Written exams- Wesley

Back with another question,

I’m looking to come into ATP school at the end of this Summer with all of my written exams. I’ve seen it’s hughly recommended, especially by those who did so themselves. I’m wondering how how you think it takes to study/complete them?

  1. I just got Gleim for the PPL studying, is king much better?

  2. I also come from the financial industry. We have exams for licenses as well and the idea for those from companies is typically “study enough to get a passing score… you’ll learn everything you need outside of this exam”
    … is that the same philosophy here? Or are employers going to want to see people score in the 90s etc for these tests?

Thanks so much guys!

Just got back from my Private written with a pass. Not really happy with my score but I can’t complain since I was rushing to get it done. Studied for a week and a half for about 5-6 hours everyday, on my fourth day I scheduled my exam because I wanted to force myself to study harder. Use Sporty’s study buddy, the questions are almost 90 percent the same. I finished all the courses from King’s school first so I can get an idea about the terminologies then proceeded with using the study buddy. I’m coming in with zero time. Just keep on reading it over and over, soon it’ll just come to you. If there is something I don’t understand in the study buddy, I will go back to King’s and watch the video again. I find it important to understand why the answer is like that compare to just memorizing it. I didn’t feel ready but I know I’ll never be and I need to get this out of the way so I can start studying for the next written.

Also, I read somewhere that DPE’s will focus on the areas that you didn’t do good in the writtens so I made sure to review the questions I got wrong and study more for those areas.


I took all of my writtens in advance and found that it gave me a huge leap on the program.

I prefer the Kings series, I find them vastly more interesting than the other options out there.

No, you should shoot for 100% on all of your writtens and certainly not settle for anything less than 90%. Your employers will never know your score, but the FAA examiner that administers your checkrides will and will ask you questions on the areas of the exam that you got wrong. A higher score will make your life easier in the checkride.

Keep in mind that once you place your deposit down with ATP, you will be provided with all of the study material that you need for the written exams.


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Great feedback, thanks Chris.
I’ll be coming in with my ppl. I already bought gleim for that. I’ve flown a few weeks and now have started studying for the past few days on the written.
If I put my deposit down for the 6 month program, I’m assuming I would not receive study material for the PPL exam right?


With all due respect I couldn’t disagree more. I have 2 close friends who are both examiners. The knowledge exams are by far the easiest part of the process. The examiners know this and also know that ALL the answers are available. Based on that they expect you to have a VERY strong test score. Since literally anyone who does enough studying is capable of getting 100%, failure to do well translates that you’re either lazy or couldn’t be bothered which raises their radar (they don’t want to hear you didn’t have enough time). In short having a weak score will almost ALWAYS mean you can expect a LONG possibly painful oral exam.

Wesley this is not the financial industry. This is aviation. While making some bad financial decisions might cause someone to take their own life, the risk is considerably higher flying airplanes. So let me ask you a question? Would you want your family flying on a plane who’s pilot just “studied enough to get a passing score”?



Studying for the exam was surprisingly easy and it got me complacent. I studied on and off. Oh well, lesson learned! Looks like I’m in for a ride with my oral exam.

You could always retake the exam and get a higher score. I would.

Oh really? How soon can I retake it? Will DME’s see that I took the exam again and will they see my previous lower score if I get a higher score? Also, if my first score was better than the second one, can I choose which one they can see? Thanks for the info @Chris!


You need to wait 30 days before you can retest. The original test will be taken from you and the most recent test score stands so no you cannot choose which one you show them. Yes they will know you retested (but will not see your original score). It will say “Attempts: 2” on the most recent.


Michelle, during the oral the DPE will have to ask you questions related to the areas that you’ve missed on your exam. Your test results include PLT codes for questions you have missed, and the examiner will cover all areas required under the applicable Airman Certification Standards for the license you seek PLUS the areas identified as deficient on your written exam (via PLT codes). If your PAR score is lower than mid-80s, I’d consider retaking the exam after doing some additional studying. It will make your life easier down the road.

Thanks @Adam and Sergey! I did actually review all the questions I missed before I walk out of the testing room and I also checked the PLT codes yesterday and most of the questions I missed are simple questions like what is Density Altitude and Pressure Altitude and two questions of who is responsible for making sure that the PIC is in good health even with a valid med cert. Will the DPE not grill me more if he sees that I took the exam twice?


It all depends on the DPE. They will see 2 attempts and may ask about that. If your response is you weren’t happy with the XX% and knew you could do better they may go easier seeing that you strive for perfection or they may go just as hard for the new missed questions. The issue you’re gonna face with the lower score is studying the generic PLT code subjects and knowing it inside and out to be able to recall it when you are already gonna be stressed for the Checkride. DPEs want to see you pass but that doesn’t help the stress of wanting to pass and having the grading of someone you just met.

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The higher the score, the less scrutiny you will face. The DPE is required to test the areas you missed, no matter how simple or silly the errors were.

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Depends on the DPE? If I were your DPE I’d ask why you took it twice and depending on your answer I would decide how much grilling I felt like doing. More so most DPEs will have a pretty good gauge of who they’re dealing with in the first few minutes.

The moral here, which may have escaped you, is it’s the DPEs responsibility to make certain they’re not putting someone who’s unsafe into the air and it’s something they take very seriously. Both a low score or a retest immediately place a question mark on you and they need to make sure they answer that question before they move forward.

Hopefully you’ll do better in the future.




For the rest of your knowledge exams Sheppard Air is the way to go. It’s rote memorization of the questions and answers, but their study strategy hits the nail on the head. With Sheppard Air you’ll have no excuse to not get a 100%. They literally give you every question and answer to the test. The wording may differ on some questions, but all of them should click on like a light bulb when you see them.

As Adam said, DPEs want you to pass, but they want to make sure that you will conduct yourself with the upmost safety and skill as PIC before they sign off on you. This is a serious responsibility of both the instructor and the examiner. Study hard and don’t get complacent and show your instructor and examiner that you take their time and final decision seriously.

Hoping the best for yah!


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Like they said, it depends on the DPE. In my experience only (which again will differ based on DPE) but for me I had failed the PAR with a 68% and got an got a 87% on the re take the DPE didn’t mention anything about re taking it but did go over all the PLT codes. For instrument I got a score in the high 70s however the DPE didn’t go over the PLT codes so it really just depends. I find it easier to just study the PLT codes (over re taking) and know the topics and be over prepared for the oral but that will vary by person.


FYI when you get to the airlines 80% is passing for most so you might want to step up your game.

I believe you said in another thread you just took the weekend to study for your CAX and got a 79%. Again if this were the airlines not only would you have busted but if you continued to score at the bottom you’d probably have a nice conversation with the Director of Training.



Good to know. Other then the ATP written I’m assuming the airlines all have there own written tests throughout training?