Hey everybody, it’s been a while since I posted here. As some of you know, I joined the Army to train to become a commissioned officer. In the military you get a chance to take different tests to get recognized for your skills. I took the DLPT for Russian. I figured that I knew how to talk with natives, read some simple news texts, and read recipes online, and I was offered the opportunity by my command, so I thought why not take the test? If one takes this test, receives a satisfactory grade, and it’s an in demand language, you will get extra pay. The catch: it’s only available to take if you’re in the U.S. military.
I have to say, this is one difficult test. Even the native speakers of Spanish, Russian, and German were struggling, but mind you that hey still achieved stellar scores. The test is comprised of reading and listening, so to the people that are hardcore LingQ users, this would be right up your alley! The first portion comprised of listening. We’d listen to a dialogue, either a rehearsed one, or a real clip from a news cast and we’d decipher what it is. You’d have to answer multiple choice questions. Not only you’d have to comprehend the question, you’d have to understand what the meaning of the passages were. Towards the end, the passages got a lot more difficult. My mind would turn into mush, because the vocabulary used were beyond my mode of understanding. They would get into topics such as Soviet military history and geopolitics. The questions would get more confusing themselves despite being in English. Even if you picked out some words in the passage, you don’t know if it’s part of the right answer, because the questions are looking for ‘the most right answer’ rather than a right answer.
The second part of the test was reading. I did better at reading, but still struggled. If I had the vocabulary of a college student, I think I’d have done well. The format was the same; multiple choice, the questions trying to confuse you, and the question looking for the most right answer rather than a right answer. I noticed that I could pick out a good fraction of the words and phrases, but like reading, my problem was vocabulary. If I had done more reading in varied topics, I’d done a lot better.
“Why are you telling us this, if we can’t take the test?” You might be asking. Good question! I wanted to see how my skills meshed up with military standards. I scored low, which I was disappointed, but not surprised at the same time. I think taking proficiency tests are a good way to gauge progress in learning, but I don’t think tests should be the end goal, because the philosophy by many here is “just have fun”. That being said, taking the test helped me reevaluate my learning methods in LingQ and encouraged me to start importing a lot of my own content to learn off of. My current goals are to expand my passivevocabulary even more, by focusing on quantity rather than quality, and to have more conversations with native speakers.
Thanks for reading!