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How to prepare for ICAO English Exam

Updated: May 30, 2023

Read Books

Any book or English text helps, but reading about aviation English is especially helpful. You'll see correct grammatical structures and aviation English vocabulary with a range of professional terms.

You bought an English textbook, you started reading, but for some reason you stopped after the first ten pages?

Learning English is not easy and takes a lot of time, energy, willpower and stamina. Buying textbooks is often not enough.

The most important factor that will enable the development of aviation English is practice and mastery of aviation phraseology.

It is very important to be familiar with the patterns used at every stage of the flight and to be able to put it into practice.

In order to create this opportunity for thought and practice, CaptainPilot developed AVIATION LISTENERS ( that will make your job much easier and offered this training to all aviators.

Please check how effective it is.

Free REAL LIFE audios with exercises and obtainable transcripts to make you a professional of the Aviation English Communications.

Practice your Aviation English Listening Skills by working the exercises that we have put together for you. The key to read back efficiently is to have very great listening skills and to write down as quickly as you can. Then, everything will fall into place.

Listen English

You can listen to the radio broadcast. If the broadcast is too difficult for you to understand, you may want to start with something simpler. However, you need to learn to master speech patterns and how to use them in which phases of flight. Improve your Aviation English Listening Skills by studying the exercises we've put together for you, also on the CaptainPilot website. We believe that you will develop exactly these skills and you can improve it with our Aviation Podcast service by CaptainPilot. (

The key to effective rereading is to have excellent listening skills and write as quickly as possible. Then everything will fall into place.

Clearance Shorthand

The following shorthand system is recommended by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Applicants for the Instrument Rating may use any shorthand system, in any language, which ensures accurate compliance with air traffic control (ATC) instructions. No shorthand system is required by regulation and no knowledge of shorthand is required for the FAA Knowledge Test; however, because of the vital need for reliable communication between the pilot and controller, clearance information should be unmistakably clear. The following symbols and contractions represent words and phrases frequently used in clearances. Most of them are used regularly by ATC personnel. By practicing this shorthand, omitting the parenthetical words, you will be able to copy long clearances as fast as they are read. You can download and study the Clearance Shorthand document recommended by CaptainPilot FAA from the link below.

One good way is to listen to the ATIS broadcast, because you can check if you got the message! Listen to ATC communication

You can use the site, which provides live radio broadcasts from many parts of the world.

EDDM (Munich, Germany) - good quality

KJFK (New York, USA) - may be harder to understand

KSFO (San Francisco, USA) - may be harder to understand

The ATIS ( prepared by CaptainPilot will be great benefit in your review of the Web page that contains the examples and the text.

Aviation english course

By participating in a one-to-one language proficiency training course, you develop your language proficiency effectively. However, you cannot expect your aviation English to improve at the same time. For this, there is a need for a systematic approach that will benefit from online training and especially improve the aviation culture. Only in this way, you can increase your vocabulary day by day and automatically improve your comprehension skills.

CaptainPilot has put into service the Aviation English ( ) video training package that it has prepared to develop all these skills.

Online Learning

Many applicants are not successful due to a lack of language knowledge. There are several websites and materials available online for free. Take advantage of some.

A foreign language cannot be learned in a few hours. However, you can prepare yourself for the ICAO English exam.

CaptainPilot ELPAC Training
CaptainPilot ELPAC Training

The ELPAC (English Language Proficiency for Aeronautical Communication) test fully meets ICAO standards and recommended practices. The ELPAC test suite has been designed to assess the level of proficiency of air traffic controllers and pilots in the context of radio telephony communications and in accordance with the ICAO language proficiency requirements that were put in place in 2011.

The ELPAC test for pilot and air traffic controllers is fully recognized by ICAO for being in compliance with ICAO Doc 9835.

As CaptainPilot, we offer the package ( prepared about ELPAC completely free of charge to our customers and the ELPAC test You can find the ELPAC EXAM ( package, which explains the question types with examples, in all our membership packages (

Wait for the unexpected

The ICAO English language exam allows us to assess your actual knowledge only if you do not know the exam content in advance and are unable to prepare for certain questions. Therefore, you have to confront events and contexts that may be non-standard or


We do not evaluate the technical accuracy of your answer. The ICAO English exam is a technical exam, but does not focus on writing or standard aviation idioms. Don't be afraid to say anything you're not sure about in an aviation context.

The ICAO is not an undergraduate skill test or undergraduate proficiency check. Language proficiency examiners do not assess your technical aviation knowledge and skills. As long as your ICAO English is excellent, don't be afraid to say something with the wrong content, nothing to worry about!

When an emergency develops, crews have to use plain English and phraseology (besides skills and training) to resolve the situation speaking to the controller. Around the world, pilots and controllers should be tested on language proficiency which should include testing while under stress and pressure. These audios may provide you a good idea of what to say if you ever encounter a similar situation in your second language.

You can find Abnormal Situations ( in the AVIATION LISTENERS section by creating exercises to improve language proficiency when establishing pilot-controller communication in an in-flight emergency in CaptainPilot.


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