A few months to go, how to prepare?


I’m considering enrolling but have 4-5 months until I can start. Assuming I sign-up and get access to the materials, etc, what are recommendations on how best to prepare over the next few months?

Should I take all my written exams, read all the materials cover-to-cover, get used to flying a certain way or with certain apps? Any suggestions would be appreciated.


PS: I assume this has been covered already but couldn’t find it - apologize in advance if it has.

Hey Matt and welcome,

I’ll start off by saying that you are in the right mind-set, in this program the more you get done ahead of time, the better off you will be.
Now since you have a good amount of time ahead of you, I would recommend starting out with the private (PAR) written exam prep, you have free access to Study Buddy which is also what ATP recommends using during the program. The requirement at ATP is that you have the written exam completed before your first solo flight, which happens about 4-6 weeks in, but obviously if you show up on the first day with the written prep already complete, ready to take the exam, you will have that much more time to focus on other material in preparation for your solo flights.
I personally did not use Study Buddy, so I cannot give you much detail as to how it works, but I have heard that it gets the job done from students of mine.

I have also heard of students coming in with ALL 6 writtens completed before day 1, which will save you a great deal of time during training, but that comes at the cost of spending extra money on testing fees ($150 each) since the exam fees are already included in your program’s tuition and I don’t believe they are refundable.

Either way, don’t study for more than one written at a time.

My suggestion is to stick to the Study Buddy for now and try to get the written out of the way as soon as you start at ATP. Other than that, you can start reviewing the following materials:

  • From the C172 Training Supplement (part of the training bundle):
    -C172 systems
    -Normal Takeoff and Landing profiles
    -Stabilized approach philosophy
    -Private In-Flight maneuvers (Clean/Landing Configuration Flows, Steep Turns, Slow Flight, Power On/Off Stalls, Emergency Descents)

  • From the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (AKA “the PHAK”):
    -Chapter 4: Principles of Flight
    -Chapter 5: Aerodynamics of Flight
    -Chapter 7: Aircraft Systems
    -Chapter 10: Weight & Balance
    -Chapter 12: Weather Theory
    -Chapter 14: Airport Operations
    -Chapter 15: Airspace

This material will all be covered during training, so don’t worry if some of the reading doesn’t make complete sense, but try to get a basic understanding of these topics, it will allow your instructor to better utilize the time during ground instruction and make it easier for him to dive deeper into each subject with you.




Just FYI, if you take the writtens before you start (and you should) ATP will refund the cost. Just save your receipts. Also be aware a couple of the test banks overlap. For example all the Instrument exams use the same bank of questions so when you take the IRA (Instrument Rating Airplane) you should also take the FII (Flight Instructor Instrument). Why study twice when you don’t have to.


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Hi Adam,

That’s helpful - thanks for your reply.

Hi Yarden…thanks a lot for your thoughtful reply! Very helpful - Matt

Get Ahead: Taking One Or More FAA Knowledge Tests Before Starting ATP

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Thanks a lot Danielle! I hadn’t seen that site before.

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Adding to this. How far out are you able to reserve a class date and housing?


I don’t believe you can ever reserve a date TOO early (but I’d call ATP and make certain). That said things change in people’s lives. I’d try and make sure that you’re not planning too far ahead where YOU won’t be able to make it and then will have to keep moving dates.


My question was based on ATP only reimbursing you if you take the written after you pay the initial enrollment fee. It would be nice to get access to their courseware instead of having to buy other software to study for the exams. More or less is there an actual amount of time in the future they will allow you to reserve?


Well then I stick with my answer of contacting ATP and asking (1-800-ALL- ATPS) for a definitive answer. However as far as the software prep goes, the ATP website does say you’ll have access to the software AFTER you give your deposit (https://atpflightschool.com/faqs/acpp-prep-written-knowledge-tests.html) and doesn’t state a limit so again I don’t believe there is one?


“Students beginning with Credit for Private Pilot are automatically enrolled in the Instrument course when they place their deposit. Once you have completed an FAA knowledge test, contact the ATP Training Department at training@allatps.com to receive access to the next Sheppard Air prep course.”

I have my intro flight with them in early January and have been making my list of questions! Thank you!