Opinions on ATP Start Date


I’ve recently discovered my interest in aviation and have been doing a lot of research online. I think I’ve still got a little bit of time before I need to start seriously considering a career in aviation, but I’ve pretty much decided if I do proceed that I’d like to attend ATP. I’ll be contacting them in the next couple days, but I’d like to make sure my thoughts are in order and know my personal options before I do. Anyways, when I do contact them, I want to ask about start dates.

I’m 23 and I’ll be graduating with my bachelors end of April 2020 (It might be way too early for me to be thinking about start dates). I know I’d prefer to take some, if not all, of the knowledge tests before I start. As far as my options go, I feel like I have three options that I’d like to get some opinions on. I can either:

1. Start ATP as soon as I graduate and take the knowledge tests while I’m attending

2. Study for and take the tests while I’m still in college and start ATP as soon as I graduate

3. Graduate from college, take a couple months to study for and take the tests and start ATP at the end of the summer

I don’t think 3 is a very good option so unless there’s some benefit to it that I’m not seeing, so I’d mainly like opinions on which of the first two choices would be best.

I also want to add some context for my current schooling as it relates to the options. Since I will be in my last semester starting January, I’ll likely have a lot of coursework and projects which brings up a time concern for studying for the tests. However, I have managed to reduce my course load by one class so I figure I could probably make use the time I’d spend studying for that class to instead, study for the tests.

Thanks for your help,


Either 1 or 2. Don’t forget about the medical and admissions flight.




I vote for 2, with a couple of caveats. First you talk about having a very busy last semester. ATP is no Sunday stroll or walk in the park and you can plan on a very busy 9mos. Are you cool with that? Might you need a little break to decompress? If so then take it, if not then ok.

Second while I’m a huge fan of completing all the writtens, it certainly isn’t a requirement and plenty of students have been successful without doing so. I’d do my best to get them done. The PAR is a biggy but you can study for both the IRA and the FII at the same time. That’s half the required tests which you should def be able to do without breaking too much of a sweat and that’ll give you a significant jump. If you’ve got more time keep going if not again you’ve made a big dent.


Thanks for the replies @Tory and @Adam!

I was also leaning more towards option 2. Also, I hope my initial question didn’t make it seem like I thought ATP wouldn’t be difficult. I’m fully aware of the time and effort commitment required by the program. I guess it’s not the work load I’m concerned with, it’s whether or not switching my focus between two relatively demanding things that have nothing to do with each other would be detrimental. Although I guess if I think about it, I’ve done that plenty of times preparing for college tests, albeit to a much lesser degree. Anyways, option 2 it is!


Number two is probably your best option, just side no that while studying for these while in college, don’t let it impact your grades and finals!


I vote for option two. In fact, it is exactly what I did.



If you don’t have a family and work full-time you shouldn’t need a few months to study for the writtens. I’m wrapping up my IRA and FII now with a very full schedule, but I could’ve knocked out the first 3 in a few weeks if I had the time. Supposedly the next three are a cake walk compared to the IRA.

I “retire” from my 9-5 career next week and am taking a decompression month off to study and spend time with family. I think we want to go into this with a clear mind.

Btw, I’m home sick today and my iPad is getting its screen fixed, so instead of studying Sheppard I’m perusing this forum if anybody wonders why I’m all of a sudden very active on here :grinning:

hi there, this is Amir,
I am considering applying for ATP program,
would you please help me with these questions?

do I need to take any test before I start, or should I study even before I apply?
what is the step by step process of application, what should I do first then second, … ?

thank you so much


Please take a look at our FAQ section and ATP’s own website as all of your questions can be answered there.


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thank you Chris

I was fortunate enough to have time to take all 5 Writtens (coming in with credit for private) before I started, and am very glad I did. I was able to take all 5 in just over 2 weeks, and that was with studying 5-7 hours per day (I would not actually recommend this to anyone, I definitely over did it.)

That being said, I would NOT describe the rest of them as a cake walk, by any means of the definition of that term.

While a lot of people consider IRA to be the most challenging, for me it was CAX, which took just as long (if not a little longer) to study for than the IRA. The CAX involves a lot of time/distance, weight & balance, and other type of calculation questions, which can be very cumbersome and time consuming, not to mention interpreting and interpolating various graphs/charts.

The FOI, although the shortest in both time to study and size of question bank, is unlike any of the other tests, as the principals are mostly psychology based (Theories of Learning, etc.), and is definitely not what I’d describe as a cake walk.

Just take your time, focus on each one, and do the best job you can do. I’m seeing several other students not doing so, taking them, and getting less than 90 (some as low as the low to mid 70’s), which simply is not good enough as far as many are concerned.

I mean frankly, I would consider any exam that you are literally given the questions and answers to prior to the test a cake walk. In college that was called cheating.

Time/distance and weight and balance is unequivocally 3rd grade math.