• A test of plain English in an aviation context for licensing purposes – it is not a test of radiotelephony or Aviation knowledge.
  • It tests the ability to communicate in English – does not test the operational knowledge.
  • A face-to-face, human interaction test with 1 interlocutor who asks questions for detailed responses
  • A 25-30 minute test that consists of 4 parts.  We will look at each of these parts below.



  • AFAET interlocutors are familiar with aviation. Nevertheless there are no extra marks to be gained from talking about correct operational procedures. Equally, nothing is lost by not knowing about a particular area of operations.
  • AFAET tests plain English, not phraseology – the ICAO language standards have been introduced to improve communication when phraseology is insufficient.



  • ICAO has developed the criteria by which your English will be judged.
  • AFAET candidates can score from Level 1 to Level 6 but most candidates score Level 3, 4 or 5. A simplified version of Levels 2 – 5 is below.Ssss
  • Candidates are awarded a score from 1 to 6 for each of the 6 skills: pronunciation, structure, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, interactions.
  • It is the LOWEST of these 6 marks which decides the overall score.
  • In the next sections will look at each part of the test, and give some advice on how to do your best.


  • You will be asked a series of questions related to your background, family and education, them about your your role in aviation, and then to a specific aviation-related topic.
  • There are no right or wrong answers.
  • Show you understand the questions by responding to them directly and fully.
  • The interlocutor will ask you further questions, to encourage you to talk more about some of the things you mention in your responses.

Questions sample

  • Do you still remember any particular teacher who had a strong influence on you?
  • Does your family influence you to be in this field?
  • How frequently does your family get together?
  • Could you tell me about your place of birth or the place where you grew up?
  • Could you talk about yourself?
  • Could you tell me about your role in aviation?
  • Can you describe what you do in that role?
  • Why did you choose to be a ________?
  • What do you like about your job (Are there any things you don’t like)?
  • Would you like to change what you do in the future? Why/why not?


  • You will be given 4 radiotelephony messages to read :


            Phrase 1

Miami Center, Sierra 456TA, request instruction to divert to Orlando International Airport due to thunderstorm and low visibility.

            Phrase 2

Jerba Tower, GB-AAZ, we skidded off the runway into soft ground. We are stuck in the mud to the hub and unable to move.

            Phrase 3

ORLY Tower, LUFTHANSA 139, our reversers are inoperative. Request state of runway and braking action information.

            Phrase 4

Tunis Control, TS APM, we have been delayed by adverse winds and we request a more direct routeing to destination.




  • In this part you will listen to a dialogue between a pilot and a controller involving a non routine situation.
  • You will listen to the dialogue one time, but you can ask to listen to it a second time.
  • After listening you are asked to summarize the situation and talk about the key points in the dialogue.


Listening  Script

  • Pil: is on N by the runways here … er.. we can’t see much because it’s so foggy. Are we cleared to cross straight ahead on N?
  • Ctl : , cross runway 16, join taxiway NT on the opposite side.
  • Pil: NT on the opposite side / We’re approaching K here … oh … There’s somebody taking off!.
  • Ctl : , you shouldn’t be near K. Hold your position.
  • Pil: Tower, this is MC798. We are on .a runway. I’m currently looking to the right at K. We are on 23R at the intersection of 16.  We did not connect on N. We are by K. K is to our right. We’re on an active runway. MC798.
  • Ctl : MC798, 23R is not an active runway.
  • Pil: Er… I’m sorry, Ma’am. We’re on 23L and 16. and I am facing K. I’m looking out the window and I can see a sign that says « 23L” to my right, and there is a Sign saying “16” to my left and a yellow sign saying “K” to my right, and another sign to my left.
  • Ctl : Just go straight ahead. Tell me when you    get to the next sign please.
  • Pil: OK, we’re now on 23L. We are approaching K now
  • Ctl : MC798,  Turn right at K and make a slight left turn onto taxiway C. Hold short of runway 23R.
  • Pil: We’re on K and we’re clear of the runway. We’re     approaching C on K,




  • In this part you will listen to 5 radiotelephony messages from a pilot or a controller.
  • You will listen to the messages one at a time.
  • You will listen to the each message one time, but you can ask to listen to it a second time.
  • After listening you are asked to repeat the message as you heard it or you just paraphrase it.


Part 3b  script


  • She’s epileptic apparently, it started off with some twitching of her face and hands but it’s gradually got worse and worse
  • Expect hail 15 miles ahead of your present position
  • The weather is expected to improve greatly when the front has passed
  • We have a distressed passenger, he’s asthmatic an has packed his inhaler in the hold
  • These clouds are building up very quickly around the airplane




  • Part 4-A : Radiotelephony

Each candidate should be presented with instructions about a situation in English or in French and he will reformulate it in a radiotelephony message in English (it must not be an exercise of translation).

Example :

  • Vous êtes le TSAAZ, au poste 5, par suite de la panne d’un tapis roulant. Le chargement des bagages prend plus de temps que prévu. Vous ne pourrez pas respecter le créneau alloue. demandez d’être mis en instance pour l’attribution d’un nouveau créneau de départ à partir de 1200 UTC.
  • Tunis Tower, TS-AAZ on stand 5, luggage loading takes longer than expected due to a conveyor belt failure. We’ll be unable to comply with our allocated slot time. Please put us on request for a new slot  after 1200 UTC.


  • Part 4 b: Picture Description

Each candidate should be presented with a picture in part three, leading to an extended discussion.

you will look at the picture for 60 seconds and then you are asked to give as much details about the picture as possible in 90 seconds, the picture will be available for you  until you finish your description.

Example :

  • Part 4 c : Extended discussion

You will take part in an interactive discussion of general aviation topics, and how aviation affects the wider world.

The examiner will discuss these topics with you to allow you to show your ability to give opinions, speculate about the future and justify your ideas.

Example :

  • How important is the role of technology in safety?
  • Should passengers be worried about technology failure?
  • How could technology help pilots and controllers more in the future?
  • What is a runway incursions and what can we do to prevent it?
  • Why is it so important for pilots to have very good English skills?




  • Give full answers.  Try to show you can connect ideas and explain your opinions.
  • Listen to the tense of the question.  Should you answer be in the past tense, present tense or future tense?
  • If you do not understand the question, it is much better to ask!  Do not give irrelevant answers.
  • Try to connect your ideas and explain yourself.  When you do not expand on opinions or statements, the examiner may ask you to explain what you mean.  Be prepared to interact with the examiner.
  • Long confusing answers are not as good as shorter, more informative ones!
  • If you do not understand a question, demonstrate that you can clearly ask for help – the examiner will explain anything you ask about, and it is a sign of good interactions.

Time allocated for each part

Etapes A B C
Etape 1 5 minutes
Etape 2 3 minutes
Etape 3 5 minutes 5 minutes
Etape 4 3 minutes 3 minutes 5-10 minutes




The Test Format

  • The AFAET test will comprise proficiency assessment in speaking and listening designed to measure language proficiency in an aviation context where the Examiner will present several different scenarios and ask the candidate to respond. It shall include assessment on:
  • Listening comprehension
  • Speaking ability
  • Responses to different scenarios
  • The test consists of five parts.
  • Interview
  • Interactive comprehension : 1 passage
  • Listen and Read back
  • radiotelephony
  • Description and Discussion


The Test

  • measures English language proficiency for radiotelephony communications
  • assesses the skills of listening comprehension and speaking only
  • measures English proficiency in an aviation context
  • includes, but does not overtly measure, standard ICAO phraseology
  • measures language proficiency according to the ICAO rating scale and holistic descriptors at levels 1 to 6 and the norms fixed by the Tunisian Civil Aviation from 0/20 to 20/20 (Décision 029 du 13 Février 2009)


  • Assessment is carried out according to the ICAO rating scale and holistic descriptors by a minimum of two raters. It can be sometimes assessed by a third rater.
  • The ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale consists of six language skills (Pronunciation, Structure, Vocabulary, Fluency, Comprehension, and Interactions).
  • Each skill is measured separately during the AFAET and reported separately using the DGAC scale from 0 to 20 (no halves or quarters of a point) and then converted to ICAO Scale Levels 1 through 6.
  • As specified by the standards, the scoring is based on a conjunctive model in which the Final score is determined based on the lowest subscore level.


In which parts of the test are each of the profiles assessed?


  • Pronunciation is assessed throughout the test.
Characteristics DGAC Scoring ICAO Level
the candidate pronunciation is heavily influenced by his first language, and cannot be understood 1-5 1
It is heavily influenced by his first language, and usually interferes with ease of understanding 6-8 2
it is  influenced by first language, and frequently interferes with ease of understanding he is 9-11 3
It is influenced by first language, but only sometimes interferes with ease of understanding 12-14 4
It is although influenced by first language, it rarely interferes with ease of understanding 15-17 5
despite the fact that it is possibly influenced by first language, it roughly interferes with ease of understanding 18-20 6
  • Structure is assessed throughout the test, and particularly in parts 1, 3a and 4 where the candidate of high levels (5 and 6) is elicited to demonstrate that he is able to use both basic and complex grammatical structures and show that he has a wide range of vocabulary.
Characteristics DGAC Scoring ICAO Level
isolated words without any grammar structures 1-5 1
limited control; simple memorised 6-8 2
basic structures not always well controlled;  errors frequently interfere with meaning 9-11 3
basic structures used creatively; usually well  controlled; errors rarely interfere with meaning 12-14 4
basic structures consistently well controlled; complex structures attempted with errors 15-17 5
basic and complex structures consistently well controlled 18-20 6
  • Vocabulary is assessed throughout the test. Higher level candidates (4 or especially 5/6) should demonstrate a wide range of vocabulary especially in parts 1, 3 and 4 a/b/c.
Characteristics DGAC Scoring ICAO Level
isolated words without any understanding 1-5 1
limited range; isolated words 6-8 2
often sufficient for familiar topics; limited range; inappropriate word choice; unable to paraphrase 9-11 3
usually sufficient for familiar topics; can often paraphrase when lacking vocabulary in unusual situations 12-14 4
sufficient for familiar; paraphrases consistently and successfully; sometimes uses  idiomatic expression 15-17 5
sufficient for a wide range of topics; idiomatic, nuanced, sensitive to register 18-20 6
  • Fluency is assessed throughout the test although the opportunity for the candidate to speak at length is offered in parts 1 and 4.
Characteristics DGAC Scoring ICAO Level
short, isolated words, fillers, use of a second language  1-5 1
memorised utterances; frequent  pausing; distracting fillers 6-8 2
inappropriate phrasing and pausing; hesitation; ineffective communication; sometimes distracting fillers 9-11 3
stretches of language at appropriate tempo; loss of fluency does not prevent effective communication; limited use of discourse markers and connectors; 12-14 4
speaks at length and with relative ease; appropriate use of discourse markers and connectors 15-17 5
speaks at length; natural effortless flow; varies speech flow for stylistic effect; appropriate discourse markers and connectors spontaneously 18-20 6
  • Comprehension of’ common, concrete, or work related topics’ is assessed in parts 1, 2 and 3 and comprehension of a ‘linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events’ in parts, 2a and 2b.
  • The focus in part 3 is on comprehension of ‘common, concrete, or work related topics’ delivered in a variety of international accents, ‘sufficiently intelligible for a community of international users’.
  • Comprehension of ‘common, concrete, or work related topics’ is assessed in parts 3 and 4 and comprehension of a ‘linguistic or situational complication or an unusual event’ in parts, 3 a/b and 4.
  • The recording in 3a is scored according to the accuracy of the facts, the nature, key words of the situation. He/she is awarded from 0 to 10 points.
  • Every successful read back of each of the 10 recordings in part 3b is awarded 1 point.


In which parts of the test are each of the profiles assessed?


  • Interactions is assessed throughout the test, particularly in parts in parts 1 and 4.
Characteristics DGAC Scoring ICAO Level
slow; always inappropriate; simple, routine exchanges 1-5 1
slow; often inappropriate; simple, routine exchanges 6-8 2
sometimes immediate, appropriate and informative;  initiates and maintains exchanges on familiar topics;  generally inadequate with the unexpected 9-11 3
usually immediate, appropriate and informative; initiates and maintains exchanges even with the unexpected; deals adequately with misunderstandings by checking, confirming or clarifying 12-14 4
responses are immediate, appropriate and informative; manages the speaker/listener relationship effectively 15-17 5
interacts with ease in nearly all situations 18-20 6




Who is TEA for?

  • TEA is suitable for professional, private or student pilots (aeroplane or helicopter), professional or student controllers.

What happens on  the test day?

  • You should arrive at the AFA at least thirty minutes before your test so that the Administrator can check your details and take your photograph (which will appear on your certificate). You do not need to provide a photograph.
  • Make sure you bring an identification document (passport or national identity card). You will not be allowed to take the test without it.
  • You do not need to bring anything else with you. Devices capable of recording must be left outside the test room. 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.
  • Your test result will not be available on the test day, so please do not ask. The examiner will not give you any indication of how you have performed in the test.
  • Test results will be sent to you at least 2 work days after the test day.


What kind of results are given?


  • The test performance is scored according to the ICAO Language Proficiency Rating Scale.
  • Only your test performance is considered by the examiners and so they cannot consider any aspect of previous experience or previous test scores as relevant.
  • You will be given a score from 1 to 6 for your performance in Pronunciation, Structure, Vocabulary, Fluency, Comprehension and Interactions.
  • The Overall Score (the ICAO Level) will be the lowest of these scores (which is a mandatory ICAO requirement).
  • All of the scores are recorded on the certificate.
  • Once your performance has been assessed and once the test has been checked for examiner standards, your certificate will be printed and posted to you within 5 working days of your test date.





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