ALTA Language Services administers language assessments to help government agencies, healthcare organizations, and businesses across the country objectively measure language performance for bilingual positions. Our tests come in a variety of formats, depending on the skill tested, and are available in more than 100 languages.
If you’ve been asked to take one of these tests, you might be wondering what to expect and how to prepare.
These tests will assess your level of proficiency in the tested language. You do not have to prepare anything specific before taking the test other than polishing your existing proficiency by speaking, reading, and writing into the language as much as you can.
If you are experiencing a technical issue with your test or have a question about the process, we also recommend you consult our Frequently Asked Questions.
The instructions for accessing your test will be sent to you by your hiring organization or by ALTA and will generally contain a link for online tests or a phone number and access code.
You should allow about 40 minutes for automated listening and speaking tests, one hour for a reading or writing tests, and 2 hours for a translation test. Live listening/speaking and interpretation tests generally take no more than 30 minutes.
Many of our tests are conducted over the phone or online, and for these tests we recommend that you ensure you have a clear and reliable phone or internet connection in a quiet place ahead of taking the test. Your hiring organization may choose to have a third party supervise the test to ensure the integrity and security of the testing process. In the case of an online proctored test, your proctor will observe the test via webcam.
If you are taking a test on-site at a physical location, please follow the directions provided by your hiring organization.
Once you’ve completed the test, results will be sent to your organization in 1 week or less. The results will be sent directly to your organization only. ALTA cannot provide you or any other organization with the results, so any request related to obtaining or transferring results must be directed to the hiring organization.
View our test prep materials or FAQ’s for common questions about taking a test.