Hello fellow pilots and aspiring pilots,
Was just curious as to what you all would do in my situation. I just started this week and have been really enjoying it. Been studying as much as I can but I have noticed how much I’m hindered by not having my writtens done. I was wondering if any of the mentors would recommend pausing the program so that I can finish my writtens. Then resume the program and focus on learning how to fly? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Saying we told you so it’s kind of pointless (but we did).
Regardless, while we always recommend completing as many of the writtens as you can, it’s definitely not a requirement and many ATP students don’t (I believe Tory didn’t?). The first week can be a little overwhelming but you should settle into a groove and once you do you should find you’ve got time to study. I wouldn’t pause.
Having it on the website saying one thing but then all the instructors telling me on the day of my intro flight that i’ll have “plenty of time to study” for it and stressing the “longer I wait the more seniority I lose out on” are very conflicting. Regardless, I still appreciate the feedback and the super fast response!
I’m not trying to steal your thunder, but I had a related question regarding the written exams; What difference does finishing the writtens before starting the program do for you? I’m assuming that because you don’t have to study for them, there are less things to worry about and it allows you to spend more time in the aircraft instead of at a desk, which means you can finish the program in a shorter time. Is that right?
I’m assuming that the writtens are kind of like a driving permit test; You do them for text-book knowledge and to demonstrate basic competency, the real learning comes from hands-on.
Is this assumption correct? I’m just trying to wrap my head around what role the writtens play while in ATP.
As a former lead for a large training center in the southeast region, I will tell you that pausing your program isn’t an option. The 9 month program is what your signed up for and it’s the training support teams goal to get you through in that time or less. If you pause you’re not only hurting your flight proficiency but you’re also prolonging your program. That will end up jeopardizing your ability to get a CFI position upon completion.
My advice to you is to take a deep breathe and try to focus on the main priority. It’s your first week and it can feel very overwhelming. Your first priority each day is to come prepared for your flights because that is precious and expensive time. Then focus on studying for your written. It may take hours at night after getting home from the TC or early mornings before flights but it just has to be done. You were given a deadline for the PAR test and if you don’t make it, you can be charged the cost of the test. Further delays after that, you could be placed on a Training Improvement plan which is the last effort to get you back on pace before any kind of program termination talks. Not trying to say this to scare you, just want you to be aware of how important it is to keep the pace and get it done.
Great Question. So the writtens or “knowledge tests” are what I would like to call busy work. They are exams that you have to take and pass (>70%) and they allow you to progress further into that stage. By having the writtens knocked out you could dedicate all of your time towards learning fundamentals, maneuvers, landings etc…
In my opinion the biggest things airlines look at aren’t your written scores but more your consistency with passing checkrides and also your pilot/aviation skills.
You’re absolutely right. The writtens are a box to check mandated by the FAA. Studying for it is mostly rote memory but the real learning comes from ground school and hands on experience. We highly recommend you get them done ahead of time because you’ll be swamped (as Tom has stated) from day one trying to keep up with the ATP pace: how to stay ahead and prepared for Your flights (memorize flows, briefings, Vspeeds, or configurations), your next ground lesson or completing your modules let alone the mounds of extra time needed to properly prepare for the written exam. You’re simply not going to have enough hours in the day. If you don’t get them done ahead and you struggle to make your PAR deadline (I believe it’s 22 days after your first day), you can be charged the full price of the exam and given just a few extra days. If you can’t make that, you’ll be put on a remedial plan and your program could be in jeopardy of termination. It sounds harsh but if you are behind already only a week or two in, it’s not a good sign for your future success in the program. The reason the writtens are taken so seriously too is because if you’re spending all your time studying for the written trying to catch up and make a deadline you won’t have time to study for your flights. You see one will always be neglected so get it done before you start and you’ll free up so much of your time and set you up for success.
So just to clarify is it possible to pause or not possible to pause the program and resume it after the writtens are completed?
Please read my full response above but No it is not an option.
I didn’t have my written tests done prior to starting and that was back when the program was 6months instead of 9. It can be done.
I would not pause the program to finish the writtens. We recommend completing them before hand, but you have to remember that the program is designed for the writtens to be completed during the program and I believe the majority of students do it that way.
As for the grades, I would really strive to be at 90% or above on each of the written exams. While 70% is technically passing, I would not want to show that kind of score to an examiner.
The writtens are required by the FAA to take certain check rides. While the material of course correlates, that are not the best way to study for the various check rides you will face. That is why we recommend completing them before training. That being said, there is no requirement to do so and many people do not. The goal with completing them before hand is to free up more time for yourself in the program to study for other things. But again, it is not a requirement.