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DLAB Practice Test

What is the DLAB Test?

The Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) test is a standardized test used by the United States Department of Defense and administered by the defense language institute to assess an individual's potential for learning and proficiency in foreign languages. It is primarily administered to military personnel and individuals interested in joining the U.S. military in roles that require language proficiency.

The DLAB test evaluates a person's ability to learn a new language quickly and effectively by assessing their aptitude for linguistic tasks such as recognizing grammatical structures, identifying patterns in language, and making associations between words and meanings. The test is not designed to measure current language skills but rather the potential to acquire them.

The DLAB test typically consists of multiple-choice questions and may be administered in both written and oral formats. The results help determine a person's suitability for language-related military occupational specialties (MOS) and language training programs. Individuals with higher DLAB scores are often considered better candidates for intensive language training programs, which are essential for roles like military linguists, interpreters, and intelligence analysts who work with foreign languages.

DLAB Test Format

Content Description
90 seconds
Ten preliminary survey questions.
Audio Section
80 minutes
Consists of several parts including identifying stress patterns and applying grammar rules to gibberish language.
Visual Section
25 minutes
Analyzing pictures with gibberish words, selecting corresponding words for new pictures.

The DLAB (Defense Language Aptitude Battery) is a web-based exam featuring a total of 126 multiple-choice questions, and it's divided into two primary sections. The first five sections are audio-based, where test takers listen to prompts through headphones and answer questions. These questions vary and are based on a made-up language, focusing on differentiating word sounds and applying grammar rules. The sixth section is visual-only, with some questions featuring scenarios that the test taker must complete using translated phrases from pictures DLAB Test Sample Questions.

Free DLAB Practice Test Audio Section

Audio Section

These are the following question types found in the test:
Stress Syllables: Evaluates the ability to recognize changes in tones and stresses in languages like Chinese.

Nouns and Adjectives: Assesses understanding of grammar rules applied to select the correct translation.

Possessive Section: Tests the ability to select the correct answer following specific rules.

Verbs and Subjects/Objects: Requires recognizing verbs, subjects, and objects.

Comprehensive Rules: Complex section covering various language aspects, demanding careful rule application.

Below you will given a set of language rules and you will have to answer the following question accordingly:

Adjectives always follow nouns.

Nouns end in 'ar', and adjectives end in 'am'.

Verbs end in 'en' and always come after the noun or adjective.

DLAB Test Sample Question #1

Translate "the tall tree stands"

A) tree tallen stand

B) tallam treear standen

C) treear tallam standen

D) standen treear tallam


Answer & Explanation The correct answer is C) treear tallam standen. The noun 'tree' comes first as 'treear', followed by the adjective 'tall' as 'tallam', and the verb 'stands' at the end as 'standen'.

DLAB Test Sample Question #2

Translate "a red flower blooms"

A) redam flowerar bloom

B) flowerar redam bloom

C) bloom redam flowerar

D) flowerar redam bloomen

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is D) flowerar redam bloomen. The noun 'flower' as 'flowerar' is followed by the adjective 'red' as 'redam', and the verb 'blooms' comes last as 'bloomen'.

DLAB Test Sample Question #3

Translate "the quick rabbit jumps"

A) quickam rabbitar jumpen

B) rabbitar quickam jumpen

C) jumpen quickam rabbitar

D) rabbitar jumpen quickam

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is B) rabbitar quickam jumpen. The noun 'rabbit' as 'rabbitar' is first, followed by the adjective 'quick' as 'quickam', and finally the verb 'jumps' as 'jumpen'.

DLAB Test Sample Question #4

Translate "a small bird flies"

A) smallam birdar fly

B) birdar smallam flies

C) birdar smallam flyen

D) flyen birdar smallam

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is C) birdar smallam flyen. The noun 'bird' as 'birdar' comes first, then the adjective 'small' as 'smallam', and the verb 'flies' at the end as 'flyen'.

DLAB Test Sample Question #5

Translate "the old cat sleeps"

A) oldam catar sleep

B) catar oldam sleep

C) catar oldam sleepen

D) sleepen catar oldam

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is C) catar oldam sleepen. The noun 'cat' as 'catar' is followed by the adjective 'old' as 'oldam', and the verb 'sleeps' comes last as 'sleepen'.

These questions are designed to test comprehension of the created foreign language rules and apply them in a similar way that the DLAB test might require.

Free DLAB Practice Test Visual Section 

Visual Section

  • Involves displaying pictures with translations, requiring associations and extrapolations.

  • Focuses on understanding complex visual information, identifying patterns, and making connections.

  • Requires careful examination of images to find similarities and elements like verbs, adjectives, and nouns.

  • Understanding the positioning of words in translation helps decipher meaning.

DLAB Test VS Sample Question #1

A red apple is labeled as "Redu Appli". What would a blue apple be labeled as?

A) Blueu Redu Appli
B) Appli Blueu
C) Blueu Appli
D) Appli Redu Blueu

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is C) Blueu Appli. Assuming the first word is the color and the second word is the object, "Blueu" replaces "Redu" to describe the apple.

DLAB Test VS Sample Question #2

A dog running is labeled as "Dogar Runnin". What would a cat running be labeled as?

A) Catgar Runnin
B) Runnin Catgar
C) Dogar Catgar Runnin
D) Catgar Dogar Runnin

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is A) Catgar Runnin. Following the pattern, the noun 'Cat' as 'Catgar' is paired with the verb 'Runnin'.

DLAB Test VS Sample Question #3

A large tree is labeled as "Biggi Treedi". What would a small tree be labeled as?

A) Smalli Treedi
B) Treedi Smalli
C) Biggi Smalli Treedi
D) Treedi Biggi Smalli

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is A) Smalli Treedi. The adjective 'Smalli' replaces 'Biggi' to describe the tree's size.

DLAB Test VS Sample Question #4

A car in motion is labeled as "Cari Moving". What would a stationary bike be labeled as?

A) Bikei Stationari
B) Moving Bikei
C) Bikei Cari Stationari
D) Stationari Bikei Moving

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is A) Bikei Stationari. The pattern suggests the noun (Bikei) is followed by the adjective (Stationari).

DLAB Test VS Sample Question #5

A yellow sun is labeled as "Sunni Yellowi". What would a white moon be labeled as?

A) Mooni Whitei
B) Whitei Mooni
C) Sunni Mooni Whitei
D) Yellowi Mooni

Answer & Explanation The correct answer is A) Mooni Whitei. Following the pattern, 'Mooni' (the noun) is paired with 'Whitei' (the adjective).

DLAB Scoring & What is a Good Score

A DLAB score of 95 or higher is generally considered strong, indicating a strong aptitude for language learning. Languages are categorized into tiers based on their difficulty level for native English speakers, as determined by the Defense Language Institute (DLI). Success in foreign language categories is influenced by specific DLAB score thresholds:

  • Category I & II Languages: These foreign languages, such as Spanish and French, are considered less challenging. While there isn't a defined DLAB score threshold, higher scores generally correlate with a better chance of success.

  • Category III Languages: Moderately challenging languages, including Russian and Arabic, typically require a DLAB score of at least 95 for success. However, waivers for scores below 105 may be granted based on military needs.

  • Category IV Languages: These are the most demanding languages, like Mandarin Chinese and Korean. Achieving a DLAB score of 120 or higher significantly enhances the probability of success.

Furthermore, high DLAB scores open up opportunities for admission to competitive programs like the Olmsted Program and the Foreign Area Officer Program, which may have specific score requirements. Therefore, individuals aiming for these prestigious programs often target even higher DLAB scores, such as 130 or more, to enhance their chances of acceptance.

DLAB Test Tips

To study effectively for the DLAB test and perform well during the test:
Before the Test:

  1. Practice Language Structure: Familiarize yourself with constructed language rules, grammar, and syntax, as these are key components of the DLAB.

  2. Improve Listening Skills: Practice listening to complex audio materials, like radio broadcasts in foreign languages, to enhance your ability to discern sounds and patterns.

  3. Use Study Guides: Utilize DLAB-specific study guides and practice tests to familiarize yourself with the test format and question types. These resources can provide valuable insights into what to expect.

  4. Immerse in Foreign Languages: Surround yourself with foreign languages through movies, podcasts, or language learning apps. Exposure to diverse linguistic patterns can improve your language learning aptitude, which is assessed in the DLAB.

During the Test:

  1. Time Management: Pace yourself and allocate time wisely for each section to ensure you have ample time for all questions.

  2. Listen Carefully: In the audio sections, listen attentively as audio prompts are typically played only once. Take notes if allowed.

  3. Understand Visual Information: In the visual section, focus on details and associations within the images to make accurate translations.

  4. Use Process of Elimination: Eliminate unlikely answers to increase your chances of choosing the correct response.

  5. Double-Check: If time permits, review your answers to correct any errors or make improvements.

  6. Don't Overthink: Trust your instincts and avoid overanalyzing; often, the correct answer is the most intuitive one.

By focusing on language structure, listening skills, and efficient test-taking strategies, you can better prepare for and navigate the dlab exam successfully.

Defense Language Aptitude Battery Administration

  • Location: The DLAB is typically administered at designated testing centers or facilities, including Military Entrance Processing Stations (MEPS) or other authorized locations.

  • Registration: Candidates interested in taking the DLAB must register for the test through appropriate military or testing agency channels as part of their enlistment or recruitment process.

  • Platform Used: The DLAB is currently administered as a computer-based test, with candidates interacting with the test through a computer interface.

  • Retake Policy: In the event of a failed or unsatisfactory DLAB score, candidates are generally eligible to retake the test after a waiting period, often around six months. Retake policies may vary depending on specific military branch regulations.

  • Cost: The dlab exam is typically administered at no direct cost to candidates, as it is part of the military entrance and recruitment process. Military service members and prospective recruits do not usually incur additional fees for taking the test.

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