Real Answers from Real Pilots

Private Pilot Checkride

Hello All,
I am a student at ATP Daytona and I’m a couple of weeks away from my private pilot checkride. I have been studying the oral exam guide book and watching you tube videos related to the topic. I feel confident in my abilities in the air but feel my abilities during the oral may be a struggle. My study habits are fine and my general grasp of the topics is fine as well (93% written). My question specifically is how to answer the questions during the oral. I do not want to provide to little info but fear if prodded my knowledge is only surface deep in many areas. What is the best method for displaying understanding without walking myself down a dark street. Is giving a partial answer ok or should I try to give what I think is the best answer if I am not confident in going in depth with a follow up. How much specificity are DPEs looking for during the oral? Thanks in advance for your response. -Matthew


I recommend only answering what is asked. If the examiner asks you “what are the various classes of airspace?” just answer that, don’t go into descriptions of the airspace.

Now I will say this, if your knowledge is only surface deep, that will not be sufficient. Even if you get through the checkride, the lack of knowledge could present a problem at later phases of your training, or even worse, in the airplane without an instructor there with you. I recommend buying the ASA Oral Exam Guides for each checkride and memorizing everything in them. You should be able to find it at any local FBO.



I can’t give you the answer that you’re looking for. Examiners know the
difference between someone who’s knowledgeable, but can’t find the right
words because they’re nervous vs someone who isn’t knowledgeable.

It is the responsibility of you and your instructor to know the material.
My best advice is for you to ask a CFI (not your primary CFI) at your
location to give you a mock oral. This is what we did when I was teaching.
It worked for us. I would go through the ACS, line by line, and take notes
as I went along. At the end, my notes were shared with the student and the
student’s primary instructor. That gave the two of them an opportunity to
polish the student’s areas of deficiency.


Thank you both for the responses and suggestions!!

No problem. Let us know how it goes.