The Assembling Objects section of the ASVAB test is designed to measure your skill in spatial ability, or the ability to comprehend and remember relationships among objects. This part of the test requires you to look at separate pieces of an object and mentally fit them together. Although this test is not currently used as a significant indicator of one’s rank for most branches of the military, there are certain jobs in the Navy that do require a high score in this test.
With all the questions being multiple-choice type and consisting of drawings, there are two major categories of questions found in this section: connection items and puzzle items.
Connection questions involve mentally attaching lines and shapes. They consist of a set of shapes and lines labeled with corresponding letters indicating the points of attachment. For example, a square labeled at a specific point with an “a,” a line labeled “a” on one tip and “b” on the other, and a triangle labeled “b” at a specific point. Each tip of the line must connect to the shapes by matching the “a” from the square to the “a” from the line and the “b” from the triangle to the “b” from the line. The subject must mentally connect the line to the two shapes and then choose from the four answers provided which one appears most accurate.
For example, you might see a box containing something like this at the left end of the test item:
This tells you to pick the answer choice that connects point A to point B.
This would be a correct answer because point B has been connected to point A:
These would be incorrect answers, for the reasons shown:
(1) incorrect because point B is attached at the right of the triangle instead of at point A, which is on the left
(2) incorrect because point B is attached to the top of the triangle, instead of to point A, which is at the base of the triangle, on the left
(3) incorrect because point B is not attached to the triangle at all
Connecting the pieces may involve rotating or moving them, but it will never involve mirroring the pieces. Some of the incorrect answers may appear correct but have a piece that is actually a mirror image of the original. It can be thought of like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle: the piece may fit if flipped upside down, but it is not correct. It can only be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise to achieve the correct answer.
This is an example of an incorrect answer, because the shape is connected correctly, but has been mirrored (flipped over) in the process:
The second type of questions, puzzle items, consists of multiple shapes that you must mentally connect to create a new, completed shape. There are four answer choices from which to choose, each with lines indicating where the original shapes connected to form the new shape. The shapes in the question must all be present for the answer to be correct and no new ones may be added. These, like the connection questions, may involve mentally rotating or moving the shapes but never mirroring (flipping) them. The shapes must be moved about in one’s head much like puzzle pieces and connected together to create a new shape.
A simple example of a puzzle question could look like this:
You would need to account for every piece in the example when finding the correct answer. Doing so, you would find that B cannot be the correct answer because it only contains two of the smallest rectangles, unlike the example, which contains four. Instead, choice B contains two of the long, narrow rectangles, while the example only contains one of them. Choice A is made up of exactly the same shapes, in correct numbers, as the example, so it is the correct choice.
The questions in the Assembling Objects section obviously involve much more complex geometric shapes than this example, but this shows the mental dexterity needed for moving pieces about in your head to create new geometric shapes.
A sound tactic for discerning the correct answer is to compare one piece at a time. If you select one piece from the original diagram and scan the four answers given to see which of the answers include this piece, you can often eliminate false answers quickly. Using this same method, but looking for the dot, can work very well on the connection questions. Note the location of the dot on the original shape and scan the answers, eliminating any that show the dot in a different location on that shape.