Friday, January 29, 2010

Midterm Madness

"I plan to sleep in three mornings this week", Master Ian announced. It was midterm week in Marcellus, and as far as Ian was concerned, all he had to do was to show up on two days, check his brain in for a couple of hours and then go back to whatever recreation was available in the dead of winter around town. The Halls barely saw him at all this week, except for Thursday, when he had an early appointment with a physics exam.
So the last thing he wanted to hear was that he had to take another test. Sgt. Phillips had been working overtime to see if he could move up Ian's ship date so it was closer to his graduation date, and to that end, he had uncovered that there might be extra openings in Ian's second choice of MOS, the intelligence field. (Much to his delight and Mrs. Hall's chagrin, his first choice was to drive tanks.) There might not be an opening for that when Ian comes in, so his sargeant was trying to cover all his bases; he called Ian Thursday evening and told him to report to the recruiting center at 7:00 am for the DLAB tests.
A cursory glance at Google that night made Ian suddenly realize that taking the DLAB with only 12 hours prep was not going to be a stroll in the park. Apparently only 35% of the applicants who take the test pass with sufficient points to continue.

"The DLAB consists of 126 multiple choice questions. For admission to a Basic Language Program, the following minimum DLAB scores are required:
· 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)
Individual services or agencies may demand higher qualifying scores, at their discretion. For example, the Air Force and Marine Corps require a minimum score of 100 on the DLAB for all languages, although the Marine Corps will waiver it to a 90 for Cat I and II languages. The Air Force is not currently approving waivers."

Bitter cold greeted them Friday morning as they dropped Ian off at the office. A couple of hours later, while Mrs. H. was working out on the treadmill, he called. "I'm ready- come pick me up." They were all on pins and needles until he finally slid into the big black car. "Well? Well?" piped Mrs. H. while Mr. Hall smiled and looked at Ian. "I'm so happy- I got 110 on the test. I really wanted to qualify for Cat IV!" Mrs. Hall sighed and slid back into the seat. Another hurdle down- and for Ian, just another test behind him.

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