Written Tests & Memorization

Hey all,

I’m planning on enrolling in the accelerated pilot program in January (still figuring out which location will be the most practical for me) and am very excited. I was getting ready to start studying for my written tests, looking both at Sporty’s and Kings, and on the Kings site I came across this message:

Warning: You can’t just memorize test questions and expect to pass your FAA Private Pilot Written Test. Why? The FAA used to make their question banks publicly available; however, they have not done so for many years. In fact, the FAA has recently gone through their entire database and changed every single test question and answer in order to eliminate test question memorization.

From everything I’ve read on this forum (and everywhere else on the internet), it was my expectation that I’d just memorize the questions and answers as that’s the best method for passing the test. My question is: is this Kings warning true or is it just their sales pitch? Is memorization still the best method for preparation?

Here’s the link to the Kings page with the warning message: Free FAA Practice Test - FAA Private Pilot Test Prep Questions by King Schools


I like the Kings, they are super nice people and have a great deal of knowledge, but I am going to strongly disagree with them on this.

Use Sporty’s Study Buddy for the private exam and Sheppard Air for the others. Memorization is the name of the game. You can learn it all later in a manner that will be more conducive to actual learning.



I am with Chris on this one, rote memorization and learn the material as you go. As you complete your PAR your next written will be the IRA, then FII…etc. Use Sheppard Air for those past PAR and its simply rote memorization. I wouldn’t be surprised if the FAA has “quit” selling test banks, but Sheppard Air always seems to update their database based on “FAA updates.”

That’s nice that King’s provide a free practice test, I’ve never seen that before. Note to self, my weakest test was my PAR, everyone after that was 96% and greater.


Thanks guys, that’s good to hear. When I saw the bolded “Warning” my BS sensors started to go off but wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something. I appreciate the quick responses.


The Kings issued their warning because they’re correct. The FAA no longer publishes the exact questions and answers VERBATIM. What I mean is say the question on Sportys says “75% of all planes are painted what color?” and the answer is white. The actual question might be “what color are 75% of airplanes painted?”. Now I don’t want to offend anyone but making that correlation shouldn’t be too arduous but apparently for some it is. They complained the questions weren’t “exact” hence the warning.

Make sense?


Hot off the presses:

This is awesome, Brady. Thanks all for the responses and providing some clarity.


My pleasure! I once was in a position when I started out where I was like “what is an Airman Knowledge Test, how do I prepare.” I was more than pleased to write it, as time goes on any facts or anything I’ll update the thread.



King schools has been around a long time and has taught literally thousands of pilots (including me) the ground school knowledge needed to be successful. However, they prep you for the test by teaching you the material. It’s meant to be used for ground school and test prep once completed.

If everyone could just memorize the questions and answers from a $6.99 study app, it negates the need for their prep ware. Their method isn’t the only way to be successful on the exam.

The way ATP recommends you doing it is the fastest way and cheapest way to knock out the writtens with the intention of teaching you ground school with the Elevate videos once you’re in the program.

Make sense?


Thanks for all the information and advice. I’m planning on starting ATP in December sometime and looking for a headstart or just some informational reading.