There is a lot of confusion on the Internet about the current DLAB test score range and the requirements to pass or be accepted into a certain category language. This is because 3 years ago, the DLAB test changed its scoring mechanism and its allowance into certain programs. For more information about all the changes that occurred, check out our soon to be written article DLAB Test changes and What You Can Trust. It should be coming soon.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to give you a clear understanding of exactly what the scoring system is for the DLAB so as to help you decipher what score you need in order to get the language or position you want.
The DLAB Score Range
A couple of years ago, the DLAB maximum score used to be 176. However, due to a change in the scoring, and the acceptance requirements, the DLAB lowered the maximum score to 164. No one truly knows why they did this but then again, why does any testing group change their test?
However, what is clear is that the maximum score lowered and the intensity of the test stayed the same. What we can deduce from this is that the test was made more compact and each question has more “weight” to it. Therefore, this change has created even more reasons to get as many answers correct as possible. No longer do you have a general safety net of passing up on a couple of difficult questions.
Furthermore, because each question has even more weight in the point system, it is even more important that you ensure you are prepared for ALL sections of the exam, and not just accept weakness in one area or another. You can ill afford bombing any portion of the test any more. As we have recommended in the past, your best option is investing in a good study guide and taking a practice test or two.
DLAB Category Language Requirements
The old system of CAT Language score used to be:
• 85 for a Category I language (Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish)
• 90 for a Category II language (German)
• 95 for a Category III language (Belorussian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Polish, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Slovak, Tagalog [Filipino], Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese)
• 100 for a Category IV language (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean)
However, after the change, the score requirements became:
• 95 for a Category I language (Dutch, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish)
• 100 for a Category II language (German)
• 105 for a Category III language (Belorussian, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, Persian, Polish, Russian, Serbian/Croatian, Slovak, Tagalog [Filipino], Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese)
• 110 for a Category IV language (Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean)
So, now you need even better scores to get into category languages. This too would make sense considering that the passing rate at DLI has plummeted and due to sequestration, less students are afforded the opportunity to get rolled back (in other words, get a second chance when they start failing at DLI).
With success rates of only 20-30% in classes like Korean, Chinese, and Arabic, you can quickly understand why the DLAB raised their requirements. This means that only 2 out of 10 students pass. OUCH! So prepare yourself for battle because without the roll back option, those numbers continue to drop.
Because discussions about the DLAB are all over the internet and there aren’t any direct resources that are up-to-date about the test (well…..except for us of course 😉 ), you will constantly see the wrong numbers posted and read the comments of many who are just guessing.
We at the DLAP Prep wanted to take the time and set the record straight. Hopefully, you will be the wiser and therefore, be more prepared for the DLAB.