DLAB Test: 19 Important Facts and Practice Questions and Answers

By | July 17, 2023
If you are seeking a career in the military, you might have to take the DLAB test to be qualified for certain positions.

This post provides exhaustive information, facts, and tips on the DLAB test, including valuable practice questions and answers to help you prepare effectively for the DLAB exam and come out with a great score to achieve your dream of a military career.

Please, read on:

What is DLAB Test?

Numerous jobs in the military require eloquence in a foreign language. DOD (Department of Defense) utilizes two key tests to determine whether or not someone can go for one of these jobs.

The Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT) was the first test designed for people who are already eloquent in a specific foreign language required by the military.

The DLPT assesses the individual’s current knowledge of a specific language. The test results are rated in language proficiency of 0, 0+1, 1+, 2, 2+, or 3.

In the rating, “3” is regarded as the highest.

The latest version of the DLPT known as version V tests language ability on a scale of 0 through 5+, but this version will take a number of years to be available for all tested languages.

The version of the test usually offered at locations other than the Defense Language Institute assesses only reading and listening ability.

Nevertheless, the majority of individuals searching for a job that requires foreign language aptitude are not presently eloquent in a required language.

Therefore, DOD decided to use the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) to assess an individual’s aptitude to learn a foreign language.

Before you can be enrolled in the Defense Language Institute to study a foreign language, you must have passed the DLAB test.

It’s a prerequisite for most Linguist positions across all branches of the Military.

You may not be sure what to expect from DLAB as the Military doesn’t release specific details concerning what is on the test.

The DLAB test may be difficult but thorough preparation will see you through success.

19 Important Facts about DLAB Tests

Here are important facts you need to know about the DLAB test to increase your chances of excelling in it:

  1. What is the DLAB?

The Defense Language Aptitude Battery or DLAB is a test administered to individuals to measure their ability on learning a foreign language.

You must not know a foreign language before you can take the DLAB test.

The test only assesses your competence to learn a language using audio and written test questions.

The aim of this test is to make sure the individuals who are willing to undergo training for some foreign relations positions can effectively learn the language for their specific areas.

The DLAB is a test that is very important for any individual who would like to go to the Defense Language Institute (DLI).

  1. How do the DLAB Questions Look Like?

The two segments that the DLAB test questions are broken into are audio and visual.

The questions of the test, which consist of over 120 questions, are ranged in the form of choosing words that have different sounds and applying basic grammar rules, and made-up words.

The minimum score required for entry into the Defense Language Institute is 95, in spite of whether you are aiming to get the highest score.

The languages are all divided into various categories and each category has a minimum score that differs from the others based on that category.

  1. How is the DLAB Test Proctored?

The military personnel proctor the DLAB test and the testing site you should use depends on the military branch you have joined.

It’s generally recommended to take the DLAB test at the testing facility of your branch, but testing is mainly available at Sister Service Testing locations.

  1. How do I Take the DLAB Test?

As discussed above, the DLAB test can be taken at any Military Testing Site. The test comes in two stages, the audio and the visual.

The audio portion is based on what you hear while the visual is answered according to what you see.

  1. The Audio and the Visual DLAB Tests

These are the two sections of the DLAB test. They have been analyzed for your understanding. Below are the audio and the visual sections of the DLAB test, including:

  • Audio DLAB Test

In this section of the DLAB test, you will be given a set of headphones and you will hear clips through the phones.

You are required to answer questions related to the sound produced by audio clips, which will play one time.

There are different kinds of questions that will be based on a made-up language.

You will be asked questions about words that sound different or have different stress points.

There is a grammar rule that appears during the test you must obey as you apply to the audio clip and question involved.

  • Visual DLAB Test

This portion of the DLAB test requires you to remove a sentence from translated words after you have applied words to pictures of items, and you will use the pictures and words and match the translated phrase.

The rules you will use here must not be the previous grammar rules from the audio section, but rather you will use grammar rules based on the current test and the instructions provided.

  1. How is the DLAB Test Scored?

Your aptitude to learn a foreign language will be shown by your score on the DLAB test.

You must receive a minimum score of 95 before you can get into the Defense Foreign Language Institute, regardless of the branch.

MOS, AFSC, and Ratings have minimum required scores that are above 95, depending on the difficulty of the job, the tasks involved, as well as the environment in which you will work and the language commonly used there.

  1. Language Category

Each language on the DLAB test will be placed into a category based on how complex the test is for individuals that are speaking the English language for the first time. These language categories are chosen not by a specific branch, but by the Defense Language Institute.

There are 4 categories in the form of Category I, II, III, and IV.

  1. The Four Language Categories on the DLAB Test Explained

The category explains the span of the basic course taught at the Defense Language Institute.

  • Category I

The Category I is seen as the easiest and has the shortest course. French, Spanish, and Italian are among the 6 languages contained in Category I.

For Category I language minimum DLAB score, 95 is the figure.

  • Category II

Category II comprises 4 languages, including Romanian, German, Malay, and Indonesia. The minimum DLAB score for this category is 100.

  • Category III

This category is regarded as the largest with 28 languages included. Some of the languages in Category III include Polish, Hindi, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.

For Category III minimum score requirement, expect 105.

  • Category IV

Category IV includes languages such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, and Pashto, and the minimum required score is 110.

According to the above categories, your score determines which category you fall into, from Category I to IV.

  1. What is the Defense Language School?

Defense Language School or Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) is one of the oldest language schools in the United States, and it provides training in foreign language and culture.

Defense Language School, which is located in Monterey Bay, California, was primarily established in 1770 as the Monterey Presidio by the Spanish Military.

In 1846, America seized the school and in 1946 moved it to its current location. About 20 years later, the Defense Language Institute was created.

With around 2,500 military members being served in the language school for the military, the size of the school increased significantly.

Students who graduate from this school after being trained will be honored with an Associates Arts Degree or Certificate.

  1. How to Study for the DLAB Test

A lot of websites offer information about the DLAB test in the form of study materials or guides.

It’s true that there is no way you will know exactly what type of questions will feature on the DLAB test, but there are a few things that you can do to assist you to prepare.

  • Understand the Test

You need to know how the test will be presented so as to be aware of what to expect.

Understand every situation of the test including using the rules that they provide and make use of the elimination process to apply these rules to the answers available.

You must also understand that you need to listen very attentively to the audio samples as they will only be provided once.

  • Take Practice Tests

The military doesn’t provide you with official DLAB practice tests, but sites like dlabprep.com do.

Taking a practice test will assist you tremendously and make you get acquainted with how the questions will be asked and how to listen attentively.

Practicing may teach you that you need to shut your eyes to be able to focus on the audio, and also find techniques that work best for you.

  • Study English Grammar

Studying English Grammar is one of the primary steps to preparing for the DLAB. You will be asked questions that may go against the English Grammar rules.

You need to have an understanding of these rules to help you make decisions about the questions that are asked.

  1. What is the Highest Score you can get on the DLAB Test?

The highest score you can achieve on the DLAB test is 164. This was reduced in recent times, yet it’s still too hard to get.

Those who score high on the entrance testing and those who have had previous foreign language training usually obtain higher scores.

  1. Which Percentage of People Pass the DLAB?

It is recorded that by estimation, 50% of individuals pass the DLAB test. Passing in the sense that you must reach the minimum score requirement of 95.

If you are not performing well or scoring high in the entrance exams, you will not be asked to take the DLAB test.

Hence, the test can only be offered to individuals that have passed or reached the 95th score target.

  1. Can Civilians take the DLAB Test?

The DLAB test is not for everybody. One of the criteria of this test is that you must be sponsored by a government agency or be a member of the Armed Services.

You can take the DLAB test as a civilian if you are required to do so by a government agency or you work for a government agency.

You must not take the test just to see how you might score because you must be joining the military before you can take the DLAB.

  1. How Many Times can you take the DLAB Test?

You can take the DLAB test again in 6 months’ time if you do not get a satisfying score on your initial DLAB test of a minimum of 95.

The DLAB test can be retaken without any extra authorizations after additional six months. You can only be authorized two retests.

You must make a request and receive signatures from Commanders or other higher-level personalities, depending on the branch.

  1. What is considered a Good Passing Score on DLAB?

On DLAB, 95 is considered a passing score. A score of 95 is thought of as passing because it’s the minimum requirement for some necessary languages and the only way you can go into the Defense Language Institute.

Your score on the DLAB, if a good score, will follow you around all through your military career without expiration, which will be dependent on the language category you want to study.

A score above 110 is considered a good score and it will establish you for great achievement on your ability to make a choice of language.

In some situations, you might be required to achieve up to 130, which will put you above average in comparison to other test-takers.

  1. The Best Source for DLAB Study Practice Tests

The DLAB test was built on secrecy, and so the stakes are too high. Your score will affect your military career and the only thing to know is whether or not you will be going into the program you want and which language you will take.

You may consider The Official DLAB Training Manual as a very good study guide for your DLAB test. It has a better practice test and has more content.

  1. How to Best Use a DLAB Practice Test

If you have purchased a study guide for the DLAB test that has a full practice, you need to first read the whole book in order to digest what sections it actually contains, and gain knowledge about any of the vital recommendations on how to tackle each section.

After going through the guide and understanding the tactics each section contains, it’s time to set aside the time to handle the DLAB practice test.

It would be best to get someone to read the primary listening portion of the practice test so you can select the answer.

The person has to read it just once, remember.

It would be best for them to read the study guide in order to understand why they are reading something the way it should be read.

You may handle the reading section by yourself.

After you have finished reading all the sections of the DLAB practice test, you can go on to check your answers, identifying your weakest section.

Mark whether it’s a section in the reading or listening. With that done, you can now return to that section to reread it and see what you did wrong.

You may go on with the second DLAB practice test and repeat the first process.

Once completed, try to score your practice efforts and once again see where you struggled.

  1. Studying for DLAB Test

Many people are asking if they need to study or if there are study guides out there for them.

To clear their doubts, there are no commercial study guides available for the DLAB, and the test cannot be studied in the conventional way as the DLAB test is purposely designed not to assess your current knowledge but your language-learning potential.

You may not be able to study specific practice questions for the DLAB, but you can study English grammar and textbooks to be sure they possess a solid grasp of English grammar before taking the test.

In a statement by the current Army Linguist, you can help yourself tremendously in preparing for the DLAB by ensuring that you have a solid grasp of grammar and syntax in general if not anyone not having the knowledge of an adjective will have serious problems with the DLAB.

  1. Retaking DLAB Tests

Individuals who fail to achieve a qualifying score on the DLAB have to wait a period of 6 months and then can apply to retake the test.

Individuals who are applying for a retest and who have made a minimum qualifying score can have their requests approved only based on documented military necessity. Their requests need to be approved by the appropriate commander who acts as the recruiting squadron commander.

DLAB Test Practice Questions and Answers

Here are sample DLAB questions and answers to guide you in your preparation for the test:

Question 1

Translate the brown dog
A. Brownie doggie
B. Dogie brownie
C. Brownie dogo
D. Dogo browna

Answer and explanation

The correct answer is B. Reason is that the noun goes before the adjective and both end with the same vowel sound.

Question 2

Translate a small broken jar
A. Brokenu smalla jara
B. Brokenee smallu jaree
C. Smallu jaru broken
D. Jaru brokenu smallu

Answer and explanation

The correct answer is D. This is because the noun goes before the adjective and
all the words stop in similar vowel sound.

NOTE: For grammatical terms and brief descriptions related to the DLAB sections, you can check the glossary.


The Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) is a test required to function in foreign relations, linguists, or other similar military positions.

The test is proctored at a Military Testing Site for each specific branch, and it comprises audio and visual sections with a maximum score of 164.

Receiving a good score will require you to get at least a 110, although the minimum score to pass is a 95.

The test is not easy with approximately 50% of individuals receiving a qualifying score.

Find practice questions and become familiar with the test procedures so as to improve your chances.

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