Real Answers from Real Pilots

Private Pilot and Sportys

I had some iTunes credit I needed to burn so I downloaded the Shortys app for the PPL, started going through this but noticed there is no where to really read chapters for this information. I have been reading through these Q&A’s and noticed most of the pilots recommend really just memorizing the questions, going through the practice exam twice and getting over a 90%.

Then I noticed the learning mode has 719 questions to memorize. (Wow!). To give you a little background, I’m looking to start beginning of March due to a vacation I’ve had planned that would take me out two weeks (also read it’s better to not miss any time in your first 9 months). Before I start it seems I am going to help myself by completing my PPL and Instrument written exams. Is this true? How long are these exams when I actually take them? Since the PPL is good for 2 years is the instrument the same?

Anything else you recommend would be great, going into this coming from the mortgage industry.


I think you mean “Sporty’s”, not “Shorty’s” :slight_smile:

I am not terribly familiar with the Sporty’s app. What we recommend is the “Study Buddy” app, that you should have been able to download for free. It sounds like you just purchases an expanded version of that app. 719 questions sounds like a lot, and it is, but a lot of them are duplicates or very common to other questions in the test bank. Going through the bank and using memorization, until you are consistently scoring at least a 90% on the practice tests really is the best way possible to prepare for the exams.

FAA written exams are all valid for two years. I would strongly encourage you to take not just the private and the instrument, but as many as possible. With as much time as you have available, you should be able to take all of them prior to starting the program. I did exactly that and it was an absolutely huge relief to have those tests out of the way and it really allowed me to focus on other areas of my training.


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Thanks! And am I correct there is 8 exams? Do I have to take these at an ATP location? I live 5 hours away from the closest location. Wasn’t sure if this was something I could register for in regular testing center at a local college or maybe it has to be completed at a FAA office.

Thanks again!


I believe there are seven written exams in total, but quite honestly, I am going to have to check and get back to you on that.

The FAA tests cane completed at an ATP location, but can also be taken at any other FAA approved location. Check out this page for more info:



The exams can be taken at any test center. There are basically 2 test center organization (CATS and LaserGrade) but I think there are more CATS centers? You can find one here:
There are actually only 6 required (I think?, Private, Instrument, Commercial, Flight Instructor, Instrument Instructor and the Fundamentals of Instructing), the others are optional.