Some important basics first: None of us will be able to pass an ICAO language proficiency test without making a single mistake. Even at ICAO Level 6, this is not a requirement. Rather, it is about being able to handle the language confidently, so that communication with ATC can be carried out efficiently even in difficult situations. To ensure that your ICAO language proficiency test is a complete success, we have put together some helpful information and examples for your preparation here.
The ICAO Language Proficiency Test begins with a first section consisting of several individual questions that should be answered briefly but precisely. Long answers are generally not necessary or desired. This section assesses your language ability and listening comprehension. Additionally, two picture descriptions are included as part of this section.
The second part is the so-called "interview": In a relaxed conversation, you can talk with the examiner about anything you like.
ICAO Language Proficiency Test: Structure
At this point you will be shown numbers and letters which will need to be read back in ICAO phraseology. Here you should be able to speak according to the ICAO phraseology and recall all letters from Alpha to Zulu. Just as you have learned in flight school.
Depending on your current career status, you will be listening to an ATIS, an IFR or VFR clearance. You will need to either give a readback of the clearance, describe the weather/ scenario in your own words or pick out specific details. A simple answer with 2 or 3 sentences is more than sufficient. Make sure to have a pen and paper ready.
You will be shown two different pictures. Describe the pictures in as much detail as possible. Make sure to look at details like the weather and the scenario. Don’t be afraid to paraphrase if you don’t know the proper word.
The ICAO language proficiency test ends with an open conversation. You will talk to the examiner about topics of your choice. It's not about the content, but rather about consistently mastering both basic and more complex grammatical structures and sentence patterns. You can freely choose and determine the conversation topics. What did you have for breakfast today? Where have you been on vacation? What is your favourite sport?
Please consider carefully, if you want to leave the sphere of aviation related topics or if you find it easier to stick to planes and flying: Tell us about your aviation career! Which airplane is your favourite type? What has been the most challenging situation for you as pilot of an aircraft? Have you ever experienced a real emergency?
Tip: Prepare this part of the exam particularly well and consider beforehand which topics will best help you to succeed in the exam. Since all of our examiners are pilots themselves, you can expect this part of the exam to feel like a relaxed conversation between colleagues. We share your passion for flying, so why not chat about it?
ICAO Language Proficiency Test: Examples
Spell the letters using the ICAO Alphabet: A – M – Q – L – H
Spell the following frequencies: 121,5 Mhz and 123,9 Mhz
Transponder Code 4293
Alitude 5900 ft
What does the controller want you to do?
Examination Level 4-6 only: Listen to the ATIS.
Which Runway is in use? Which time of the year do you think this ATIS was recorded?
Please describe what you see in this picture. What do you think might have caused the accident?
Please describe what you see in this picture. What do you think about the flight conditions, potential hazards and threats?
Please describe what you see in this picture.
Please tell us about your aviation career!
Many people are afraid of flying. How do you explain your passengers that flying is actually one of the safest ways to travel?
Please describe what you normally do during the preflight check to ensure your aircraft is safe and ready to fly.
Finally, we recommend that you pay attention to common errors that are often made when translating from your native language to English. In our preparation booklet, you will find an overview of the correct use of future, present, and past tenses, prepositions, and adjectives. Especially if your language skills are exactly between two ICAO levels, paying attention to these details can make a significant difference and help you take a big step forward.