Knowledge Tests Study Process

I’m not sure if this is the correct forum category to ask this or not, but I received all of my textbooks from ATP yesterday, and I’m curious about what everyone here did to study for the knowledge tests.

I’m currently reading the Airplane Flying Handbook, and glancing at the later chapters led me to wonder if everything in this book is necessary to know very well to pass the required Private Pilot Knowledge Test prior to my start date. Are things like transitioning to complex/jet/light sport airplanes (chapters 11-16) necessary to know to do well on the PP knowledge test?

I know it is essential that I know the book front to back, but it is a lot of new information and if some of the info is more pertinent to the Instrument or Commercial Knowedge Tests. I imagine it might not be the best idea to load all of that on top of the knowledge required for the PP knowedge test, and to tackle the first knowledge test, and then use that knowledge as a building block while I study for the other two knowledge tests.

My start date got pushed back to September due to my card being compromised, so I have an extra month to hopefully knock out the Instrument and (maybe) the Commercial.

Any help or criticism Is greatly appreciated (as is everything else you all do here)!


While the FAA Knowledge exams are a requirement that must be fulfilled the fact is that most of the info doesn’t really follow the curriculum nor any real meaningful knowledge. This is a reason a) ATP suggest you complete as many knowledge exams as you can prior to starting your training and b) ATP includes Knowledge exam prep as part of the program. For the PPL ATP provides access to the King Schools course through the student intranet and Sheppard Air for the rest. For more info see here or contact admissions:


Where are you starting?

The Lawrenceville, Georgia location! I believe the shorthand is LZU

@zporter92 - Hit the PHAK too. Every question I had in the private written was drawn from it. I’m not saying the AFH isn’t pertinent as well, of course; I just found the PHAK more concise and readable at times.

As far as prep resources go, I liked Sporty’s test prep app the best out of the ones I tried. Questions were either verbatim or close to it, and they had helpful features to keep track of ones you missed to review later, or build sample tests.

Last bit out of me, and it’s contrary to what a lot of people recommend… I intentionally chose to take my test well into the private curriculum, about 15-20 flight hours before my checkride (roughly 2.5 weeks). Why? Because I knew that I would have a better understanding of the things I was being tested on since I had actually done them, studied the material behind them, and could rely on that information if I got to a question I hadn’t memorized. I agree that you can easily pass the written with rote memorization, and the resources out there definitely make that possible. But when I hit the more challenging questions, I was able to rely on the experience I had built to reason out what the correct answer was.

If you’re going for the tests prior, more power to you. ATP kicks some money your way if you do that. That wasn’t right for me though, and I’m pleased I chose to go with a more thorough preparation (and my score reflected it).

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I think I have things mixed up a bit. I thought the knowledge tests were separate from the “writtens?”

My understanding was the process was

  1. Knowledge Tests
  2. Writtens
  3. Practicals

Is that incorrect?


The writtens and the Knowledge tests are one and the same. It goes Writtens (Knowledge), Oral/Practical.


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Thanks for clearing that up! That is good news, now it makes more sense to me why people were saying it helps you in the long run to do them before starting!