Private Oral exam

I recently started on the first of April and have literally been “flying” through the program. I currently have almost 60 hours and more than 250 landings. We have been talking about scheduling the checkride for late may early June. I, along with many other people, struggle with oral exams or anything of that nature.

I have been studying the FAR/AIM and the oral exam guide to prepare. To reduce the anxiety, are there any easier or alternate ways to make it slightly easier or less intimidating?



To me the best defense against ANY exam anxiety is being OVERLY prepared. If you know that Oral Exam guide backwards and forwards, inside and out, have spoken to other pilots and your instructor and none of them can stump you then what’s the fear? That’s one of the reasons I enjoy study groups. There’s nothing better than getting grilled by a bunch of pilots who are trying to trip you up.


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Study the ACS and take a practice oral with an instructor, preferably not with your primary instructor.

The ACS is what your instructor is/should be using to prepare you for the check ride. The examiner uses the same exact ACS to administer the check ride. If you review everything in the ACS, then there will be less surprises on the day of your ride.



I am a huge fan of the Oral Exam Guide. It really is the bible of aviation and will help you thoroughly prepare for the oral exam. Know that book forwards and backwards. I also like Tory’s suggestion of doing a mock oral with an instructor other than your own.


The ASA oral exam guide is absolutely golden. King Schools also has a checkride prep video with a DPE that I found very helpful, though it does cost around $100. Remember you can always consult any FAA literature during the exam - if you don’t know the answer to a question, never say just “I don’t know,” say “I’m not sure but I know that the answer is in the PHAK/FAR/AIM/etc., so let me go find it.” For example, my examiner asked me the radius around an airport that a TAF is valid for. I had no clue, but figured it must be in the PHAK, so I told him that and was able to go search for the answer. BTW, it’s a lot easier if you use digital copies on your iPad or laptop. Being able to search a PDF is a lot quicker than thumbing through pages by hand.

I used Gleim and the Oral Exam Guide for my PPL and struggled through the oral. Did well on the written thanks to Sportys Study Buddy app…for $10, you can’t beat it. Used King ground school and oral prep for my IR and did really well on the written and oral. I think that was $400. Will be using King for my CR as well.

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