Watch out!

After a couple years of research, countless conversations with pilots (corporate to airlines and all in between). I have decided to start ATP this July 22nd at the Conroe, TX location. With many thanks to the mentors and fellow students who have answered all my questions over the years…again…thanks.

I’ve taken the recommendation to knock out as many writtens as I can. I obviously dont know how much it will benefit me yet but so far PAR is complete and IRA is about 3 or 4 days away. My goal is 4 completed by start date.

I tend to keep this thread as updated as realistically possible, in hope to answer or shed light on different aspects of the program.



Good luck in the program. You will be very glad about completing the written exams.

Please keep us up to date.


I’m currently at the Conroe location and let me tell you…doing your writtens will save you a ton of stress.

Honestly I see it more important getting the ones after Private done because that is when you have less time to do them.

Instrument: The test bank is something like 1400 questions and sucks up a huge amount of time that could be spent learning the tons of procedures and nuances of instrument flying. Being able to focus on actually learning instead of having to do memorization games for the check box that is the FAA written test saves a ton of time in this phase.

Commercial: This is not a very long phase at all, and as such most people spend time during crew (between Instrument and Comm Single) studying for it. What if your crew only takes 10 days because of good scheduling and weather and you spend most of that flying? Not a ton of time to study and it leads to a lot being stressed out about getting it done.

The benefits way outweigh the time you’ll spend droning away at it before you start. Good luck to ya and see you soon.


Hi Clint,

Do them all. Find a way. I started at the San Diego location one week ago. On Thursday I was chatting to a guy who is ready to start CFI training but got his start date moved back a month because he didn’t have the writtens completed in time for his scheduled start date. There was no other reason he had to drop back a month except not having the last 2 writtens done. It was exactly as Caleb states, he was busy doing CRM, cross countries, preparing for his check ride and didn’t have time to do writtens as well.

Once the program starts, you will be plenty busy with a ton of things to learn and motor skills to develop.

If you are 4 days away from doing IRA you can do the rest by July 22 if you put in the work. Do FII the same day you do IRA - the question database is almost identical, no additional studying is necessary. FOI is a piece of cake, I studied it for 4 hours then took the test and got a 92%. Tons of people score 100% on FOI. That leaves you with 2 additional tests and 3-4 weeks to complete them. Totally doable.

Congratulations on making this leap!


Good Luck Clint.

I’m going to echo everyone else with you are gonna be so happy you are done them while you’re in training. I know Sheppard doesn’t suggest or promote taking the FII without prepping for it but everyone I know has taken them back to back and i’d say 80% of us got a better score on the FII than the instrument as wrong answers on the IRA popped up on the FII.

A little story of a current student with writtens done early; I’m scheduled for my Instrument check ride next Monday and another student is scheduled this week. For the last 2+ weeks I have been able to focus on honing my skills for the checkride along with studying the knowledge and everything else for it. The other student has spent the last 4 weeks memorizing Sheppard’s for his writtens and after putting the tests off again and again over the last week he finally took them and got a 76 and 80 (IRA and FII). He doesn’t have any more time to try and get a better score for either as he now has to cram for his check ride this week. Talk about a stress relief when you see in person not having your writtens done during the program.

Again good luck and I cant wait to see your progress in another region.

Congrats, Clint! Welcome!


I just took the IRA and FII last Friday. I took the IRA first and literally had about 6-8 of the same questions pop up on the FII that I had on the IRA. Sheppard air says their course doesn’t prepare you for the FII, but all the questions on the FII were from the same bank as the IRA, with maybe one or two new ones.