Future student here. I am going to be going into the program in about 1.5-2 years (have to pay some stuff off if I’m going to be unemployed for 9 months). I read a thread where someone asked if they should take their FAA written exams early. Does this mean ground school? And if so, how do I go about doing this? Thanks for the advice!
Short answer, no, this does not mean ground school. While it might seem contrary to study and take a series of knowledge exams before you even start flying AND without any formal training the reality is that’s the way the vast majority of student pilots do it. The knowledge test were created by the FAA and while there’s certainly some good information there, it really doesn’t follow most training syllabus and there’s also a fair amount of fluff. The other problem is the FAA publishes all the questions and answers and it’s simply much easier to just learn the answers by rote, get the tests out of the way, then, while you’re doing your flight training you’ll have ground training that will actually cover the required knowledge in a more meaningful and realistic way.
So how do you study for these exams and when should you take them? When you finally are ready to enroll with ATP, select a start date and give your deposit, ATP will send you ALL the study materials to successfully complete all the written exams. Now if you want to do it sooner there are many online and paper written preps but most will cost you some money. Most important thing to keep in mind is that ALL the knowledge exams are only valid for 24mos for taking the associated practical (flight) test. What that means I if you took your Instrument Pilot Knowledge test today, but didn’t start with ATP for 2yrs and then didn’t get to the Instrument checkride till 3 months in, your test would have expired and you’d have to take it again. Because of that I really wouldn’t recommend you take any of the exams until you’re certain of your start date and are certain you’ll complete all your training well within the 24mos window.
Thank you for the info! I’m trying to do as much as I can to prep myself during this time… I’m getting impatient already lol.
I have been on this forum since my freshman year of college 4 years ago. I have finished my degree and am getting ready to apply to flight school starting in January. First off I want to thank all of the mentors for giving such great advice over the years. It has been incredibly helpful and has only strengthened my desire to fly.
Since I have about a six month period before I start flight school, I would like to study and get some of the exams out of the way. Adam, you mentioned that if you apply to ATP they will send all the study materials to you so that you can prepare early. I probably won’t apply for a couple more months as there are still multiple things I need to get worked out first. You did mention that the FAA publishes all the questions and answers so if I study those alone do you believe that would be sufficient?
The do publish all the questions and answers and there’s also some free online study software you can reference at least for the PAR (Sporty’s Study Buddy). I’m certain if you do some good Googling you can find tons of resources to help.
ATP will provide all study material once you place your deposit down. I would not bother spending money on any other test prep. I think you will find that just studying what the FAA publishes will be more difficult than using the study software that will be provided to you.
Beyond studying for the PAR using Sporty’s Study Buddy, you’re going to want to use Kings or Sheppard Air for the rest. Once you’ve seen what they have to offer, I think you will agree.
I have been looking up these exams and from what I have gathered you need to provide a certification of completion of a course, or receive a recommendation from an instructor to be able to take one of these exams. If I am preparing for these exams before I start ATP, how would I get the “permission” or “recommendation” so that I can attempt these exams?
Obviously you want to perform as well as possible on the exams. I am going to aim to get a perfect score, but if I were to score a 85-90ish percent, would you recommend retaking the exams? Do airlines actually care about the score you get or just if you pass?
If you use any of the courseware they will provide you with a “signoff” with proof of passed practice exams with scores over 90. Once you’ve enrolled with ATP you can actually do the same and either get a signoff from the courseware companies or visit your local ATP location.
As for scores you really want to be in the 90s. Do the airlines care? Not at all BUT examiners do. The only one that will ever see you score is the examiner administering your practical exam. The knowledge exams are considered to be the easiest part of the process and virtually anyone who puts in enough time and effort can do well. When the examiner sees a low score they view that as a lack of effort or concern and will in many cases seek to make EXTRA sure you’re deserving of that license or rating you’re testing for. The question is when taking a flight test do you want an examiner to see your high score and think this person’s prepared and this should be easy or the opposite? Tougher checkride equals better chance of failure and the airlines do care about failures.
Thanks for the quick reply. Are these exam fees covered in my ATP tuition? If they are, would I be refunded if I pass these exams before I start the program?