Current Students who have taken writtens within the last couple months

I know rote memorization was the way to go previously, however, it has come to my attention that they have updated the questions on the private pilot test and they are no longer verbatim from the study material. For anyone that has taken the private written within the last couple months, is this true? Will rote memorization no longer work? Do you need to make sure to know the concepts and not simply memorize the answers?

Have they already updated the IRA and FII tests as well or will the Sheppard Air memorization route still work?

I’m looking for people who have taken these tests very recently. I understand how it worked in the past but a current student just informed me that they barely passed the private test Bc they relied on rote memorization and the questions have all been changed. I would like to know if anyone else experienced this and I would like to know if this has happened for IRA/FII or Commercial tests yet. If it has I’m afraid the Sheppard material will no longer be sufficient. Sheppard only works if the FAA hasn’t updated the questions. If they updated Private, it’s only a matter of time before they start updating the other tests.

I took PAR this week, there was only one question that I had never seen before and it had to do with which certificate needs to be displayed where the passengers can see it. I belive it’s the airworthiness cert. Other than that one, it was exactly the same questions and exactly the same answer choices as the ones in the King Schools practice tests.

I have no idea why we’re not using King for IRA, I don’t like sheppard’s system of “memorize the questions” Though to be fair I haven’t used it much yet. I think it works a lot better if you actually learn the material and understand why things happen when they do and how things work. There’s going to be some rote memorization like FAA regulations etc but that’s to be expected.

But to answer the question, to my understanding they’re not replacing all of the question bank. They’re just not publishing the new ones as they add them. So there will be a lot of questions that you’ve seen before (assuming you study).

It’s possible that if someone was using a Test Prep book or even the ASA Test Prep iPhone/iPad app, the questions there could be out-dated and look nothing like the questions you would see on an actual knowledge exam today.

I can’t speak to the Kings School prep software as I did not use it and I took my Private Pilot knowledge test almost two years ago. But I did take my IRA, FII, CAX, FIA, and FOI tests back in January using Sheppard Air and had no issues. As far as I’m aware, they update their questions regularly to match the FAA questions you will actually get on the test. In my personal experience, the questions on the tests matched the questions in the software, verbatim in many cases, and Sheppard Air’s study strategy does work really well if you follow it.


Hi Kyle,

How did you supplement the Sheppard Air program. They don’t seem to have videos teaching the material like King Schools does. Did you just go through the videos on the ATP extranet and then use Sheppard Air? I’m a little bit puzzled coming from King to Sheppard.

It was a few months ago, so my memory is a little fuzzy on exactly how I did it, but I think I did go through the videos on the ATP Extranet first, and then start studying for the knowledge exam, at least for IRA/FII.

I’ll admit that at the time there were a number of questions in which I did not understand exactly why a correct answer was the correct answer. But despite that, what helped me get through that test and the others was going through all the questions the first time with JUST the correct answer revealed, so that the following times through, the correct answer would “stand out” when mixed with the incorrect answers.

I was thinking about doing IRA and FII together. Did you study in between them at all? I heard there were very few extra questions on the FII.

CAX and FIA is another combination I heard but seems odd that FIA would be almost the same as CAX… Is the “instructor” part only on the FOI?

So far it looks like I can do IRA/FII and CAX/FIA together. And then studying for FOI seperately, but hopefully my degree in psychology will come in handy for that one.

I took the IRA and FII together. After I finished the IRA, I took about a 10 minute break, and went back in for the FII and got a better score than the IRA. I even had a couple of the exact same questions.

I do not recommend taking the CAX and FIA together. I took them only a couple days apart from each other, but I DID study for each of them separately.

The FOI is the most different of them all, but it was the easiest to study for. I’m not trying to brag, just showing that it’s nothing to sweat about, but I probably studied for that one for a few hours and got 100% on it.

Hey guys,

Maybe I can help a little with this one. ATP includes the software it includes because it works, period. If it didn’t they’d literally have hundreds of upset students daily. The FAA “updates” the questions every couple of years but the word “updates” can be argued. In the past yes they would publish the test bank of the ACTUAL questions VERBATIM and everyone was happy. Obviously given enough time anyone can memorize and the FAA decided they needed to do something HOWEVER they still had to test for the core knowledge and frankly there’s only so many questions you can ask to test each section. So here’s the where we get to the “updated” part. This is a “sample” question from the FAA’s PAR test bank:
Which V-speed represents maneuvering speed?
C) VA.
Now that’s the question and the knowledge they want to test. The FAA “updated” the question so you may see the above OR you may see: VA represents which V-speed? OR Which of the following V-speeds ARE NOT maneuvering speed? Now is this the same question? Sure. Is it VERBATIM? No. Now I don’t want to be harsh but if you can’t take the original question and use it to answer any of the variants well then I’m sorry you simply need to study more. Make sense?



Thanks for the update. I am not worried about the PAR because I have been watching the videos and making sure I know how to do everything. I prefer to actually understand the concepts so I can answer anything that is thrown at me.

But with us only using Sheppard and not Kings for the remaining tests, I need to make sure they haven’t made any significant changes recently that will result in me failing the test because I believed old information. I guess if there hasn’t been a mass riot from everyone failing IRA/FII, the Sheppard method must still be working fine.

I just wanted to make sure that the provided study materials are still sufficient. Glad to hear they are.

I understand what you’re saying and I will have no issue at all being able to answer questions in the scenario you posed. The person I talked to just made it seem like the questions were completely different, which doesn’t freak me out on PAR because I learned the concepts themselves using Kings.

But if the questions were completely different (not the same question worded in a different way, like you were talking about), then that would be a problem on IRA/FII because we aren’t learning concepts through Sheppard, were just learning answers.

Thanks for the info Kyle. That’s reassuring. Hopefully nothing has changed since January. How long did it take you to study for and take all five tests?

So did you start the program with PPL already? You must be graduating soon right?


As I said if it were a problem it would be a bigger problem for ATP than just you. Or you can believe the one guy you spoke to who “barely passed” because it couldn’t be them, it must be the software.

Peace out.



The system works, just follow it. The FAA has more important things to do than find ways to trick new students. I wouldn’t give much credence to somebody that just barely passed an exam. If there were such large changes to the FAA tests, ATP would change their study material to reflect that.


I don’t doubt that. I guess I was just worried that something may have changed super recently and ATP hadn’t caught it yet, so I figured I would ask people that just took the test within the last couple months.

At the end of the day, I’m just trying to be proactive and make sure I only have to take these tests once. If something did change I would rather know it now instead of when I’m there in the test. I know other people, including yourself, mentioned purchasing the Kings schools IRA videos, so I just wanted to make absolutely sure the Sheppard stuff alone would work.

I will admit that other person freaked me out a bit, but I hope it’s okay to just make absolutely sure I have everything I need to pass the tests. Let me know if I’m not using this forum in the right way.


I was not saying that you are not using the forum in the proper way, I was simply saying that you need to trust in the process. ATP is a huge flight school, if there was a change, they would be the absolute first to know about it and would respond accordingly.


Thanks Chris. That’s good to hear. Now it’s time for me to shut up and go hit the books.

Questions and answers were both verbatim from the SA IFR/FII question bank as of about a week and a half ago. I coupled it with the King Air so I could learn the concepts, but SA’s stuff was on point in terms of the information I saw on the test.

I did start ATP with my PPL already, yes. I started near the end of January, and despite some bad weather the first couple of months, I’m still on pace to finish in six months per the program outline. I’m in the middle of commercial-multi training right now and should start CFI school at the beginning of June.

I studied for all my knowledge exams and had them all complete within about 3-4 weeks total. The only reason I was able to do them all that fast was because I had left my full-time job I was working at the end of December and had all sorts of free time to study for hours and hours a day, which is understandably not realistic for a lot of people who have normal life stuff to handle every day. With studying for several hours every day, I was able to take the IRA/FII in about two weeks, the CAX about a week after that, the FIA a couple days after that, and the FOI after just a few hours of studying as it has by far the smallest question bank.


What study method worked best for you for the written exams? Just taking the tests over and over?

For all the tests using Sheppard Air, their study strategy worked pretty well. If I remember correctly, it was something along the lines of this:

  1. Go through every question in default order with JUST the correct answer revealed
  2. Go through every question in default order with every answer choice revealed in default order
  3. Go through every question in random order with every answer choice revealed in random order
  4. Take a practice test or two to see how you’re doing

I’m not entirely sure if I missed a step in there, but I know that’s pretty much how I studied. The questions are also divided into categories, so if there’s a particular area you feel like you need to hit on harder than the rest, you have the option to just do that section. I know Sheppard recommends against just taking practice tests over and over since you’ll only see 50-100 questions at a time (depending on which test you’re studying for), and you may not see every possible question doing that.