Checkride nerves

Hey everyone Jawad hear again, not really an update but more of advice seeking and guidance. Recently had my check ride oral and due to some serious nervousness, anxiety and potential unpreparedness I was given an unsat. It seemed as if all the information that I knew and studied just didn’t compute in my brain to answer the questions. Any advice on how to answer the dpe’s questions is greatly appreciated.

I know it’s not great to have any sort of failures but everyone is ensuring me that it will all be ok (this unsat really made me question my abilities/knowledge for the rest of that day). I have spent the last 5-6 days studying for hours on end making sure I solidify the knowledge on my deficient areas. I am rescheduled for Tuesday the 15th so I’m hoping the weather holds out and I can officially get through the check ride.

Also trying to provide an honest insight into the reality of the training for those looking.


When I read the above I thought “hmmmm”. In my experience “potential unpreparedness” will often (if not always) lead to “serious nervousness” and “anxiety”. The solution therfore is simple, eliminate the unpreparedness. You need to buckle down and bust your butt. If you have doubt that simply means you need to study some more. Still unsure? Back to the books until this stuff is rote. You’ve got the Oral Prep guides. If you can’t nail EVERY question in the book then you’re not prepared and if you’re not prepared frankly you should be nervous.



Very understandable outlook and what I am currently doing is exactly what you said. Making sure I can answer all those questions.


Hi Jawad,

Everyone is nervous before a checkride, but it’s going to be a major part of your life from here on out. As you do a few more it becomes routine but the butterflies never really go away. The key is to manage those emotions and mitigate with preparation.

You mentioned not being able to answer the questions. Did you understand the questions and couldn’t recall the answer? Or did you misunderstand the questions and provided an incorrect answer? It is important to clarify what the question is asking for if you are not sure.

When you prepare, do you just read the info to yourself or did you have someone quiz you? I find that looking at the book and thinking I understand something is very different from being able to answer other people’s questions on that same thing. I always advocate studying in groups if possible, the checkride oral is not a silent event, and we should not prepare for them silently.

Let us know how else we can help,

PS. Take a deep breath, yes checkride busts are bad, but it’s not the end of the world. Now is the time to learn from your mistakes and move forward.


My understanding of the questions wasn’t necessarily the issue. Most questions I understood I just wasn’t able to get the answer or I was answering for one portion. The questions I was certain on the dpe would make me second guess myself which is understandable but it made me feel uncertain about answering the following questions. I understand now that he wanted to make sure I wouldn’t double back on my answers (thankfully I didn’t).

As for my studying, I read/watch all the resources while taking notes and then go back through my notes and quiz myself on the pages subject (i.e. systems, airspace, etc.)



People often get stressed because they look at a checkride like something adversarial, when it really isn’t. Contrary to popular belief most examiners are actually pretty good people. They’re not trying to trick you or trip you up, they simply want to make sure you know your stuff and are safe before they hand you the keys to the sky.

As I said, study hard, be confident and you’ll be fine.


The key to avoiding nerves (as best you can) is to be confident you know what is being testing.

The FAA provides the ACS (later the PTS for the CFI stages) and it’s really a list of everything the DPE can test you on. There should not be many surprises.

At the CFI Academy, one of the things they told us that resonated with me was to “trust your endorsement” meaning the instructor who endorsed you did so for a reason. If you were not prepared, you would not have been endorsed.

The rest of it is just preparation. You know how you need to study at this point, you know what your weak areas are. Spend your extra time addressing those areas. The training center has been pretty busy in recent weeks, hang out there and ask different people for their thoughts on something you are struggling with, sometimes a different set of words to describe something may make more sense to you.

Lastly, during the checkride, relax. If the checkride is proceeding, you’re doing fine, performing sufficiently. So if you had a rough maneuver, or you had a hard time on the last question, but you were not issued a NOD, forget about whatever just happened. It doesn’t matter anymore. But if you compound your stress from the checkride in general, with stress from not doing something in the checkride as well as you wanted, you are just adding additional stress for no reason. Rounds down range, road behind you, water under the bridge, once you’re passed something, forget about it until the debrief.