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ICAO4U – aviation language ICAO4U exam stage 2: listening comprehension

ICAO4U exam stage 2: listening comprehension

Listening Comprehension stage consists of fours parts:

  1. ATIS recordings (3 recordings): before listening you will have 10 seconds to read the multiple choice question and suggested answers A/ B/ C. After listening to the whole ATIS recording, you will be asked to indicate which option gives the correct message about some aspect of ATIS, i.e. wind , dew point, NOTAM information, etc.
  2. Short messages (6 messages): they consist of 1 or 2 sentences. You are supposed to listen and repeat the message as closely as possible.
  3. Longer messages (3 messages): here the message consists of a couple of sentences. You need to take notes and report the message. All information is important. If you choose our Exercise Package or full course (Ace’s Course) you will learn how to take notes, which will be very helpful for you not only at the examination but also later on in your flying practice.
  4. Asking questions (3 messages): you will hear very short messages about non-typical or emergency situations. Your task is to ask a few questions in order to find out more information about what has happened.

How to prepare?

However trivial it may sound: LISTEN:)! PRACTISE:)! As much and as extensively as possible. There are numerous sources of recordings available on the Internet, so appropriate selection poses some challenge.

  • do not listen to the native speakers only. Only 10-15% of recordings are produced by the native speakers. The messages are read out by the speakers of various nationalities and ethnicities. Exposing yourselves to various accents will also let you work out flexibility in understanding. It is the invaluable skill as during the examination your the first message may be said by a Chinese speaker, the second one by a French one, the third by a Spanish, etc. The differences deriving from the origin of the speakers are very audible, nobody polishes anything here up to the near-native level
  • repeat short messages. Single message at the exam consists of one, maximum two sentences. I believe it is beneficial to start with the recordings which feature subtitle display as it significantly facilitates understanding. Read while listening, but repeat without looking at the text
  • use the content which refers to non-typical situations as the examination recordings comprise this type of situations only, for example: emergency situations. That’s what we offer in our exercises and course packages.
  • record your repetitions and compare their accuracy with the original versions
  • use the headphones! During the examination you will use the headphones!

Of course, effective remembering of a few-sentence non-standard messages at first listening is enormously demanding. It does pose difficulty to everyone. Take notes! During the examination you may always ask for the recording of any individual message to be played again. So do not be discouraged by failure to understand at the first attempt. Also, try to use some of the following techniques which may help you understand better:

  • concentrate on the verbs and nouns primarily as they carry meaning. When you manage to remember them it shall be easy to construct the message. You are not expected to repeat the message in actual words. You answer the question What is the message not Repeat the message
  • when you confront the message which consists of two sentences, try to remember the details of the second one. Practice indicates clearly that if candidates attempt to remember every word from the first sentence, they fail to produce the message from the second one

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