Real Answers from Real Pilots

Study Tips

Hi everyone I’m currently doing ground school at my local flight school called ADF airways. The weather has been terrible cause of the tropical storm hitting us so my instructor and I have been doing more ground school and we’re doing Aerodynamics. I struggled really hard to understand and remember how electricity, the intake system, oil, etc worked. So I’m asking you guys who took ATP or fight school how did you study? What tips can you share? Cause I feel rereading the same chapter over and over again isn’t helping. I read and highlight important facts from the book, use an online study power point, and watch videos on YouTube trying to explains the chapters were currently in. I really want to do this and I want to fly. Please any advice or tips so I can be a better student will be appreciated!

Hey Franklin,

Many of us are overwhelmed at first, it is an incredible amount of knowledge to absorb. I found it easier (note: I did not say easy) to visualize the process for systems. For instance: picture yourself in the fuel tank and flow to the cylinders. I f I could grasp the why if something, I found the memorization came easier, then rinse-repeat. Different variation of this will cover most subject areas. If you can understand the why, it may be easier to retain the what. Fair skies Sir.

Franklin,

I agree with Edward. It’s not a matter of memorization with systems. You need to understand the “Why?” If you don’t understand something, dive deeper before moving on.

Tory

Franklin,

I always find studying with others can be really beneficial. Different people have different ways of learning and understanding concepts. Often if you can just talk it out with others a light bulb will come on due to the process of explaining and having it explained.

That btw is one of the advantages of a school like ATP. There always others to work with.

Adam

I made my own flash cards and used those to study. It’s a really quick and effective way that I’ve reviewed materials my whole life. Writing the information down also helps solidify the information in my head.

As others have mentioned, you need to do more than just memorize it though. When you start CFI you learn about the levels of learning (Rote, Understanding, Application, and Correlation). Rote knowledge/memorization has its place and is essential but it’s also the most shallow level. It’s good to know the systems and other information cold but you also need to be able to apply the knowledge you learned to real and normal operations.

Hi Franklin,

Everything everyone has said above is spot on, my recommendation for powerplant or electrical stuff is, if you’re near an aviation mechanical shop, stop by. Maybe there is a plane that has a cowling off and you could just see if they wouldn’t mind taking the time to let you see it in person. I know ATP has a few maint. hangars at training locations which make that super easy to walk around.

Brady

Hey Franklin,

I did my private training somewhere else too and felt the same way, particularly with systems. I would recommend looking up some YouTube videos on the subjects you’re struggling with. I used to watch some from FLY8MA but there’s tons of other helpful videos out there.

Thank you everyone who posted! I will start making flash cards and look up Stuff on YouTube to see if I can find a better explanation and maybe lucky enough to ask a mechanic to look under the hood of a Cessna. It just sucks that the book is very broad and my instructor apparently wants to be very thorough, not just understand what goes in their but why and how. This week has been very stressful for me.

Franklin,

You may not see the benefit now, but one day you will appreciate your instructor’s thoroughness. Knowing the why and how to your aircraft systems may save your life one day. Plus, I doubt that your instructor is having you learn the systems to this level of detail because they find it amusing. This is standard practice. I asked the same of my students.

Tory

Understanding the why and how is fundamental to learning how to fly. Your instructor is spot on here.

Franklin,

I’m going to pile on here with the others. Anybody can jump in a Cessna, pull back and make the houses get smaller. Understanding the how’s and why’s is what makes you a pilot.

Adam

1 Like

Any advice on how I should study? Like should I study one topic like aerodynamics for an hour and than change it up to electrical as a review for another hour? Cause I’m trying to read all of chapter 1-3 in the Jeppesen book and when I meet my instructor virtually I forget on things work. For example, I studied everyday the pitot and gyro instruments and than my instructors asks me questions about the exhaust system and how it works and I just completely forgot. Its so frustrating. Today’s my first fight lesson and he wants me to be in charge of the radios and I’m trying to grasp how the electrical works.

Hey there.

Honestly everybody has thier own ways of studying, and it’s a habit you pick up early in your life, and take it with you to adult hood through college, flight school, etc.

In the third grade I was always thought repetition. You read the sentence once, try to understand it one time, then move on to the next sentence. Then you go back to the first, try to understand it “for real” this time, then move on and etc.

Im a visual learner, so youtube certainly helps. When trying to understand how gyro instruments work and stuff, I found it very helpful to see a visual diagram of its inner workings.

When you finish studying and resume the next day, you look back and recap yesterday’s lesson.

Its very hard to explain how to study to someone.

In conclusion, it’s just a habit you are taught very early in childhood (3rd grade, 4th grade, etc), you see what works for you through the years, and you just build that habit. Everyone learns differently.

Take breaks as well. Study for an hour, break for 15 mins. Once all the studying is complete for the day, reward yourself with a slice of pizza, movie theater with friends, or something. The self-reward system works great to keep you on your feet.