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ICAO Rating Scale: What is Comprehension?


ICAO Rating Scale: What is Comprehension?

What is Comprehension?

According to Cambridge Online Dictionary, comprehension is “the ability to understand something”. This definition implies to general English and now let’s take a look at ICAO point of view, which is more sophisticated:

“This skill addresses the ability to recognize and understand speech.” – ICAO 9835 Doc

Comprehension as an Area of Linguistic Performance in the ICAO Rating Scale

Comprehension is one out of six ICAO holistic descriptors. Why is it so important and why is it tested during an examination? Air traffic controllers and flight crews rely on the precise information; nonetheless, you need to be ready to instantaneously switch from ICAO standardized phraseology into plain English when a situation requires the use of non-routine sentences.

Let’s discuss only the levels that will let you pass an exam.

ICAO aviation English

What Should You Know For An ICAO Examination? Level 4 Operational, Level 5 Extended and Level 6 Expert Discussed in Detail

 

LEVEL

WORK-RELATED TOPICS

A NON-ROUTINE SITUATION

ACCENTS, DIALECTS, AND LINGUISTIC AND CULTURAL SUBTLETIES

LEVEL 6 Expert

Comprehension is consistently accurate

Comprehension is consistently accurate

High comprehension of all contexts

 

LEVEL 5 EXTENDED

Comprehension is accurate

Mostly accurate, almost never/ rarely requires clarification

Able to comprehend

LEVEL 4 OPERATIONAL

Comprehension is mostly accurate

Might be (but it doesn’t have to!) slower;  however, once you require clarification, you should understand what is happening

Intelligible for an international community of users

 

*) I created this table with a support of ICAO 9835 Document, page “The Rating Scale”, section “Comprehension”

How to Improve Comprehension?

Reading

One of the quickest and the most valuable ways of improving your comprehension is reading. The list of the advantages of reading for an English as a second language student is significant – click here to read my article how reading can positively affect your cognition.

Listening

Another great way of boosting your linguistic confidence is listening. I need to emphasize I definitely recommend relying only on voice so podcasts and radio programmes. Voice combined with visual clues, like movies, videos, slideshow, etc., naturally engage more senses – you’re guided and, therefore, you’re able to draw conclusions and check your assumptions. When you listen, the voice is the only medium you need to rely on so your concentration is growing automatically.  Finally, I need to admit every activity involving getting in contact with the authentic language resources is better than making nothing at all.

Summary

How do you practice comprehension on a daily basis? What is your favorite way of revising general English? Share your best methods with me in the comments below!

English for aviation

Emilia Barska
About me

General English teacher and Aviation English specialist. Devoting her free time to sharing her expert knowledge how to pass an ICAO exam with flying colors. She enjoys reading crime stories, listening to heavy metal music and sipping a vanilla latte.

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