Best DLAB Study Guides

Best DLAB Study Guides

Best DLAB Study Guides

There is no better way to prepare for the DLAB then getting a study guide.  This is because the purpose of the DLAB isn't about what you know, but how you respond in a certain situation under timed criteria.  What that means is, the more you are prepared for what is to come, and practice, the better your response, and thus the better your DLAB score.

But here's the problem:  The market has too many terrible DLAB study guides.  In truth, there are some that have wrong information, or don't even cover everything.  This is almost worse than doing nothing.  Can you imagine going into a DLAB test, thinking you know what to expect, and then all of a sudden realizing this isn't' what you expected?

So, because of this, I decided to buy every DLAB study guide on the market so I could compare each and help to point out which ones are worth your time and money, and which ones should be avoided.  Plus, combining this with the fact that I've taken the DLAB, I can say without a doubt which ones work.

List of the Best DLAB Study Guides

I've tried to list what I liked and disliked about each, and even gave them all a grade.  However, below, I will expand on each and give my recommendation in full on which one is best for your needs.  I hope this helps.

#1. The Official DLAB Training Manual

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Having read all of the Defense Language Aptitude Battery Test Study guides on the market, I have to say that the Official DLAB Training Manual is still my favorite of them all.  Now, I get it - it is old, right?  But here's the thing...the DLAB test hasn't changed at all since this book came out in 2014.  All the rules and recommendation are still correct.

Furthermore, this DLAB study guide has some of the best pretests and practice tests of them all.  Now, when you get to the section with the images, you might laugh because the images don't look professional.  HOWEVER, those image are actually pretty close to the style of images you'll find on the test.  Remember, the US military made this test and design is not their strong suit.  So, what I'm saying is that this study guide is pretty legit close to what you'll expect.

Now, my only issue or problem with this study guide is that it really needs a good editor.  There was a misspelling, and some grammar issues as well.  Kind of a drag being that this guide is about language...right?

But don't let that deter you.  Regardless of when it was published, and some grammar issues, this is hands down the best at helping you prepare for the DLAB exam.  Plus, I'll bet your detailer or recruiter probably recommended this guide too - I've heard they all do.


  • This is the most up-to-date study guide out there!

                                                      ~L. Brown

  • The fact that it uses the real rules, makes it worth every penny

                                                      ~Mike P.

#2. The Complete DLAB Study Guide

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Honestly, The Complete DLAB Study Guide is a VERY close second.  Like the Official DLAB Study guide, this one is still accurate, even though is is older.  All of its rules are still correct, and its recommendations are still strong.  Furthermore, like the other, it has a full set of practice exams and covers all areas of the exam.

So, why didn't I put it #1?  Well, when it came to the explanation of the exam, I felt as though the Official DLAB did better at that.  That could just be my preference, but also the reviews sort of nudge this sentiment as well.

BUT - here is my actually recommendation.  I truly recommend all readers buy both.  Why?

Like I said above, the DLAB is about practice.  It's about getting used to the rules in the test, and then being able to quickly and effectively select the right answers.  The only way to do that right is to practice, practice and practice.

Having BOTH the Complete DLAB and the Official DLAB give you even more practice test and ways of looking at it.  Besides combining the cost of the two books is the equivalence of an Applebees Dinner - and if that helps improve your score, then it will help with your progression into DLI and into your military career.

So, in the end, I think all who are taking the DLAB are best served by buying both of these DLAB study guides.


  • I bought this one and The Official DLAB study guide. Both were absolutely amazing and helped me get the grade I needed to start studying Chinese in DLI. Now, I have to start preparing for that - oy!

                                                      ~M. Townsend

  • There were a couple of things that have changed since this book was created, however, the grammar rules and heads up on what was going to be on the exam was totally worth it.

                                                      ~Michael D.

#3. DLAB Study Guide

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This gets a distant 3rd on my list.  It's clearly the oldest and wasn't well put together.  Most of its rules and guidance is still correct, but it isn't as accurate as the two above.  Therefore, I'd only recommend you get this book if you are really needing more questions.

However, the combination of the first two is more than enough to give you the right idea on the test, and more importantly, enough practice that you should score in the higher levels from the DLAB test.

Therefore, don't waste your time on this guide if you bought of the two above...unless you are seriously going for a triple study guide effect.


#4 DLAB Practice and Skills Test Study Guide (NOT RECOMMENDED!)

This is a WASTE of money.  First off, this reads as if it was written by someone who hasn't actually taken the exam.  It's not accurate, but tries to be.

Also, its so called 300 questions only covers half of the exam.  Like, what?!?!  Why?

To me, this is egregious.  If someone bought just that guide, and no other, they would think that they knew what was on the exam, and think they were prepared.  Then they'd get to the DLAB test, and realize they only prepared for half of it.  That totally sucks.

So, I highly recommend you skip this one and choose one of the others.

#5. Defense Language Aptitude Battery (NOT RECOMMENDED!)

Finally, my dead last position is the creatively named Defense Language Aptitude Battery.  No way the person who wrote this actually took the test, and definitely doesn't understand it.

I mean, if you don't know what you're doing, then why not copy the others or something.  It's clear either a company that mass produces these kinds of study guides made this, or else someone pretending to be one did it.

Either way, this is a complete waste and I absolutely recommend you save your money and go somewhere else on this.  Choose either the Official DLAB Study Guide or the Complete DLAB Study Guide, (or both), but leave this one behind.


  • This study guide didn’t help me at all. In order to study for the DLAB, you need lots of practice exercises and some material for practicing the audio portion. 


  • This book is all written, and it is ridiculous stuff. NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING IN THIS BOOK was on the actual DLAB. The DLAB is primarily audio. Look up other practice stuff online. This book will not help you. I’m not sure if this book is just outdated or what. But it isn’t helpful. Don’t waste your money. My advice to you is to look up practice questions with rules, record yourself reading all the answers, and then practice listening to the questions instead of reading them. For example, there is a great Ebook study guide also on Amazon. That one is good. It will definitely help you prepare for the DLAB.


Other Resources and Options for DLAB Study

There are some other ways to prepare and some reading material to help - although with one or two of the above DLAB Study guides above, you should be fine:

So, What's the Best DLAB Study Guide?

In the end, we have provided a couple of the best DLAB Study Guides on the market and hope you find them just as useful as so many DLAB Prep readers have.  We will do our best to help you as much as possible; however, these study guides are the best way to improve your score and prepare for the rigors of the Defense Language Aptitude Battery Test.