While the minimum score to enter the Defense Language Institute is 95 and the minimum score for a Cat IV Language is 110, should you shoot for either of these? The short answer is no. Like we have stated on previous articles, your DLAB score will carry with you as you progress in your military career. So what is a good average to shoot for?
If you are applying for the Olmstead Program or the Foreign Area Officer program, two of the most competitive Language based programs in the military, then you should shoot for at least a 130. According to the Olmstead Program, the average DLAB score of those selected was a 130 and supposedly they select the cream of the crop.
However if you aren’t applying for these programs or think that these scores are too high, then perhaps a statistical breakdown will help you in choosing your target score. According to a master’s level research study, it was found that in general, those with a 100 and above have a much higher probability to graduate DLI then those below a 100. On top of that, each individual category language had a significant demarcation line that greatly affected someone’s success probability. They are as follows:
- Category I & II Languages – There is no defining score that delineates a high probably of success except that the higher the score, the higher the probability of graduation. Instead factors such as habits, educational background, etc played a larger role.
- Category III Languages – There is a much higher probability of graduation if their DLAB score was at least a 95 or above. You may be wondering how people with a 95 could get into a Cat III language even though the requirement is 105. This is because there are always waivers and its all about the needs of the military therefore if the need is great, sub 105 scores can be accepted into a higher CAT Language program.
- Category IV Languages – Those with a 120 or above have a significantly higher probability of graduation then those below a 120.
So as you can see, there are multiple measures and statistics to use in developing your personal ideal DLAB score. But remember, the higher the better regardless of your choice.