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Study.com: A Military Spouse’s Experience

Editor’s note: This post is sponsored by Study.com.

There’s a story that resurfaces from time to time in my family. The big punchline is that, when I was in grade school, sometime around when report cards were issued, I asked my parents what would happen if I got a B. That about sums me up as a student.

I strive to do well, and as I’ve grown older, I’m aware that I’m motivated by learning.

Recently, I had the opportunity to do some learning that I feel was particularly eye-opening and valuable as a military spouse.

My opportunity was to use Study.com for some practice tests, and then work through the site using their available study materials related to the practice tests I had chosen.

I chose to focus on the ASVAB and AFQT practice tests. Right off the bat, I learned two pretty big lessons.

First, the ASVAB and AFQT are not actually two different tests. An AFQT score is composed from how you perform on certain portions, or subsections, of the ASVAB. That AFQT score determines if you scored enough to enlist, and each branch of the military has its own minimum score that you must meet. The ASVAB as a whole will determine what type of jobs you’re eligible for within military service.

Second, I’m glad I was just practicing! It’s been more than a decade since I took a test and even longer since I’ve taken any math courses. My first practice with the AFQT test through Study.com confirmed I could brush up on a lot of algebra and higher math concepts and vocabulary. Definitely math vocabulary.

I did all right. My score was in the low 70% range. All right as it may be, I was feeling a little concerned by my score—certainly not even a B if we had to convert it to a grade. What would my grade-school-aged self think? Even though my husband reassured me that my practice AFQT score was good enough to meet enlistment standards for every branch, I was itching for a higher score. Time to get my learn on.

So, I spent the next few days getting acquainted with Study.com and working on relearning some math.

Getting Started

Personally, I found Study.com to be a very user-friendly website. Through my self-exploration of the site, I learned theres information available I wish I’d found before I took my first practice test.

Do you know much about the ASVAB? I didn’t, and my husband even completed a stint as a DA-selected recruiter. I honestly had no background knowledge of the ASVAB, aside from it being a test you take before you can join the military and that, as a recruiter, my husband was always looking for recruits who could pass this test.

If you chose to use Study.com for ASVAB practice, you’ll want to start out at their main ASVAB page. I highly recommend reviewing their ASVAB resources, which can be found under the “study tools” drop-down menu at the top of the main ASVAB prep page. I found these informational articles helpful as I started wrapping my mind around what I was actually practicing. In addition, through these resources, I found a suggestion to visit the official-asvab.com website for further information. I was surprised to find out that the official ASVAB site wasn’t the first one to appear when searching the term “ASVAB” through Google. I might not have happened upon it if it weren’t for Study.com.

The Set-up

I started off with the AFQT practice test and found the on-screen testing mode easy to navigate. There are clear directions for how to complete the practice test at the top of the screen before you start. I wished these directions included a little bit of information about rules for ASVAB testing, such as scratch paper is allowed, calculators are not, and you can take the ASVAB on the computer or with traditional paper and pencil methods.

My practice test was 50 multiple-choice questions, and I completed it in 39 minutes and 12 seconds. Upon completion, my score screen showed me my score, my score comparison—how my score compared to other Study.com users’ scores—and my time comparison—how quickly I completed the practice test compared to other users. The score screen showed me how many questions I answered correctly and incorrectly, a review of questions I answered incorrectly—showing my chosen answer, the correct answer, and even an explanation of why the correct answer was correct.

The score page also showed me exactly which video lessons to watch and chapters of the study guide to review in order to cover the material that appeared as my weakness areas.

There were three choices of what to do next: retake the practice test with new questions, review the video lessons and chapters, or practice some skills drills, which were more questions with answer explanations.

Through my study time, I eventually tried out all three of those options. I found the study chapters with video lessons to be the most helpful to my personal experience. The videos had features I found great for customizing to my learning needs.

There was an option to control the speed of the video, each video had closed captions (in English), a transcript of the video—which could be printed and used for highlighting or marking notes for your own personal study—and short quiz sections you could either print or complete online after viewing the video. There were also fill-in-the-blank transcripts of the videos that could be printed, too. Each video had a timeline breakdown, which showed which section of the transcript started at which point in the video. This was great if there was only one part I wanted to review. All the videos could be replayed as much as I wanted, in the event that some topics needed more refreshing than others.

My Results

After I was satisfied with the amount of study I put in, I tried a second attempt at the AFQT practice test. My study included 14 videos selected from across three chapters. I retook the practice test with different questions than my first time. I was anxious to see if I improved and pretty nervous, too, because I wanted to see improvement.

My practice test score went up by 10 percentage points. A number comparable to a B—ha! Imagine if I had a little more time to review and study. Maybe I might catch up to my husband’s score from his original enlistment.

I will say, my second try took me a lot longer to complete. I spent more than an hour on that second practice test. Taking my time paid off, for now, but I feel like I need to also practice my speed before a real ASVAB test, since the tests are timed.

Other Study Tips and Notes

This experience was a great one for me as a military spouse. I feel like I have some common knowledge linking my understanding to a small piece of my husband’s career, including our memories of when he was a recruiter.

Aside from what I personally focused on learning through Study.com, it was apparent to me that this tool could be beneficial in more than just ASVAB prep.

There’s a wealth of options to choose from, including college CLEP practice tests and study materials, study tools for all age groups, and options to study on other devices besides your computer.

I could see military members and spouses working toward their degree goals, military kids of all ages studying up on subjects they need more time with to fully grasp, and anyone interested in military service getting some extra practice for their own ASVAB testing experience. There’s even information on how to use this site within your classroom if you’re a teacher. I’d have to agree this site could be for anyone.

How would I improve my use of Study.com?

I would do my best to try to integrate it with other study tools I’ve collected up throughout the years.

First and foremost, I’d give myself more time. I know that if I was practicing taking the full ASVAB instead of just the AFQT portions, I’d have more to brush up on.

I’d probably make lots of use of the transcript printouts, as I enjoy paper and pencil.

There’s a lot to be said for finding ways to share what I’ve learned. I believe in a “use it or lose it” mentality, as my loss of many math concepts I once knew proves. So, I’d want to connect with other people who might be studying similar topics as me or at the very least badger my husband with all of my new-found knowledge.

Finally, especially for a test like the ASVAB, I’d say there’s a limit to how much prep you can do. The premise of a test like this is to test what you already know and learned throughout years of schooling. You don’t have to ace it, or even get a B, like I was terrified to do—you just have to do your best, and studying can help you feel like you gave it your best shot.

Author

  • Angie Andrews

    Angie is a lucky lady. Lucky, and blessed to be a wife and an Army wife to boot. She lives in Japan with her husband and two cats, Hunter and Matthews. Angie and her husband were married in 2013, and he began his military career in 2008. They met in Florida, and Angie hopes they will live off the Gulf Coast within walking distance to the beach one day. Along with the beach, Angie loves to have a good laugh, a good friend, and a good read or write. She has some serious favorites: food—macaroni and cheese, music—Tom Petty, workout—elliptical miles. Angie graduated from UCF with a degree in Elementary Education and taught for seven years, five of those years as a first grade teacher, and the last two as a reading coach. She has a collection of other jobs before and after teaching as well.

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