10th Feb 2010, 13:08
unfortunately, i failed my ICAO english test few weeks ago, cx allows me to re-do after 100 hrs of english course.
here's my questions and concerns.
1. any one who had to do the re-test before, just wonder which insitution would be highly recommended ?
2. Also just wondering how does the pre-test look like?? any ideas?
thousands of thanks ,guys.
any other information would help.
10th Feb 2010, 19:14
so which stage you are at right now? Are you doing the ICAO test after stage 2?
11th Feb 2010, 19:08
First of all, sorry to hear about the results in the ICAO test. It is a very difficult test for many people in Hong Kong, and people are often surprised if they get a level 3 result. The good news is that you can reach level 4 and above, though it will take time and effort.
I must say that I'm commercially involved in teaching Aviation English but having said that I think I can give a fair and unbiased review of the options for language training in Hong Kong (I assume you are in Hong Kong). I can say this, because either myself or my partners have experienced working for all of them.
English teaching is super competitive and many institutions will do anything to sell you a course regardless of whether it is suitable for you. The quality of teaching can vary massively, and you could even end up doing a course at completely the wrong level. If you study at the wrong level, or the course is not interesting you will get bored and frustrated pretty quickly.
I've spent the last 3 years teaching for ICAO English compliance, and the thing that I am most aware of is how little time that pilots have. So you will need to choose a course that respects your time, and doesn't waste it on teaching things that you don't need to know. Even in aviation, if you are cadet entry your English needs will be very different from those of a commercial pilot.
Really, you should aim to develop a wide vocabulary that you can actually use in your everyday life (and aviation career). That will take time and you can't jump complete ICAO levels overnight. ICAO made a statement a few years ago that it takes approximately 100 hours between each half ICAO level. This depends on the intensity and frequency of study and also (often) how familiar the teacher is with the subject matter. I personally think that the suggested 100 hours between half-levels is accurate and realistic.
This means that if you have been given a rating of ICAO level 3, you could be either a week or 6 months away from ICAO level 4. So it's very important to find out exactly where you are on the ICAO scale. I recommend that anyone applying for the CPP take a placement test before they even make their application so they get a realistic idea of how long it will take and where their weaknesses are.
Another danger to avoid is "training for the test". Hong Kong has a completely messed up educational environment as the culture is for parents to send their children to tutorial schools so they can ace the exams, but unfortunately, can't speak or listen that well. This phenomenon has led to "star tutors" such as Richard Eng and K Oten. The truth is that ICAO is a hard test but your aim should be to train for all round aviation safety, not for just passing a test.
My advice is to not try to focus on passing the test too much, but to build your all round functional ability in English. You need an English course that is communicative, where you do a lot of speaking, listening, correcting, checking information, and most importantly - gives you a lot of comprehension practice. The difficulty is that the ICAO test needs you to show competence in 6 areas:
Pronunciation - it's ok to have an accent, but you must be intelligible.
Vocabulary - common, concrete and work related topics
Comprehension - listening, particularly to international accents
Fluency - you don't hesitate too much
Interaction - you can manage a conversation well, eg clarify and confirm information if you are not sure.Very few English schools would give you sufficient practice at these skillsets, because (in my experience) they have to squeeze as many people as they can into a large class, and don't have time to give you the feedback you need.
ICAO doesn't officially recognise any English course provider, and the airlines and CADs have been left with some quite vague guidelines to interpret. So your question is a good one.
So... this is a professional Aviation English teacher's unbiased perspective of the options in HK.
1. The big franchised language schools
Good things - courses are supposed to be communicative, CEF funding
Bad things - teacher quality varies, unfocused, students are often placed at inappropriate starting levels, too focused on sales, quality control needs a lot of attention, expensive, environment sometimes hinders correct use of English.
2. British Council and Universities
Good things - experienced teachers, CEF, inexpensive
Bad things - not communicative enough for aviation students, large classes, not enough feedback
3. Private tutors
Good things - flexible, good if you like your tutor
Bad things - courses might not be structured, no external quality control, no CEF
4. Self study
Good things - flexible, good if part of a structured course
Bad things - no feedback
Of the above options, I would recommend finding a good private tutor and if you like your tutor and are getting results - stick with them.
It's not the best option though. If you are very committed to a career in aviation then a specific Aviation English course will really benefit you.
Our language school is different, in that we focus exclusively on aviation - as that's what we are passionate about, and designed courses that really do address learner needs and help you succeed in aviation careers. We don't offer crash courses - but we have flexible options depending on your level and abilities. Course fees are equivalent to what you would pay for a private tutor, or a franchised language centre. With us, you can learn English using exactly the same courses that are used by major airlines. The only downside is that we don't currently offer CEF funding (CEF is the Continuing Education Fund).
I genuinely believe that we offer the highest quality English language training available in Hong Kong, and the best value. Our students are also some of the coolest people on the planet:) .
I also recommend that you check out our blog, which has a lot of information about English for ICAO compliance, and a few free tips for study. English for pilots, ATCs, cabin crew and airport staff in Asia (http://aviationenglishasia.wordpress.com/)
Regarding the pre-test, don't worry - it's just a friendly chat to see if you are ready to take the ICAO test again.
Hope this helps and PM me if you would like more specific advice.
12th Feb 2010, 11:20
Hats off to Michael for that post.
In fact, it should be a sticky somewhere.
The ICAO LPRs are still scaring the pants off a lot of you, I know.....but they are very fair and contrary to popular opinion, I sincerely doubt that any company is going to fire crew for non-compliance.
You will however, have to undergo extra training should you "fail" - I hate using that word, as it is more of an assessment than a test.
13th Feb 2010, 11:25
i failed the test after stage 1b.
which is between stage 1b and stage 2 interview.
how's ur progress btw?
13th Feb 2010, 11:28
i cant agree anymore
13th Feb 2010, 13:52
I just done my 1B last week, and wondering how many days it take for the result. What is the ICAO test look like. How long is the exam? What is the formal?
13th Feb 2010, 13:54
btw takamasa (http://www.pprune.org/members/157871-takamasa), are you hong kong resident or international applicant?