Real Answers from Real Pilots

Written Exams Advice I Would Have Given to Myself

First off thank you to the authors of the other fantastic posts detailing knocking out the writtens early prior to ATP, and thank you to the mentors for your super helpful responses! I was going to post this under the other written exam posts but there hasn’t been a written exam post in over a year so figured I’d post a new one for anyone who’s interested - if I should have posted it on the other existing posts I apologize in advance! I followed all of your advice to the T and here’s the 20/20 hindsight advice I would have given to myself if I was going through the process again:

  1. Private Pilot Written (PAR) - took this back in October 2007 using Gleim and Sporty’s studying for about a month - I wish I had had access to the King Schools app which ATP provides but hey iPads didn’t even exist back then! (97%)
  2. Instrument Written (IRA),
  3. Certificated Flight Instructor Instrument Written (CFII), and
  4. Instrument Ground Instructor Written (IGI) - I used Sheppard Air on an iPad (you’ll have to purchase an iPad for ATP anyway) just for the IRA course (didn’t use Sheppard’s CFII or IGI courses) and studied for 7 weeks - I took these 3 exams on the same day back-to-back and my one regret is that I was too cheap to spend the $10 on the Sheppard Air IGI course and I should have - there was a helicopter minimum fuel question which threw me for a loop but other than that they seemed like the exact same question bank. What I would have done in retrospect is to sign up for Sheppard’s IRA course and take the IRA and the CFII back to back on the same day. Since Sheppard only allows you to enroll in only one of their courses at any given time, I would have then signed up for Sheppard’s IGI course and spent 1 or 2 days studying for the IGI and then take it while the IRA and CFII info is still fresh but now all of the additional IGI questions would have been presented. What I wish I had known here also is that although Sheppard Air will give you a written endorsement to take the exam after you score a 90% or higher on one Sheppard practice test, Sheppard’s written endorsement is only valid for 5 days - meaning that if you take a practice exam on a Thursday like I did and qualify for Sheppard’s endorsement but your FAA written exam is scheduled for the following Friday 8 days later you will have to take another practice exam and requalify for Sheppard’s endorsement within 5 days of your scheduled FAA exam - no biggie just wanted everyone to be aware! (100%, 100%, and 94%)
  5. Commercial Written (CAX) - Again I used Sheppard Air and studied for 3 weeks - the advice I would give to myself here would be to go through the calculations questions only once or twice since you get the same credit scorewise for a quick correct vocabulary question as you receive for an intense calculation question which takes like 5 minutes to get through - a right answer is a right answer they’re all equally weighted (that’s not to say that the calculation questions should not be learned I just mean not to get bogged down in them) (97%)
  6. Flight Instructor Written (FIA) - Sheppard Air here as well - studied for 9 days and took my own advice to not get bogged down with the calculation questions even though I actually LOVE doing them! (96%)
  7. Advanced Ground Instructor (AGI) - Sheppard Air again - spent 2 days studying since the question bank is almost exactly the same as the FIA - I learned my lesson from the IGI and spent the extra $10 on the Sheppard Air AGI course and was glad I did this time since there were an additional 150 new questions on top of the FIA Sheppard Air course content so no surprise helicopter minimum fuel this time! :slight_smile: (98%)
  8. Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) - I used Sheppard Air again here and started studying on the day I took my AGI exam right when I got home and studied the following morning for 4 hours and then an additional 2 hours at the testing center right before my exam - this one was zero calculator - all learning concepts and mainly vocabulary from a 400 potential question bank (98%)

Anyway that’s what I wish I had known on the way in - the whole process took me 3 months starting with purchasing Sheppard Air for the IRA back in August and ending with my FOI exam yesterday and in retrospect I probably should have just spent 2 months but I was so scared of that IRA written! I start ATP ACPP (with credit for private) @ FXE this coming Monday at the ripe age of 43 years young and couldn’t be more PSYCHED!!! Thank you all again!!!

Sincerely,
Herman

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Herman,

Thanks for the post. Lots of good info there and good luck in the program. Don’t forget to have fun and Kerri us posted.

Adam

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Herman,
Wow, thank you for that thoughtful write up! I know that will help future students to come. You really put in a lot of hard work to knock out all those writtens. It will help you tremendously as you embark on your upcoming class date. With that all behind you, now is time for the fun part… getting to fly! Please keep us updated along the way!
-Hannah

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Wow Adam and Hannah you are my heroes thank you for writing back to me I used both of your advice from your previous replies to posts in developing my written exams strategy so thank you SO much again!!!

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Herman,

There are some great tips in there. Thank you for sharing and great work! Please keep us up to date as you go through the program :slight_smile:

Chris

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Thank you Chris I used your advice during my studying as well!

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This airlinepilot.life forum is awesome - these posts were unbelievably helpful to me as well so a HUGE thank you to Luke @LWilliford Moe @ATPhopeful , Trey @Utah_Pilot and Robert @robert.stratford !!!

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So glad to hear that @grandpa88! There’s a lot of smart people with great experiences to share here :slight_smile: Something I find very cool about this industry compared to any other… the desire to help those who come after you. I had mentors and now I’m mentoring. You probably have a lot of mentors but in a very short time you will be one of those too!

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Hannah @Hannah if I could mentor as many students/future aviators as you have already it would be an honor! This is my inspiration:

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Herman,
Based on your passion here on the forum I have no doubt you will!
-Hannah

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