KCAA English Language Proficiency Test

Hans-Georg's picture
Fri, 2010-04-30 15:12 by Hans-Georg

(KCAA = Kenya Civil Aviation Authority)

I took the test today and thought I should let other testees know what to expect. Similar descriptions are already making the rounds in emails and on paper, so it is in the interest of fairness to show one publicly.

First of all, I cannot and do not want to help you to cheat and gain any unfair advantage, and cheating is anyway impossible in this test. I can only help you to find your way into the test more easily and not to get trapped by misunderstanding the test method, which might happen to some people if they are entirely unprepared.

The test took place in the East African School of Aviation. To find it, drive from Nairobi towards Mombasa and turn left at S1° 19.884' E36° 53.315', which is the big crossing 2.5 km before the branch to the international airport.

Continue straight for 2.4 km, pass the big roundabout and turn left into the next street after the roundabout. Drive straight through a light-blue gate. Your destination is S1° 18.897' E36° 54.241'.

Walk up the stairs into the main entrance and ask the receptionist for a form for the English test. Go up the stairs. In the first floor there is a table with 6 seats around it. Usually some people already sit there with the same forms.

The test is done person by person, i.e. only one testee is in the test room, in my case along with the tester and another person sitting on the side. Both were exceptionally friendly and helpful.

My test consisted of two parts. After the tester explained the purpose of the test, he asked me to introduce myself and tell something about myself. He also asked a few questions.

The second part was a multiple-choice test, which is presented both on paper and as a voice recording (from a computer).

There seem to be different tests for different purposes. I got the test for pilots.

The test consisted of a sequence of typical, short excerpts from air traffic control communications that are read to you by a recorded voice and that you also have in front of you on paper. However, on the paper printout two or three critical words, abbreviations, or numbers are missing and replaced by an underscore.

Example (from memory, not from the actual test):


Turn right to a heading of ______ degrees, ______ runway _____.

Solutions (of which only one is correct):

(a) 240, expect, 25L
(b) 270, cleared to land on, 25R
(c) 240, cleared to land on, 25L
(c) 270, expect, 25R

A second sheet of paper, which was placed to the right of the problems sheet, has the multiple-choice answers, like (a) (b) (c) (d). You are supposed to mark the right answer by shading the circle with the correct answer letter with parallel lines, which leaves the possibility to cancel your choice with a cross and shade another answer. My recommendation here is to draw only about three lines for shading, rather than slowly painting an elaborate pattern. This saves you a second or two and does not waste your concentration.

I would hardly have had the time to correct a false answer, because for me the test was relatively fast. I found myself a few times recalling the last problem readout, when the next problem was already beginning to be read. If this happens to you, you have to react quickly, because otherwise you would risk missing the next problem altogether.

The voice playback consists of a female narrator voice that frames the problems and of the actual air traffic control phrase, which is harder to understand and may have been taken out of real air traffic control recordings.

The first four problems are demonstrations, where the answer is printed and where you do not have to do anything, so you have some time to read, listen, and get used to this kind of test.

My recommendation is, as soon as you have finished one problem, peruse the next problem text quickly before it is read out loud, so you already know what to expect and can fully concentrate on the one, two, or three words that are missing in the paper printout. Then read it again while it is sounded out and try to memorize the missing words.

Then turn your eyes over to the solutions sheet on the right side, look at all four solutions and pick the one that corresponds. Some of the problems, but perhaps not all, may be overdetermined, such that you can find the right answer even if you can recall only two of three missing words.

Be quick, as the recording does not wait and soon begins to read out the next problem.

I hope that this explanation will help you a little bit to avoid confusion. If you do get confused and do not instantly grasp the test method, my recommendation would be to ask the tester for clarification before you stumble and miss the essence of the test. My guess is that the tester would be helpful and make sure you really understand how the test works. But I hope that this text can help you to spare yourself the embarrassment of having to ask. To me the test seemed to be fair, although I think that the speed of the test is a tad on the tough side. Good luck!