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ICAO English Assessment Body

ICAO English Language Proficiency exam is now available at the Faculty of Aeronautics of Technical University in Kosice. 


ICAO Slovak Language Proficiency exam is also available at the Faculty of Aeronautics of Technical University in Kosice. 


Please contact us at:
Letecká fakulta Technická universita Košice  
LAB 009
Rampová 7
041 21 Košice

LAB 009 LF TUKE provides the ICAO English exam por ICAO Slovak language exam for all aviation specialists in compliance with ICAO requirements. 

Take the ICAO Language Proficiency exam in the friendly and professional environment and enjoy being tested by skilled assessors.  

Our exam meets the ICAO English or Slovak Language Proficiency Requirements for licensing purposes. 


Take the exam from home or work. You can also take the ICAO Language Proficiency exam in an online environment using webcam and microphone. Once you have completed your online exam you will receive your result and language certificate within 2 days. 


Exam procedure

The whole language assessment takes about 30 minutes, it includes:

  • Interview, free conversation with the language proficiency examiner
  • Description of a picture with an aeronautical content 
  • Read back – listening with understanding 
  •  Analysis of aviation dialogues (listening and speaking)


ICAO levels

All pilots shall meet the ICAO English language proficiency requirements when they fly internationally or ICAO Slovak language proficiency for domestic flights in the Slovak Republic. 

Pilots are supposed to communicate effectively with air traffic controllers.  

Not all radio communication situations are standardized and operations might bring extraordinary situations when plain English is used beside ICAO standardized phraseology.  The ICAO Standards on language proficiency require that aeroplane, helicopter, powered-lift and airship pilots, air traffic controllers and aeronautical station operators who demonstrate proficiency below the Expert Level (Level 6) shall be formally evaluated at intervals in accordance with an individual's demonstrated proficiency level.  

The interval will have to be established by each Civil Aviation Authority. ICAO is recommending an interval of six years for those at the Extended Level (Level 5) and three years for those at the Operational Level 4. 

Our exam is recommended for qualified and experienced aviation professionals, flight crew and air traffic controllers. Obviously, our testing centre welcomes all other customers from various professional areas who use aviation Enlish. 


About ICAO LAB 009 

Our test centre has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Slovak Republic as an ICAO Doc 9835 and Regulation (EC) 1178/2011 FCL.055 compliant Language Assessment Body. 

Our exams comply with the EALTS (English for Aviation Language Testing System) which is a multi-level testing system designed to assess the language proficiency of air traffic controllers, commercial flight crew, recreational pilots, and all other personnel involved in the air operations.  


The requirement for the ICAO Language Proficiency Test is applicable to all ICAO member states. 

During your assessment you will be supposed to take a direct interview between you and an interlocutor in which a candidate’s language proficiency is assessed across a range of tasks involving both face-to-face and voice only communications. The interview provides the candidate with the opportunity to demonstrate his English language proficiency. There are two certified examiners assessing candidate´s language proficiency following criteria contained in the ICAO Holistic Descriptors of operational language proficiency.  

Following achieved tests results, an applicant is rated on a scale from 0 (unsatisfactory) to 6 (native English speaking person). Minimum acceptable level for pilots and air traffic controllers (ATC) according to the ICAO requirements is Level 4, Level 5 and Level 6. 



Please contact us at:
Letecká fakulta
Rampová 7
041 21 Košice

Contacts us for:

  • general administration enquiries
  • general test enquiries, 
  • test recognition enquiries, 
  • test validation enquiries, 
  • all further information.  


Confirmation of enrolment

After the application has been received by LAB Administration, our test centre confirms the candidate of the dates and times.


What happens on the test day? 

Please make sure you arrive at the LAB at least thirty minutes before your exam. Please allow for our administrator to check your identity card.  

Make sure you bring the passport or national identity card with you. Your personal items must be left outside the test room. Please mind that according an ICAO Doc 9835 the test will be recorded for security and quality purposes. If you are unhappy about any aspect of the test day procedures, you must speak to the administrator on the test day. The test results will not be available on the test day!  

Your certificate will be printed and posted to your delivery address within 5 days of your test date. 

The test performance is scored according to the ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale. You will be given a score from 1 to 6 for your performance in Pronunciation, Structure, Vocabulary, Fluency, Comprehension and Interactions.  

Each skill is assessed separately.Following mandatory ICAO regulations, the overall ICAO Level will be the lowest one. 




The ICAO descriptors 

ICAO has developed the criteria by which Your English will be judged. The full descriptors can be viewed here.   

The six levels of pronunciation descriptors are applicable at all levels to native and non-native speakers. This implies that native English speakers may demonstrate Elementary Level 2 proficiency if their regional dialect is so localized that it is not readily understood by those outside of that particular region. On the other hand, speakers whose speech patterns clearly identify them as non-native speakers (having a so-called “accent”) may demonstrate Expert Level 6 proficiency, as long as this meets the criterion of “almost never” interfering with ease of understanding. 

Pre-operational 3: Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation and frequently interfere with ease of understanding.  Operational 4: Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation, but only sometimes interfere with ease of understanding.  Extended 5: Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation, though influenced by the first language or regional variation, rarely interfere with ease of understanding.  Expert 6: Pronunciation, stress, rhythm and intonation, though possibly influenced by the first language or regional variation, almost never interfere with ease of understanding.
Accent at this Pre-operational Level 3 is so strong as to render comprehension by an international community of aeronautical radiotelephony users very difficult or impossible. It should be noted that native or second- language speakers may be assessed at this level in cases where a regional variety of the language has not been sufficiently attenuated. 

Operational Level 4 speakers demonstrate a marked accent, or localized regional variety of English. 

Occasionally, a proficient listener may have to pay close attention to understand or may have to clarify something from time to time. Operational Level 4 is certainly not a perfect level of proficiency; it is the minimum level of proficiency determined to be safe for air traffic control communications. While it is not an Expert level, it is important to keep in mind that pronunciation plays the critical role in aiding comprehension between two non-native speakers of English. 

Extended Level 5 speakers demonstrate a marked accent, or localized regional variety of English, but one which rarely interferes with how easily understood their speech is. They are always clear and understandable, although, only occasionally, a proficient listener may have to pay close attention.  An Expert Level 6 speaker may be a speaker of English as a first language with a widely understood dialect or may be a very proficient second-language speaker, again with a widely used or understood accent and/or dialect. The speakers’ accent or dialect may or may not identify them as second- language users, but the pronunciation patterns or any difficulties or “mistakes” almost never interfere with the ease with which they are understood. Expert speakers are always clear and understandable. 



Relevant grammatical structures and sentence patterns are determined by language functions appropriate to the task. Users may refer to the communicative aeronautical language functions, to the list of controller communicative tasks and to the classification of basic and complex structures in Appendix B for guidance. Language teaching specialists generally categorize grammatical errors into two classes: “global” and “local”. Global errors are those which interfere with meaning; local errors are those which do not interfere with meaning. 

Pre-operational 3: Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns associated with predictable situations are not always well controlled. 

Errors frequently interfere with meaning. 

Operational 4: Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are used creatively and are usually well controlled. Errors may occur, particularly in unusual or unexpected circumstances, but rarely interfere with meaning.  Extended 5: Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are consistently well controlled. Complex structures are attempted but with errors which sometimes interferes with meaning.  Expert 6: Both basic and complex grammatical structures and sentence patterns are consistently well controlled. 
A weak command of basic grammatical structures at this level will limit available range of expression or result in errors which could lead to misunderstandings.  Operational Level 4 speakers have good command of basic grammatical structures. They do not merely have a memorized set of words or phrases on which they rely but have sufficient command of basic grammar to create new meaning as appropriate. They demonstrate local errors and infrequent global errors and communication is effective overall. Level 4 speakers will not usually attempt complex structures, and when they do, quite a lot of errors would be expected resulting in less effective communication. 

Extended Level 5 speakers demonstrate greater control of complex grammatical structures than do Operational Level 4 speakers and may commit global errors from time to time when using complex structures. The critical difference between the Level 4 and Level 5 requirements concerns the use of basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns compared to the use of complex structures (see the glossary of basic and complex structures in Appendix B, 

Part IV). At Level 5, the structure descriptors refer to consistent control of basic structure, with errors possibly occurring when complex structures and language are used. There is actually a big jump between Level 4 and Level 5. Level 5 speakers will have a more sophisticated use of English overall, but will exhibit some errors in their use of complex language structures, but not in their basic structure patterns.

Expert Level 6 speakers do not demonstrate consistent global structural or grammatical errors but may exhibit some local errors. 



Vocabulary includes individual words and fixed expression. Vocabulary can be classified by the domains of meaning to which it refers. A partial list of vocabulary domains related to aviation communications is found in Appendix B of this manual. While memorizing phraseologies is neither an acceptable means of demonstrating language proficiency nor an effective or recommended language learning strategy, it is undeniable that context is a relevant factor in language proficiency. Therefore, learning or testing that focuses on, or is designed to elicit vocabulary related to, aeronautical radiotelephony communications is preferable. 

Pre-operational 3: Vocabulary range and accuracy are often sufficient to communicate on common, concrete or work-related topics, but range is limited and the word choice often inappropriate. Is often unable to paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary. Operational 4: Vocabulary range and accuracy are usually sufficient to communicate effectively on common, concrete and work- related topics. Can often paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary in unusual or unexpected circumstances Extended 5: Vocabulary range and accuracy are sufficient to communicate effectively on common, concrete and work-related topics. Paraphrases consistently and successfully. Vocabulary is sometimes idiomatic. Expert 6: Vocabulary range and accuracy are sufficient to communicate effectively on a wide variety of familiar and unfamiliar topics. Vocabulary is idiomatic, nuanced and sensitive to register. 
Gaps in vocabulary knowledge and/or choice of wrong or non-existent words are apparent at this level. This has a negative impact on fluency or results in errors which could lead to misunderstandings. The frequent inability to paraphrase unknown words or in the process of clarification makes accurate communication impossible.  An Operational Level 4 speaker will likely not have a well-developed sensitivity to register (see glossary on page (ix)). A speaker at this level will usually be able to manage communication on work-related topics, but may sometimes need clarification. When faced with a communication breakdown, an Operational Level 4 speaker can paraphrase and negotiate meaning so that the message is understood. The ability to paraphrase includes appropriate choices of simple vocabulary and considerate use of speech rate and pronunciation. Extended Level 5 speakers may display some sensitivity to register, with a lexical range which may not be sufficient to communicate effectively in as broad a range of topics as an Expert Level 6 speaker, but a speaker with Extended proficiency will have no trouble paraphrasing whenever necessary. 

Level 6 speakers demonstrate a strong sensitivity to register. Another marker of strong proficiency seems to be the acquisition of, and facility with, idiomatic expressions and the ability to communicate nuanced ideas. As such, use of idioms may be taken into account in assessment procedures designed to identify Level 6 users in a 

non-radiotelephony context. This is not however intended to imply that idiomatic usages are a desirable feature of aeronautical radiotelephony communications. On the contrary, use of idioms is an obstacle to intelligibility and mutual understanding between non-expert users and should therefore be avoided by all users in this environment. 



For our purposes, fluency is intended to refer to the naturalness of the flow of speech production, the degree to which comprehension is hindered by any unnatural or unusual hesitancy, distracting starts and stops, distracting fillers (em … huh … er …) or inappropriate silence. Levels of fluency will be most apparent during longer utterances in an interaction. They will also be affected by the degree of expectedness of the preceding input which is dependent on familiarity with scripts or schemata described in Chapter 3. 

Pre-operational 3: Produces stretches of language, but phrasing and pausing are often inappropriate. 

Hesitations or slowness in language processing may prevent effective communication. Fillers are sometimes distracting. 

Operational 4: Produces stretches of language at an appropriate tempo. There may be occasional loss of fluency on transition from rehearsed or formulaic speech to spontaneous interaction, but this does not prevent effective communication. Can make limited use of discourse markers or connectors. Fillers are not distracting.  Extended 5: Able to speak at length with relative ease on familiar topics but may not vary speech flow as a stylistic device. Can make use of appropriate discourse markers or connectors. Expert 6: Able to speak at length with a natural, effortless flow. Varies speech flow for stylistic effect, e.g. to emphasize a point. Uses appropriate discourse markers and connectors spontaneously. 

The slowness of speech flow at this level is such that communication lacks concision and efficiency. Long silent pauses frequently interrupt the speech flow. 

Speakers at this level will fail to obtain the professional confidence of their interlocutors. 

Speech rate at this level may be slowed by the requirements of language processing, but remains fairly constant and does not negatively affect the speaker’s involvement in communication. The speaker has the possibility of speaking a little faster than the ICAO recommended rate of 

100 words per minute if the situation requires (Annex 10, Volume II, b)). 

Rate of speech and organization of discourse at this level approach natural fluency. Under appropriate circumstances, rates significantly higher than the ICAO recommended rate of 100 words per minute can be achieved without negatively affecting intelligibility. 

Fluency at this level is native- like or near native-like. It is notably characterized by a high degree of flexibility in producing language and in adapting the speech rate to the context of communication and the purposes of the speaker. 



This skill refers to the ability to listen and understand. In air traffic control communications, pilots rely on the clear and accurate information provided to them by controllers for safety. It is not sufficient for air traffic controllers to be able to handle most pilot communications; they must be ready for the unexpected. Similarly, pilots must be able to understand air traffic controller instructions, especially when these differ from what a pilot expects to hear. It is during complications in aviation that communications become most crucial, with a greater reliance upon plain language. While comprehension is only one out of six skills in the Rating Scale, it represents half of the linguistic workload in spoken communications. 

Pre-operational 3: Comprehension is often accurate on common, concrete and work-related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. May fail to understand a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events.  Operational 4: Comprehension is mostly accurate on common, concrete and work-related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. When the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events, comprehension may be slower or require clarification strategies.  Extended 5: Comprehension is accurate on common, concrete and work-related topics and mostly accurate when the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events. Is able to comprehend a range of speech varieties (dialect and/or accent) or registers.  Expert 6: Comprehension is consistently accurate in nearly all contexts and includes comprehension of linguistic and cultural subtleties. 
Level 3 comprehension is limited to routine communi- cations in optimum conditions. A pilot or controller at this level would not be proficient enough to understand the full range of radiotelephony communications, including unexpected events, substandard speech behaviours or inferior radio reception. 

As with all Operational Level 4 descriptors, comprehension is not expected to be perfectly accurate in all instances. 

However, pilots or air traffic controllers will need to have strategies available which allow them to ultimately comprehend the unexpected or unusual communication. Unmarked or complex textual relations are occasionally misunderstood or missed. The descriptor of Operational Level 4 under “Interactions” clarifies the need for clarification strategies. Failure to understand a clearly communicated unexpected communication, even after seeking clarification, should result in the assignment of a lower proficiency level assessment. 

Level 5 users achieve a high degree of detailed accuracy in their understanding of aeronautical radiotelephony communications. Their understanding is not hindered by the most frequently encountered non-standard dialects or regional accents, nor by the less well-structured messages that are associated with unexpected or stressful events. 

Level 6 users achieve a high degree of detailed accuracy and flexibility in their under- standing of aeronautical radiotelephony communi- cations regardless of the situation or dialect used. They further have the ability to discern a meaning which is not made obvious or explicit (“read between the lines”), using tones of voice, choice of register, etc., as clues to unexpressed meanings. 



Because radiotelephony communications take place in a busy environment, the communications of air traffic controllers and pilots must not only be clear, concise and unambiguous, but appropriate responses must be delivered efficiently and a rapid response time is expected. The interactions skill refers to this ability, as well as to the ability to initiate exchanges and to identify and clear up misunderstandings.

Pre-operational 3: Responses are sometimes immediate, appropriate and informative. Can initiate and maintain exchanges with reasonable ease on familiar topics and in predictable situations. Generally inadequate when dealing with an unexpected turn of events.  Operational 4: Responses are usually immediate, appropriate and informative. Initiates and maintains exchanges even when dealing with an unexpected turn of events. Deals adequately with apparent misunderstandings by checking, confirming or clarifying.  Extended 5: Responses are immediate, appropriate and informative. Manages the speaker/listener relationship effectively.  Expert 6: Interacts with ease in nearly all situations. Is sensitive to verbal and non- verbal cues and responds to them appropriately. 

The interaction features at this level are such that communication lacks concision and efficiency. 

Misunderstandings and non- understandings are frequent leading to possible breakdowns in communication. Speakers at this level will not gain the confidence of their interlocutors. 

A pilot or air traffic controller who does not understand an unexpected communication must be able to communicate that fact. It is much safer to query a communication, to clarify, or even to simply acknowledge that one does not understand rather than to allow silence to mistakenly represent comprehension. At Operational Level 4, it is acceptable that comprehension is not perfect 100 per cent of the time when dealing with unexpected situations, but Level 4 speakers need to be skilled at checking, seeking confirmation, or clarifying a situation or communication.  Interactions at this level are based on high levels of comprehension and fluency. While skills in checking, seeking confirmation and clarification remain important, they are less frequently deployed. On the other hand speakers at this level are capable of exercising greater control over the conduct and direction of the conversation.  Expert speakers display no difficulties in reacting or initiating interaction. They are additionally able to recognize and to use non-verbal signs of mental and emotional states (for example, intonations or unusual stress patterns). They display authority in the conduct of the conversation. 


Appeal procedure 

Each candidate has the right to file an appeal, and can email it to the official email address icao………………. within 14 days from taking the exam. 

In case that an appeal was filed within 14 days, the LAB 009 LF TUKE has an internal appeal system within an expert assessor who independently re-evaluates the test. Third raster’s evaluation is decisive to define the final result of the exam. 



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