Real Answers from Real Pilots

Zero time, working on PAR and IRA

Hi all. I have a start date of Feb 28 @ LVK, From Zero Time, Fast Track .
It’s been recommended by Pilot Mentors, ATP Grads, and Verified Students that getting the knowledge exams completed ahead of time is a definite plus in order to “stay ahead” of the course, as it were.

I’ve gone through most of the introductory & onboarding material on the Extranet, and started the King School PAR Ground School & Test Prep. Over the last week or so, I’ve been getting ~90% on the Practice Test results with consistency.

My next step is to schedule my PAR exam at the local PSI Testing Center. I feel ready.

Here’s my question for the room:
For a zero time pilot, what have you seen/experienced as time commitments to study for, and be test-ready, for the IRA and CAX knowledge exams? I understand everyone has varying degrees of comprehension, but I would imagine there’s some kind of established baseline.

Any feedback is appreciated!


Congrats! That start date will be here before you know it. You should also receive your box of materials soon. That’s when it gets real! Sounds like you’re set up well for the PAR. As for the IRA and CAX, you know to use Sheppard air right? It’s a test prep app with the FAA question bank and a specific study protocol to follow. The IRA will be the most time intensive. It’s about a 1,000 question bank…plus most of the material will be strictly rote memory since you don’t have the background knowledge yet. That takes more time to memorize. I’d plan at least a month for the IRA. The CAX will feel very similar to the PAR, just a slightly higher difficulty but very similar questions. It’s about 600 questions and could be knocked out in 2 weeks or maybe even a little less.


Hey Chris,

We’re on the same timeline for everything, starting fast track program on Feb 28th in MMU, booked my PAR exam for tomorrow then had to change it cuz I got a little sick, but hopefully will be game for Saturday.

I also wanna knock IRA and CAX before I start, will definitely do my best at it. Best of luck man.


1 Like


As you said, everyone learns and comprehends differently. Years ago when you could just take the ATP written exam (with no ATP-CTP), ATP had a one day self study prep course. I proctored many of those preps and there were people who were ready in 2hrs, others took 12 and most were somewhere in the middle.

That said I agree with Hannah and I think 2 weeks of pretty consistent study should do the trip (your results may vary :wink: ).



Agree with what’s been already said. It sounds like you want to go from IRA right to CAX. I’d recommend (along with ATP) to get your FII, which is required for your CFII, done as soon as possible after your IRA. The FII does not require an endorsement and uses basically the same question bank as the IRA so you don’t need to purchase a separate module from Sheppard. Get those two knocked out then hit the CAX.

As for study time, two weeks were budgeted studying for each exam (except IRA and FII as those were taken the same day) as I wanted a 95 or higher on all my practice exams before taking the test. FOI only requires a couple days max. I also took the exams during the program so well done trying to knock these out beforehand. Strive for as high a score as possible because any questions you miss on the written are required to be covered in your checkride. Good luck!


Gotcha, thanks for the insight.
That all makes sense.

Best of luck to you too, Marwan!

Cool, thanks for the insight, @Hannah

Thanks Adam.


I found that I took about 2-3 weeks of studying per exam to feel ready for the tests, but your results may vary.


1 Like