Test of English for Aviation

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Not to be confused with TOEFA.

The Test of English for Aviation (T.E.A.) is a language proficiency test designed and developed by Mayflower College in the United Kingdom. Although the developers claim that TEA was developed in accordance with ICAO DOC 9835 (Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements Ed 2, 2010) and ICAO CIR 318 (Language Testing Criteria for Global Harmonisation, 2009), the TEA is not endorsed by ICAO under the Aviation English Language Testing Service.


Following several accidents and incidents where language was a contributory factor (such as the Tenerife airport disaster: Communication misunderstandings), the International Civil Aviation Organization now requires all civil pilots and Air traffic controllers (working in an international environment) to have a minimum level of English.

Six skills (Vocabulary, Structure, Pronunciation, Fluency, Comprehension, Interactions) are assessed on a scale from 1 to 6 (1 = Pre-Elementary, 6=Expert). The lowest of the 6 scores determines the overall score. Level 4 (Operational) is the required minimum. Only speaking and listening skills are assessed.

The test takes the form of a one-to-one interview between the candidate and a trained examiner.

Section One Introduction (5–6 minutes) The candidate is asked a series of questions on common, concrete and work-related topics relating to his/her aviation background.

Section Two Interactive Comprehension (8–12 minutes) Part 2A: Candidates listen to aviation-specific recordings of non-routine and emergency situations. Candidates are required to explain what they understand about the situation. Parts 2B & 2C: Candidates listen to a series of problem-solving role-play scenarios. In Part 2B, the candidate is required to ask questions to the speaker. In Part 2C, the candidate is required to give advice to the speaker.

Section Three Description and Discussion (8 minutes) Candidates are presented with a series of aviation-related images and are asked to describe and compare what they see. The examiner then asks further questions related to the images.

There are currently 96 T.E.A. test centres in the world. T.E.A. Ltd. with Plymouth University are the developers of the International Maritime English Testing System (IMETS)

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