Written Examinations Prior to Class Date

Long time reader, first time actually posting. As is custom on the forum, I find it necessary to express my thanks to you all for the knowledge base found on the forum. You all are an excellent resource to anyone seeking to research a potential career in aviation.

A little about myself, I graduate with a four-year degree within the next 3 months and my plan is to begin with ATP within 6 months of having graduated. That 6 month window will give me some time to sort out some financial concerns (pay off remaining student debt, save for living expenses, etc.) and also get a jump on some of the FAA written exams prior to beginning flight instruction. My question is this: Which specific exams would you recommend I take care of prior to beginning instruction? Obviously, the PPL Written would be a no brainer, but what about the exams concerning, say, instrument rating or commercial certification? Would it be feasible to take an written instrument exam having never flown an instrument flight plan? Which specific exams would you recommend I complete prior to beginning with ATP if you would recommend completing any exams other than the PPL?

Looking forward to hearing from you,

  • Justin M.


Thank you for the introduction and for your kind words. It is absolutely possible to take all of your written exams prior to beginning training, I did and so have many others. With six months off, you should have plenty of time to accomplish this. The following page explains everything you need to know about taking the writtens early: https://atpflightschool.com/faqs/acpp-prep-written-knowledge-tests.html

I would recommend completing all eight exams listed prior to beginning training, it will make your life in the program much easier.


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I took the PPL, IRA, FII and CAX exams 2 months prior to starting the program so it is definitely feasible and doable as Chris said. It is highly suggested to knock out as many as you can.

Get as many done as you can. I came in credit private and had my Insturment and Commercial writtens done, leaving me only 2 CFI writtens to do. While I was getting to study in depth on instrument and commercial, I watched as my peers were stressed on getting the writtens done. The program is intense, by getting these done, you have more time to spend on what you need for the practical exam and a little stress lifted off of your shoulders.


Are the exams proctored? If you take it before you start where are you sitting for this exam?


The exams are proctored. If you are already enrolled at ATP, you can take them at any ATP location. If you are not, you will need to find an FAA approved testing center, which can be easily found on the web.


Thanks Chris! What if I signed up for a start date and paid deposit but haven’t started yet? Can I still go to the ATP center to take them?

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Yes, absolutely. Make sure to call and schedule in advance first though.

Bear in mind that for some of the writtens you will need a CFI to sign you off, contact the admissions team when you are ready to take the exam and they will help you secure the sign off.


Oh is this when I need to show the 3 practice tests for 90%?