge on here, read about/understand airplanes, know a little bit of nautical info.

NATFI: Exactly what you expect, sometimes the two statements are easy to choose, sometimes niether is really true about you. In those cases I tried to answer based off of what the traits of the better naval aviations I flew with or what made more sense for what would make a successful pilot. The Navy/Marine Corps likes people who stick to checklists and follow flight rules.

UAV: Used the compass trick. Got one wrong and all the rest correct. Average time was probably somewhere in the 2-3 second range with a couple 4 sec. outliers.

Dichotic Listening: Not terribly difficult, the volume on the headphones was cranked up which I felt like helped. Missed one or two numbers just by clicking the wrong button (left for odd, right for even), but maybe it still registers that you heard a number read?

Vertical Tracking: Starts easy, gets worse. Probably was able to keep the target green for 70% of the excercise.

2-D Tracking: Tough, although I'm a pilot and play flight sims fairly reguarly the inverted axis with absolutely no outside reference (black screen in the test) makes it very counter-intuitive. Probably tracked for 45%-50% of the excercise.

Combined: Absolute mess. Just get through it. Had both green for<10% of the excercise.

Combined with Dichotic: Somehow easier than without the dichotic. Guess you're kind of distracted and go into a more auto-pilot mode. Probably tracked ~10% of the time and missed 1 or 2 of the number callouts.

Emergency Procedures: Write them down pocket checklist style, take 2 seconds to identify the problem and fix it while not really worrying about controlling the plane, get back to flying and put the control wheels back to a neutral setting before the next emergency. Didn't miss any procedures here and probably took ~4 seconds to fix the problems.

Good luck to everyone else taking the test. Hope I get to see you all in Pensacola!
 

sandor

Sándor
I recently took the ASTB. Like many of you, I found the lack of / contradicting information frustrating. How you score has a big impact on your future, so you naturally want to gather as much intel as possible to prepare. The Navy is extremely tight-lipped about it, so what information you can glean is unofficial and often unreliable.

I took the ASTB and scored 73/9/8/7 (basically top 1%) on my first attempt. In this guide I will share with you how I prepared and what to expect in taking the exam. There are two main sections: the ORA (English, mathematics, and physics) and the aviation section (some multiple choice tests and simulations). I was going for SWO, but decided to take the aviation section as well. I spent virtually all of my time preparing for the OAR, and about 1 hour preparing for the aviation section. As such, most of this guide will focus on the OAR section. Without further ado, here are the points which I think will help you the most in your preparation.

1) There are a lot of jerks of this forum who have nothing better to do than be an ass. There are also a lot of people on this forum who vent and are looking for emotional support/somewhere to wine. You have so sort through a lot of baggage here to find the useful information.

2) The Navy doesn't want you to know very much about the test, and you won't. Even after taking it, how exactly it is scored, how much each section is worth, and which questions you got wrong remain a mystery. You won't be able to prepare by knowing the exact type of questions and formulas.

3) You only get to take the test 3 times in your life, and your last score is what counts, NOT your best. That being said, I recommend you don't take it until you feel you are as prepared as you can be. If you want to retake, you will have to wait 31 days, and you can always have the problem of scoring worse the second time. You also won't know your scores by section (English, math, physics), so if you get an overall poor score, you will have to guess which sections you think need the most improvement. Life will be better for you if you just get a good score the first time through, so give it your best.

A bit About Me
I have a degree in physics, a university English GPA of 3.9, and am 3 credits away from a degree in mathematics. So, I am pretty strong in all the subjects of the OAR. Even so, I studied for 3 weeks, ~2 hours a day. Even if you have a physics,math/engineering degree, I recommend you do the same. One of the biggest challenges going from a university classroom to the OAR, is the reliance you have likely developed on calculators. You will not be given a calculator on the OAR. If you can't crunch the numbers by hand with a pencil, having degree in advanced vector calculus will be of no use to you. The subject level of the OAR is around AP high school level, but don't let that make you over-confident. Someone who knows basic algebra, and can preform long division quickly and accurately may very well do better than you.

Studying for the OAR
As I said, you won't be able to predict the exact questions/type of questions. Keep in mind that the questions others got won't necessarily be the ones you get. You will simply have to shotgun it, and try to be prepared for anything. Keep in mind the subject difficulty is not that high. It is comparable to advanced high school, early college level (you aren't going to see vector integrals on the math section) so you don't want to spend time studying material that is beyond the scope of the exam (more on this later).

Of English, physics, and mathematics, I'd recommend that you devote you study time 5% 20% 75% respectively.

English. In my opinion, there is little you can do to study for this. Presumably, if you are a citizen you will speak fluent English. The questions are all based on reading comprehension. You will be given a paragraph to read. There will then be a question about the paragraph (sometimes obscure) and you have to choose the most correct answer. I often felt that there were multiple answers that could be correct, and that it was very subjective. Just choose an answer, and try not to overthink it too much (yes, it feels subjective and annoying). I do recommend you study the English sections in the book so that you will at least be familiar with the basic format. Honestly, there isn't much you can do to improve your English comprehension abilities. It is just too vague a subject to be able to make any improvements in a short period of time.

Physics. The variety of questions in this section was surprisingly broad. You definitely want to know pulley systems and how to calculate mechanical advantages, how to balance two different weight on a titter-totter by choosing the distance from the fulcrum, or choosing the weight given the distance (balancing torque), directions of gears in a system, and how to calculate gear ratios by counting the teeth, and basic kinematics (acceleration in free fall, velocity, momentum, collisions, friction). There were some obscure question with more advanced topics, but mostly it was basic. I recommend studying AP high school level, or first level college physics. The calculation is pretty minimal, and it mostly tests how well you know the concepts. Know how springs work, and the basics of kinetic and potential energy. If you could rock an AP physics test, you should do fine. If you happen to get the question about whether the black box or the white box will emit more radiation, the answer is the black box. Study all the material you can find on the internet about mechanical comprehension tests.

Mathematics. Now here is where the real magic is, and where a recommend you devote the vast majority of your study time. It is the most specific of all the subject areas, the one you will do the most poorly on if you are out of practice, and the easiest to improve through study. The difficulty level is about algebra 2 level. Again, think AP high school, or early college math. My three tips for this section would be: drill the basics, drill the basics, and drill the basics. The test is interactive, and starts you out in a medium difficulty. Even if you are rock solid on the more advanced stuff, you will never get there if you answer the mid-level questions wrong. Don't worry about the more advanced stuff unless you've got the basics really, really solid. I recommend getting an app with flash cards on your phone, and drilling through times tables and addition/subtraction problems several times a day. Practice and practice multiplying and dividing by hand, multiplying and adding mixed fractions, ect. It is very important that you can do basic calculations quickly, and easily. Remember, there will be no calculator. By the end of my studying, I had a pile about an inch thick of scratch paper from my calculations.

You were probably told that the math section is 25 questions, 20 minutes. This is false! My math section was 40 minutes, and ended about 16 questions in when I still had 7 minutes left of the clock. If you are thinking that you need to be able to knock out the questions in 50 s a piece and worried that you can't, don't be. I can't say why exactly my tests tended to end early, but I believe it is because the computer has determined my skill level and thus ends the test. I can't say that this necessarily a good thing, or that it only does this if you've done well.

Fight the temptation to guess and move on. You will probably be wrong, and will be put into a lower skill level. Remember, if you want to get to the more advanced questions, you have to get the easier ones right first. There were some questions I did in 20 s, others I spent 5 minutes on, because I made a mistake early on and and to start over. Keep calm, and focus on precision rather than speed. Remember, slow is smooth, and smooth is fast. Only guess if you know you won't be able to get the answer. Obviously, don't run out the clock staring at the screen. According to the test administrator, you only need to get 12-15 correct answers on the math section to get a good score. Don't worry about getting 25 questions done! Do note that you will not be able to see what the number of the question you are on is. You will have to count, and mark it on your paper if you want to keep track.

I highly, highly recommend that you read through this book (file is attached) and take all the practice material (except for the English vocabulary, as vocabulary is not part of the ASTB). Even though the different test are slightly different, and may not be exactly what you encounter, it is still an excellent way to get the required practice. Unless you are already in tip top academic shape, you will need a high volume of calculation to get you into peak condition. Work your way through the book, timing yourself of the exams. Take them multiple times. Get all the bugs worked out before you sit down for the real test.

Math Topics I Encountered

Basic algebra. Given an equation, do various manipulation to solve for one variable or another. Painter type problem. 2 painters start at 1:00, starting at 3:00 one painter is added each hour. At what time will they finish? (you will see lots of these in the book I attached). Basic probability. I recommend you study card and dice probability problems. They can be very challenging if you haven't encountered the tricks before. I won't bother rewriting what you will encounter in the book. I recommend you study every math problem in it, and be able to solve them in 2 min 30 s or less. Focus on precision first, then really try to get you speed up while maintaining precision. When you actually sit for the ASTB, just focus on accuracy. Know the properties of logs, and how to calculate them. I only encountered integer solutions, and though these were the most advanced questions, they were some of the easiest to solve.

Aviation Section
I don't intend on applying to aviation, so I didn't put much study into it and thus have little advice for you. I am told that the questions on the aviation written do not change, and thus are well know and can be found in the dark recesses of the internet. If aviation is your focus, you may want to look into this.

The simulations are VERY hard, and it will seem like you are doing horribly. It is essentially a multitasking overload test. My three tips for the flight simulations are, listen to you headset, listen to your headset, and listen to you headset. This is what I did, and did pretty well on my scores. Keeping the plane on target was a complete joke. Most of the time I was flailing about wildly, almost always in the wrong direction. I listed to the headset however, and got a good score. I wouldn't be surprised if the flight controls are purely a distraction, and you score is based on the headset instructions (just a theory of mine). In any case, give 95% of your attention to the headset, and 5% to flying the panes (yes, you have to fly 2 at once).

For the map orientation section, I highly, highly recommend you watch this video and use this technique. It is easy, and basically makes this section money in the bank.


Some Things to Note

I don't know what it will be like for you, but I took my test in Seattle, and had a room with a computer all to myself. I don't know if they watch you with cameras, but wouldn't be surprised, so don't cheat. You are given pencils and paper. You might want to ask for extra just in case before the test starts. You will have time before, and between each section. I don't know if they would consider it cheating, but you could use this time to write down notes on you paper (e.g. times tables and such) that may be of use to you in case you freeze up during the test and blank on something. Don't worry if your computer malfunctions. Mine did. Just tell the administrator and they will get it sorted eventually.

Once you get your score, if you want your percentile, you need to know how the Navy scoring system works. The mean is set to 50, and the standard deviation is 10. So, take your score, subtract 50, divide by 10, then use a Z table with your calculated Z score to see what percentile you fell into.

That's all I've got. Best of luck!
 

Attachments

sandor

Sándor
I'm not very familiar with this forum or its workings. I just thought I'd share my experience as I found a lot of the information out there to be misleading.

I'm not sure what you mean by posting the like, other than giving you a link to the post (which I think you already have)
 

RecruitingGuru

Making Recruiting Great Again
Post the link and we can merge. Since it's been a "bit" since I had to take the ASTB, I haven't been following the gouge.
I'm not very familiar with this forum or its workings. I just thought I'd share my experience as I found a lot of the information out there to be misleading.

I'm not sure what you mean by posting the like, other than giving you a link to the post (which I think you already have)
 
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