NSA language test

Hi. Has anyone taken an NSA proctored language test? It will take 8 hours, apparently. I wonder why so long…

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A friend took a few and hers were only a couple hours, for listening and reading. Only tests I can think of that are that long are the DLI tests. I believe they’re 3 hours each for reading and listening, along with a conversation test.

Was your polygraph finally scheduled?

No )). I have no idea what’s going on with that, my FSO isn’t answering my emails either. It’s been 9 months since my BI completed…

This test is a separate application to a different customer than the one I’m being processed for. I took tests for other agencies, but they were around 3-4 hours and you get out of it with a headache. This one is 8 hours…

Will they use your current background investigation? I’ve considered applying elsewhere just to have a backup plan.

They’ll schedule you for 8-4, but the actual test is just 3 hours each of listening and reading with a 30 minute break for lunch in between. It’s possible to finish a little early depending on how fast you get through the tests.


I would think they can, they are both DOD.

Thank you. Then it’s not as bad as CIA and FBI, where they also require translation.

Ostorozhno… Not all languages have a DLPT, so if you are testing for something a bit unusual then you might be taking some other kind of test. Yeah the DLPT is 3 hours each mode so I dont know where they could get 8 hours.

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@sbusquirrel but what can I be tested on that is “a bit unusual”? I mean Russian is Russian )) or русский, он и в Африке русский.

@Grrrcat I would assume you took the test? Was it difficult? To be honest, I am a little bit surprised they do not require a translation…

For Russian it would be the DLPT… but if you were testing in maybe Lithuanian or Armenian or something, they would need to dig up some other test.

State Department doesn’t use the DLPT, they have their own tests, but I don’t think they would take eight hours.

No idea what CIA does.

“No idea what CIA does”


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ILR is just the grading scale, doesn’t really describe the test.

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Tells you how much I know about it, I just take them…whatever they are called.


I had a conversation with a woman being tested for 2 middle eastern dialects and I’m pretty sure her tests weren’t the same format and timing as mine. However, it’s still just reading and listening as far as I’m aware. I think I read somewhere the NSA got rid of its translation requirement years ago.

Just be prepared for a long day and pack a lunch. They also might still be kicking people outside for their breaks because of COVID. As far as the test goes, I found the DLPT to be designed fairly. The farther you get into it the more lengthy and topic specific the question excerpts will get. If you get the option to choose which test to take first, keep in mind that the listening portion requires you to listen to each question excerpt twice before you can move on to the next question.


Is the new DOD position at a clearance level lower than TS/SCI w/ CI poly? I’ve applied elsewhere, but the folks I’ve talked to stop responding after I tell them I’m pending clearance adjudication.

@Grrrcat I did take reading and listening test before and found it easier than the translation.

@TA00001 You know, I don’t remember exactly what the clearance level was when I applied first, since it was 6-7 months ago (these people are not in a hurry). Given this is a linguist position - it is a TS/SCI for sure.

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That’s interesting: When I took mine in the Eighties, it was only about 3 - 4 hours!

I took a proctored NSA test back in the Eighties, but it only lasted about 4 hours at the most.

Привет! Do you know if NSA is going to accept the Army DLPT results?

Is it a recent test? As I recall you have to test every year in the military, so I assume NSA would have a similar requirement.