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What makes the Modern Language Aptitude Test so difficult?

Updated: Apr 26



The Modern Language Aptitude Test (MLAT) is a standardized test used to assess an individual's ability to learn and use a foreign language. It is designed to measure a person's potential to learn a language quickly and efficiently. The MLAT has been used for decades to identify individuals who have the talent to become proficient in a new language. However, many people find the test to be challenging and wonder why it is so difficult. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why the MLAT is considered a challenging test.

The MLAT consists of five subtests that measure different aspects of language learning ability: verbal aptitude, grammatical sensitivity, rote learning, pronunciation, and inductive language learning. The verbal aptitude subtest measures the ability to recognize and understand the meaning of words and sentences. The grammatical sensitivity subtest measures the ability to recognize grammatical structures in a sentence. The rote learning subtest measures the ability to memorize words and phrases. The pronunciation subtest measures the ability to differentiate between very similar sounds. The inductive language learning subtest measures the ability to learn from examples and infer rules.

One reason why the MLAT is considered difficult is that it is a comprehensive test that measures multiple aspects of language learning ability. Unlike other language tests that focus on a particular skill, such as reading or speaking, the MLAT requires test-takers to demonstrate proficiency in multiple areas. This means that test-takers need to have a wide range of language skills to perform well on the test. For example, a person who is good at memorizing words may not necessarily be good at recognizing grammatical structures in a sentence.

Another reason why the MLAT is considered difficult is that it requires a high level of cognitive ability. The test measures not only language skills but also cognitive skills such as memory, reasoning, and problem-solving. This means that test-takers need to have a strong cognitive ability to perform well on the test. For example, a person who has a poor memory may struggle with the rote learning subtest.

The MLAT is also considered difficult because it is a timed test. Test-takers have a limited amount of time to complete each subtest, and they need to work quickly and efficiently to finish the test on time. This can be challenging for people who have not prepared for the test or have test anxiety.

Furthermore, the MLAT is designed to be challenging. The test is designed to identify individuals who have a high potential for language learning, and as such, it needs to be difficult enough to separate the high potential learners from the low potential learners. If the test were too easy, it would not be an accurate measure of language learning ability. In addition, the MLAT is difficult because it tests skills that are not typically taught in traditional language classrooms. For example, the inductive language learning subtest measures the ability to learn from examples, which is not typically emphasized in traditional language teaching.

In conclusion, the Modern Language Aptitude Test is a challenging test that measures multiple aspects of language learning ability. The test requires a high level of cognitive ability, a wide range of language skills, and the ability to work quickly and efficiently under timed conditions. It is designed to be challenging to identify individuals with a high potential for language learning. Test-takers who are preparing for the MLAT should focus on developing their cognitive ability, language skills, and time management skills to perform well on the test. You can actually study for the Modern Language Aptitude Test here.


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