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PiCAT Test – Ultimate Study Guide For US Military Aspirants

If you are dreaming of joining and having a successful career in the US military, you need to do well in the PiCAT (Pending Internet Computerize Adaptive Test) and the PiCAT verification test. So, you need to prepare and find out what you can about the PiCAT test questions.

When answering the PiCAT or the PiCAT Verification test, you will have to use the same problem-solving methods to answer their questions. Using the same problem-solving methods is crucial because even the slightest changes could invalidate your PiCAT score.

If you fail the PiCAT verification test, you will have to take the three-hour-long ASVAB straight away. Taking the three-hour-long test can be a frustrating process.

Do not let the pressure get to you. There are ways that you can prepare for the PiCAT. This article will explain what the PiCAT test is and the PiCAT verification test. We will also outline the kind of questions you will be expected to answer and how you can prepare for them.

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What Is the PiCAT Test?

As mentioned before, PiCAT stands for Pending Internet Computerized Adaptive Test. This test is meant to replace the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB).

The ASVAB test has been used to assess any applicant who wants to enlist in the military.

It is a strictly timed test handed out at MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station) and MET (Military Entrance Test) centres and administered by testing monitors. Until recently, the Department of Defense started using the PiCAT test with the ASVAB.

As mentioned before, the PiCAT is the digital or computerized version of the ASVAB. The PiCAT is different in that you can take the test at home with a computer that has internet access without time limits.

But both the PiCAT and the ASVAB are used to assess the ten skills needed for an applicant to join the military. These skills will include:

  • Arithmetic reasoning
  • Auto and shop information
  • Coding speed
  • General Science
  • Electronics information
  • Math knowledge
  • Mechanical comprehension
  • Numerical operations
  • Paragraph comprehension
  • Word knowledge

So, to prepare for the PiCAT test, you will also need to prepare for the ASVAB. This can also be a handy preparation strategy to pass both tests. Be sure to also employ helpful practice tests available to increase your likelihood of success.

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How to Take the PiCAT Test?

So, how can you take the PiCAT test? The first thing you need to do is contact your local recruiter to access the online exam.

  • The recruiter will have the access code needed to take the test. The access code will be unique to you.
  • You will also usually have 30 days to take your exam. You will also only have 24 hours to complete the online exam.
  • When you’ve completed the online exam, your recruiter will contact you to give you your scores.
  • Before you can be enlisted, your PiCAT score will need to be validated before you can swear in.

You will have 30 days to validate your score. If you don’t validate your score in this period, you will need to retake the test. In some situations, you might have to take the ASVAB test instead.

Just keep in mind that potential recruits that have not taken the ASVAB test can complete the PiCAT exam. This means that you will not be able to take the PiCAT if you have already taken the ASVAB.

After the PiCAT exams, the score you get will stay valid for five years. You will have time to enlist even if you do not do it right away.

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PiCAT Test Availability

To take the PiCAT test, you must contact your local military recruiter. The recruiter will give you the unique access code you need to take the test and other instructions for taking the PiCAT test.

No responsible recruit will schedule the PiCAT test without any test prep and study time. Your recruiter might even recommend some study resources you can use to prepare for the PiCAT test.

What Is the PiCAT Verification Test?

The PiCAT verification test is used to verify your at-home PiCAT test. The verification test is typically conducted at the nearest Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) or MET (Military Entrance Testing) center.

Unlike the at-home PiCAT test, it is timed, and you will also have approximately 25 to 30 to complete the test. Once your score has been verified, your score from the PiCAT verification test will be your official and final ASVAB score. This score will affect your future in the military.

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All About the PiCAT Scores Breakdown

The PiCAT test will assess your aptitude for specific occupations and your general education knowledge. The Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) will evaluate your general education to see if you’re qualified to join the military.

The PiCAT score will combine the results from the different sections in the exam. The DoD will use the scores from the Arithmetic reasoning, Mathematics Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension, and Word Knowledge section to calculate your final score.

The different branches of the US military will have their own minimum requirements for the AFQT. The minimum score requirements will also depend on whether you have a GED or are a high school graduate.

Below are the minimum scores you need to have a high school diploma:

Army: 31

Air Force: 36

Coast Guard: 40

Marine Corps: 32

Navy: 35

Career Aptitude

The US military will determine your suitability for certain careers in the armed forces by bringing together your scores in sections. You will need to meet the minimum score requirements for a specific test or combine different sections’ different tests.

The different branches of the armed forces will have their own standards for prospective recruits. For example, the Army will evaluate your suitability for clerical work by handing out a Clerical (CL) score.

This score will be the result of your score from the Arithmetic Reasoning, Paragraph Comprehension, Mathematics Knowledge and Word Knowledge sections. The different branches will categorize the career fields differently and have a different minimum score calculation formula.

When the PiCAT score has been validated, it will become the official ASVAB score. The official score will then be used to determine which career you might qualify for.

  • ASVAB Score Requirements for the Air Force
  • ASVAB Score Requirements for the Army
  • ASVAB Score Requirements for the Navy
  • ASVAB Score Requirements for the Coast Guard
  • ASVAB Score Requirements for the Marine Corps

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How to Prepare for the PiCAT Test?

Just like any other test or exam, you need to prepare for the PiCAT test. One of the best ways to prepare for the official test is to take a PiCAT. There are plenty of resources online for practice tests.

If you’re a recent high school graduate or recently took the SATs or CATs, you’ll notice that the general education section in the PiCAT is very similar.

When preparing for the PiCAT test, you might need to pay extra attention to sections you might not know a lot about. Brushing up on these areas will be helpful, especially if you’re looking to go into a specific career field.

The recruiter might officially suggest that you might not be able to prepare for the section that evaluates your natural aptitude. They might only suggest that the only way you can prepare is by ensuring that you’re well-rested.

But there is a way to prepare, especially if you haven’t taken a test in a long time. You could take a prep course to improve your knowledge and skills. You can also hire a tutor. For example, if you struggle with Mathematics or General Science, you can find a person who excels in these subjects.

System Requirements

Another important thing you need to keep in mind before taking the PiCAT is that you have the required equipment and they are working properly. It would be best if you did this because the PiCAT is an Internet-based test that you can take at home.

It would be best if you also spoke to the recruiter about what equipment you need to take the PiCAT home. It would help if you also asked about the procedures that have been put in place in case your Internet connection breaks down or you experience other technical difficulties.

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What Are the Pros of Taking the PiCAT?

There are some advantages to taking the PiCAT test compared to the traditional ASVAB test. The benefits of the PiCAT are the following:

No stress. With the PiCAT test, you will have 24 hours to complete the test. So you won’t have to worry about the time and focus on answering the questions.

Proof. Passing the PiCAT and the following PiCAT Verification Test, your score will be the final and official score for the ASVAB.

Leads to a successful military career. If you do well on the PiCAT test, it will give a clear picture of your real Military Occupational Speciality (MOS) potential. If you know what you qualify for in the military, it will help you decide what you want for your future.

No negative on your record. Even if you fail the PiCAT test, it won’t count as a strike against one of the four test-taking attempts.

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How Many Questions Are on the PiCAT Test?

As mentioned above, there are 145 questions in the PiCAT test. The PiCAT will be similar to the ASVAB. But you will need to answer the PiCAT questions online, and you will have 24 hours to complete the exam.

These 145 questions are divided into ten different categories. The first four sections focus on assessing if you have adequate Math knowledge and word knowledge or, in other words, the necessary skills in numbers and language to succeed in the military.

The next six sections aim to assess your skills and decide which branch and role in the armed forces to which they would be most suited.

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What Kind Of Questions Are on the PiCAT Test?

The 145 questions in the PiCAT test are divided into ten different sections. These PiCAT questions are designed to evaluate your skills and suitability for the armed forces.

The questions in each section will evaluate your capabilities needed for joining the armed forces.

Arithmetic Reasoning

The questions in this section will be used to assess how well you can understand, read, and manipulate numbers shown in unfamiliar formats.

This section will consist of 16 multiple-choice questions phrased as word problems. You will need to solve these problems with an equation. You will be able to use a scratch paper to help solve these word problems.

Assembling Objects

There are plenty of military roles that will require you to have spatial awareness skills and the skills to manipulate 3D shapes in space. This is why there is an assembling objects section in the PiCAT. The test has 16 questions about graphs, interpreting maps, and technical drawings. These questions will still have multiple-choice options.

Auto Information

Some roles in the military will require that you have some mechanical knowledge. There are 11 multiple-choice questions about basic automotive systems and automotive repairs for this requirement.

Electronics Knowledge

There are some roles in the armed forces where you will need to use electronic, radio, and electrical know-how. There are 16 multiple-choice questions in the Electronics Knowledge section to assess this.

Each of these questions is designed to test your understanding of the basic principles of electricity and show a basic understanding of electrical components.

General Science

Even though scientific knowledge is not a requirement for entering the military, you will need a general understanding of scientific principles. The questions in this section will assess your level of scientific knowledge. These questions will be about earth science, biology, and chemistry.

Math Knowledge

In this section, you’ll be evaluated on your knowledge of basic mathematics. There will be questions on geometry and algebra.

There are 16 multiple-choice questions in this section. However, you are not allowed to use calculators for this section. But they will be allowed to use a scrap piece of paper to help them work out the answers.

multiple-choice test and pencil Mechanical Comprehension

In this section, 16 multiple-choice questions aim to evaluate your knowledge of mechanical devices. Your understanding of the physics of mechanical processes such as acceleration, force, friction, and gravity is being tested.

Paragraph Comprehension

In the paragraph comprehension section, there are 11 questions, and they are multiple-choice questions. So, you’ll have different options to choose from when answering these questions.

Luckily, the PiCAT test isn’t timed. So you’ll have time to thoroughly read the information and consider your options before providing an answer. Having a thorough read ensures that you can understand what’s being asked.

Shop Information

Having a working knowledge of the equipment used and how they work is required for some roles and branches in the military. But it is not an admission requirement for the military as a whole.

You need to have a basic knowledge of how shop tools work if you want to have a mechanical or engineering job in the Army or even the Air Force. This necessity means that you will need to answer 11 multiple-choice questions.

Word Knowledge

In this section, you will need to answer 16 questions that evaluate your written language and vocabulary knowledge. These are multiple-choice questions,  s you’ll have different options to consider.

Some of these questions will ask you to identify the correct definition for a word in a sentence. Other questions will ask that you find the correct synonym of a word.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following questions are those that other prospective recruits have asked about the PiCAT test. The chances are that they have asked the same questions you are probably asking about the test.

Does PiCAT Count as ASVAB?

The PiCAT is considered a sister test to the ASVAB test. If you pass the PiCAT test and the PiCAT verification test later, your score will be considered the final and official ASVAB equivalent score.

Remember that the PiCAT verification test is used to catch out cheaters. This means that if the results from the verification test are even slightly different from the un-timed PiCAT test, you will have to take the timed ASVAB test.

How Long Does the Test Take?

When you take the PiCAT test, you won’t be timed for taking the exam. But you will only have 24 hours to complete the exam.

You can take the PiCAT at home, and it will have similar questions as the ASVAB. The ten sections will have about 10 – 16 questions.

What’s Considered a Good Score on the PiCAT Test?

The passing score or a good score on the PiCAT will depend on the career or branch of service you want to enter. Most of the branches will accept a score between 31 and 40, AFQT score. However, you will want a score of at least 50.

The AFQT score is also the minimum requirement for joining the service with a GED. You’ll need to learn about the score you’ll need to qualify for the job you want in the military for the aptitude scores.

What Happens if I Fail the PiCAT Test?

Fortunately, the PiCAT is not a pass-or-fail test. But there is a chance that you will not get the minimum score needed to get into the branch that you want. So if you are unhappy with the score you got, you can always contact your recruiter and retake the test.

How Many Times Can I Take the PiCAT Test?

At the moment, there is no set limit for the number of times you can retake the PiCAT. The Department of Defense is still busy testing the PiCAT system. So, you might need to take the ASVAB instead.

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In Summary

The US military uses the PiCAT test to fast-track the enlisting process for new recruits. The PiCAT is a test that you can take at home as long as you have a stable internet connection and you can complete it in 24 hours.

For the most part, the PiCAT replaces the strictly timed ASVAB test. After taking the PiCAT test, you will need to take the PiCAT verification test, which is supervised and timed at a MET or MEPS.

To take the PiCAT test, you will need to speak to your local recruiter and get a unique access code from them. The recruiter will also give you your test results with the date and time for your verification test.

The PiCAT verification test will have similar questions and will be much shorter than the actual PiCAT test. The verification test will last about 30 minutes.

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After passing the PiCAT verification test, the PiCAT score will become your final and official ASVAB score. This score will stay valid for five years.

The official score will be your Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score. The different branches of the US military will use this score to evaluate your suitability for enlisting in their branch.

Your score will determine which branch will be open to you. The PiCAT will also include aptitude scores. The aptitude scores will also show which careers you will be qualified to join.

If you are looking to prepare for the PiCAT test, there are plenty of practice tests available online for both the ASVAB and the PiCAT (access JobTestPrep’s study material + sample questions here). But you should not just rely on only doing practice tests. You should also ensure that you have a good rest and healthy meals to remain alert and energized. Of course, you should have adequate equipment and a stable Internet connection.