All student pilots must take the Language Proficiency Test, which is designed to assess students’ listening comprehension, speaking ability, and responses to different verbal scenarios.
The examination takes about 20 minutes and you will be assessed one of three levels: expert, operational, or below-operational. Those who are assessed below-operational will not qualify for a Canadian pilot licence; those assessed operational must be re-tested every 5 years, and those assessed expert require no further testing. The following table is provided by Transport Canada:
Below Operational Level
|Describes a level of proficiency below the level required.||Describes the minimum proficiency acceptable for radiotelephony communication.||Describes proficiency more advanced than the minimum required standard.|
|Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation, to the extent that they frequently interfere with ease of understanding.||Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intonation are influenced by the first language or regional variation, to the extent that they sometimes interfere with ease of understanding.||Pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intonation infrequently are influenced by the first language or regional variation, but almost never interfere with ease of understanding.|
|Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns associated with predictable situations are not always well controlled. Errors frequently interfere with meaning.||Basic grammatical structures and sentence patterns are used creatively and are usually well controlled. Errors may occur, particularly in unusual or unexpected circumstances, but rarely interfere with meaning.||Both basic and complex grammatical structures and sentence patterns are consistently well controlled.|
|Vocabulary range and accuracy are limited and the word choice often inappropriate. Often unable to paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary.||Vocabulary range and accuracy are usually sufficient to communicate effectively on common, concrete, and work-related topics. Can often paraphrase successfully when lacking vocabulary in unusual or unexpected circumstances.||Vocabulary range and accuracy are sufficient to communicate effectively on a wide variety of familiar and unfamiliar topics. Vocabulary is idiomatic, nuanced, and sensitive to register.|
|Produces stretches of language, but phrasing and pausing are often inappropriate. Hesitations or slowness in language processing may prevent effective communication. Fillers are sometimes distracting.||Produces stretches of language at an appropriate tempo. There may be occasional loss of fluency on transition from rehearsed or formulaic speech to spontaneous interaction, but this does not prevent effective communication. Can make limited use of discourse markers or connectors. Fillers are not distracting.||Able to speak at length with a natural, effortless flow. Varies speech flow for stylistic effect, e.g. to emphasize a point. Uses appropriate discourse markers and connectors.|
|Comprehension is often accurate on common, concrete and work-related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. May fail to understand a linguistic of situational complication or an unexpected turn of events.||Comprehension is mostly accurate on common, concrete, and work-related topics when the accent or variety used is sufficiently intelligible for an international community of users. When the speaker is confronted with a linguistic or situational complication or an unexpected turn of events, comprehension may be slower or require clarification strategies.||Comprehension is consistently accurate in nearly all contexts and includes comprehension of linguistic and cultural subtleties.|
|Can initiate and maintain exchanges with reasonable ease on familiar topics and in predictable situations. Generally inadequate when dealing with an unexpected turn of events.||Responses are usually immediate, appropriate, and informative. Initiates and maintains exchanges even when dealing with an unexpected turn of events. Deals adequately with apparent misunderstandings by checking, confirming, or clarifying.||Interacts with ease in nearly all situations. Is sensitive to verbal and non-verbal cues and responds to them appropriately.|
All students being tested will need a copy of the Aviation-Language Proficiency Test—Test-Taker Guide.
For more information, see Transport Canada’s Advisory Circular