Aviation English Test

AvEn test is endorsed by the HCAA and delivered by a renowned company with an excellent record in quality and training, Superior-Air. AvEn test aims at assessing the speaking and listening proficiency of speakers in common, concrete aviation-related topics, in voice-only and in face-to-face communications according to the standards set by the ICAO Doc 9835. The language which is assessed includes both radiotelephony conversations, pilot and air traffic controller phraseology, aviation register and plain English. AvEn test exposes the candidates to routine and non-routine situations based on authentic language and engages them in conversational role-plays and simulations based on functions which aviation professionals are required to stand to.

AvEn test has no age restrictions or educational requirements, it does require though familiarization with the aviation context. The multiple test versions refer to PPL holders, trainee pilots, ATPL(A/H) and CPL(A/H) holders, Instrument Rating, airliners, air force pilots, drone pilots, area/ approach and tower air traffic controllers.

The AvEn test involves direct testing according to paragraph of Doc. 9835 where the test-taker interacts real time with an interlocutor, the speech sample is recorded and then double rated. In cases of rating disagreement the sample is rated by a third rater. The operational level 4 is the minimum level required for someone to be considered safe in the aviation community and it is the minimum grade awarded among the six ICAO descriptors of the rating scale which are tested (Structure, Fluency, Interaction, Vocabulary, Pronunciation, Comprehension).

According to HCAA, ICAO Level (4) is valid for 3 years, ICAO Level (5) is valid for 6 years and ICAO Level (6) lasts for a lifetime. For limitations on the validity of ICAO Levels for international CAAs, please check with local authorities. The above restrictions are set by the HCAA and might be reviewed at any time without notice.

AvEn Test Description
AvEn test assesses all six ICAO levels including expert level 6. AvEn test is composed of four parts examining language production through speaking tasks and language comprehension through listening tasks. Reading and writing skills are not examined. Both listening comprehension and speaking are assessed over face-to-face and non-face-to-face communications in aviation-related workplaces. The duration of the test is at least thirty minutes long to allow at least 15-min to the assessment of speaking and at least 15-min to the assessment of listening. The listening comprehension is assessed separately from the speaking during rating.

AvEn Test Content
The first part of the test aims at examining plain English. It includes questions about the candidates’ life and personal aviation experiences. The interlocutor has to choose from a variety of questions relative to the candidates profile. The candidate is expected to expose a conversational style of communication responding the questions promptly and comprehensively.

From the second part onwards, the AvEn test becomes more aviation specific, assessing proficiency in phraseology, in R/T communication and in plain English, in a variety of routine and non-routine situations. More specifically, the second part of the examination includes a task which simulates a routine situation a pilot might find himself/herself into. It combines listening comprehension of an audio file, which is usually an ATIS report. Here the pilot is required to scan the recorded prompt for four pieces of information that are required such as, altitude of flight, hazards on the runway, weather conditions, change of route. The third part of the examination includes a role-play task, unfolding in a non-face to face situation and more specifically in a telephone conversation between a pilot and an air traffic controller, where the candidate is required to resolve a misunderstanding or offer clarifications. Here the candidate should ask the controller/pilot proper questions in order to retrieve the missing information for his flight and finally to resolve misunderstandings whenever they arise.

The final part includes a simulation task which examines a variety of skills. The task simulates an non-routine aviation event where a missing plane transmits blindly a message with their position and information about their emergency. The candidate is the pilot of a by-passing flight who overhears the transmitted message. The candidate needs to relay the transmitted message of the plane in distress to the air traffic controller. The candidate here is assessed on his/her proficiency to use phraseology in R/T and plain English over the radio frequency in emergency situations.

Requirements & Instructions for taking the Aviation English test

The AvEn test can be taken by PPL, ATPL, CPL, UAV (Drones), ATC holders or students. When it comes to student pilots and drone pilots, a familiarization with the aviation context and terminology is required to obtain the minimum ICAO level 4.

In order for someone to pass the Aviation English exam a grade of 4 out of 6 in all of the six descriptors (fluency, pronunciation, interaction, comprehension, vocabulary, and structure) is required. Detailed information about the six descriptors that ICAO imposes.

The overall score of the exam is the minimum score that someone is awarded in one of the six descriptors. For example, if someone is very weak in pronunciation but exceptionally good in all the other descriptors then his/her weak pronunciation might fail them. On the contrary, if someone wants to be awarded a level 6, then 6 is required to each and every descriptor.

Katerina Tselika
ICAO English

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