Computer vs Paper
Each test taker completes the CAT-ASVAB at his/her own pace. When you complete a subtest, you can immediately move onto the next subtest without waiting for everyone else to finish. There are time limits set on each subtest in the CAT-ASVAB, but almost all test-takers complete the individual subtests before the time runs out.
During each subtest the time and the number of questions remaining are displayed. The time taken to complete the CAT-ASVAB depends on the test taker, with the average time used being about 1½ hours.
Because the computerized test is adaptive, it only uses 145 test questions,while the paper version contains 225.
So what is meant by an adaptive test? Well the test is tailored to each examinee. Items are selected from a pool of questions that range in difficulty from very easy to very hard. After each question has been answered, information is collected and evaluated, and the question best suited for the examinee’s estimated ability level is selected to be next. This adaptive item selection process results in higher levels of test-score precision and shorter test lengths than the paper-and-pencil ASVAB. Typically, if an examinee answers a question incorrectly on the CAT-ASVAB, an easier question is given next; if an examinee answers a question correctly, a more difficult question is given next.
A penalty is applied to all examinees who do not complete the test before time runs out. This is done by scoring the questions that were not answered as though they were answered at random. In almost all cases it is not necessary to apply the penalty, as the time constraints are liberal enough that nearly all examinees are able to complete each subtest.