What is the T.E.A. test

  • A test of plain English in an aviation context for licensing purposes – it is not a test of aviation phraseology.
  • A test of ability to communicate in English – not a test of operational knowledge.
  • A face-to-face, human interaction test with 1 examiner who asks questions for detailed responses.
  • A 25-30 minute test that consists of 3 parts.

We will look at each of parts these below.


T.E.A examiners are familiar with aviation and are sometimes pilots or controllers. 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.

T.E.A tests plain English, not phraseology – the ICAO language standards have been introduced to improve communication when phraseology is insufficient.

The following information is given to candidates about each section:

  • Section One Introduction & Experience-related Interview (7 – 8 minutes)

You will be asked a series of questions related to 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 examiner will ask you further questions, to encourage you to talk more about some of the things you mention in your responses.

  • Section Two Interactive Comprehension (8-12 minutes)

There are 3 parts – 2A, 2B and 2C. In each part, you will listen to a series of recordings of international speakers of English. Recordings will only be played once unless you ask for repetition. You cannot hear recordings a third time. If you need to listen again to check something you missed or didn’t understand first time, please do ask for repetition. Be aware that regular repetition will suggest that your Comprehension is slower and this may affect your Comprehension score.

In Part 2A, you will hear 6 recordings in which a pilot or controller is talking in a non-routine aviation situation. After each recording, you should show you understand the situation fully by reporting your answers to 2 questions: “what was the message?”, and “who do you think was speaking, a pilot or a controller?”. You will be given a Task Card to remind you of these 2 questions. The examiner will ask you to “report what you can”. You should show that you understood the situation by reporting it either in your own words or using the words in the recording. All the information in the situation is important. This includes stating what the message was and who was speaking (whether it was a pilot or controller). If you do not give all of the information, it will affect your score.

In Part 2B, you will hear 4 longer recordings in which a pilot or controller describes a problem, says what they need, and gives some extra details. The examiner will give you a pen for you to take notes on the Task Card. You need to report the message as fully as possible – the more details you can provide, the better. You should describe the problem, say what the speaker needs and give any extra details that you can. If you do not give all of the information, it will affect your score.

In Part 2C, you will hear 3 short recordings in more general, non-routine situations. After each recording, you have 20 seconds to ask the speaker questions to find out more about the situation. Show you understand the situation by asking as many relevant questions as you can. The examiner will also ask you if you have any advice to give the speaker: again, show you understand the situation by giving some relevant advice.

  • Section Three Picture Description and Discussion (10 minutes)

Picture Description
You will be given 2 connected pictures to describe and compare. You will be shown the first picture and asked to describe it, and you will be given 30 seconds to speak. You will then be shown a second picture and asked some questions about it. Finally you will be asked some questions about both pictures.

You will take part in an interactive discussion of general aviation topics related to the pictures, 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