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Taking a language aptitude test

 
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:50 am    Post subject: Taking a language aptitude test Reply with quote

Has anyone here taken a language aptitude test?

Is there a way to take such a test in Korea?

I think it would be good for me to take the test to find out my level of language learning ability so I can decide whether to keep studying Korean in hopes of one day being able to speak it or throw in the towel. I am very, very disappointed (devastated really) by my rate of progress thus far; I have a lot less to show for all my hard work than I had anticipated.

This test could do a lot to help my life.

Where do I go to take it? How much does it cost? Where do I sign up?
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peacemaker



Joined: 19 Sep 2006

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.topik.go.kr/
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a test of proficiency and not a test of aptitude.

I don't know of any reliable tests that measure the ability to learn a language.

.
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CentralCali



Joined: 17 May 2007

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The United States Department of Defense uses the Defense Language Aptitude Battery. Just like everyone else who attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, I had to take that test before I could go there. Also prior to attending DLI, I had passed the Defense Language Proficiency Test for Korean. Because of that, I had a choice: take the advanced course in Korean with no bonus or the basic course in Vietnamese (passing the DLPT for Vietnamese-Hanoi and Vietnamese-Saigon was a requirement to graduate from the course) with a possible bonus. I took the latter option. Due to a number of things, I didn't complete the follow-on (MOS retraining) course and continued my military career in the MOS I already had. All in all, I was pleased with that as when I decided to re-enlist into the Navy, I was able to keep my paygrade and continue in the first field.

Having taken both the DLAB and DLPT, I can mention a few things:

  • DLAB
    • The DLAB tests your ability to pay attention to how a language works.
    • You are advised at the beginning of different sets of questions of certain aspects of a fictional language or informed that you are to determine a particular aspect of a fictional language. You are then presented with a few questions to dtermine if you can parse a passage in that fictional language correctly.
    • It is not the same fictional language throughout the test.

  • DLPT
    • The DLPT tests your proficiency in an actual language, not your test-taking ability.
    • The tests are redesigned on a regular basis to reflect what current research determines to be a valid appraisal of a person's competency in the target language.
    • When I took the DLPT for Korean, for some sets of questions, the instructions were also in Korean.
    • Not all of the speakers on the recording had the same accent. They were all speaking Korean, of course, but they were from different parts of the country.
    • No matter how well you think you know a language, you absolutely do not know as much as you believe you do.


In my experience (and I'm sure there are those whose experience differs), both sets of tests do what they're purportedly designed to do, noting that the military is concerned with determining if a language learner is likely to pick up a new language within a specified time constraint. "Hobbyists," if you will, have the luxury of taking as long as they wish to learn another language. Military linguists, on the other hand, must be trained and put to use as soon as possible after their training. If you wish to take the DLAB, you'll first have to take the ASVAB.

Here's something that I think is a hindrance to an NET in Korea learning Korean: the job. You spend the majority of your working day operating in your native language. You are, for the most part, isolated from the consequences of not being proficient, even to a minimal degree, in Korean. And then there's the lifestyle you might follow. How much free time do you have and what do you do with your free time? Are you willing to curtail whatever those extracurricular activities are and study the language rigorously?

I wouldn't be concerned about your rate of progress, though. Different people learn at different speeds. You're not on some "you must know x, y, and z by next Tuesday" schedule. Just don't try to rush things. Once you learn a block (or whatever it's called in your chosen study material), only then continue to the next block. What does it really matter if it takes you a few times more than you wish to master that material?
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javis



Joined: 28 Feb 2013

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CentralCali wrote:
Having taken both the DLAB and DLPT, I can mention a few things:

  • DLAB
    • The DLAB tests your ability to pay attention to how a language works.
    • You are advised at the beginning of different sets of questions of certain aspects of a fictional language or informed that you are to determine a particular aspect of a fictional language. You are then presented with a few questions to dtermine if you can parse a passage in that fictional language correctly.
    • It is not the same fictional language throughout the test.

  • DLPT
    • The DLPT tests your proficiency in an actual language, not your test-taking ability.
    • The tests are redesigned on a regular basis to reflect what current research determines to be a valid appraisal of a person's competency in the target language.
    • When I took the DLPT for Korean, for some sets of questions, the instructions were also in Korean.
    • Not all of the speakers on the recording had the same accent. They were all speaking Korean, of course, but they were from different parts of the country.
    • No matter how well you think you know a language, you absolutely do not know as much as you believe you do.


In my experience (and I'm sure there are those whose experience differs), both sets of tests do what they're purportedly designed to do, noting that the military is concerned with determining if a language learner is likely to pick up a new language within a specified time constraint. "Hobbyists," if you will, have the luxury of taking as long as they wish to learn another language. Military linguists, on the other hand, must be trained and put to use as soon as possible after their training. If you wish to take the DLAB, you'll first have to take the ASVAB.

Here's something that I think is a hindrance to an NET in Korea learning Korean: the job. You spend the majority of your working day operating in your native language. You are, for the most part, isolated from the consequences of not being proficient, even to a minimal degree, in Korean. And then there's the lifestyle you might follow. How much free time do you have and what do you do with your free time? Are you willing to curtail whatever those extracurricular activities are and study the language rigorously?

I wouldn't be concerned about your rate of progress, though. Different people learn at different speeds. You're not on some "you must know x, y, and z by next Tuesday" schedule. Just don't try to rush things. Once you learn a block (or whatever it's called in your chosen study material), only then continue to the next block. What does it really matter if it takes you a few times more than you wish to master that material?


I pretty much agree with everything said here. I wouldn't get too hung up on measuring your aptitude. I saw too many people with high DLAB scores fail out of DLI because they couldn't focus throughout the course for various personal reasons, and saw people who barely made the threshhold DLAB score excel because they were genuinely interested in the language and were personally motivated to study. What I have observed about language learning tells me that the most important factor is your level of personal commitment. After all, Korean is a natural language used by people just like English. It's not like you're trying to learn to communicate with dolphins or something.
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peacemaker



Joined: 19 Sep 2006

PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ttompatz wrote:
That is a test of proficiency and not a test of aptitude.


Damn. There I go getting caught skimming. Embarassed
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Fox



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2013 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CentralCali wrote:

Here's something that I think is a hindrance to an NET in Korea learning Korean: the job. You spend the majority of your working day operating in your native language. You are, for the most part, isolated from the consequences of not being proficient, even to a minimal degree, in Korean.


Absolutely correct.
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