Real Answers from Real Pilots

Actual study time for PPL



There is a well established test bank that the FAA actually publishes. Memorization is absolutely the best way to pass the FAA written exams.


(Al) #44

Wait til you go for your IFR if you’re worried now

(Richard Spencer) #45

Memorizing vs Not Memorizing

That is the question.

Let me clear this up for you. Getting a pilot license is an event closely regulated by the US Federal Government (Code of Federal Regulations 14, Part 61). Therefore, the government created a written exam and a practical exam.

Memorize the written exam. Why? Because it was written by a bunch of lawyers and staff people that have never been professional pilots. Just check that box.

Learn from your ground instructors and flight instructors for the practical exam. Why? Because they are professional pilots and the guy/gal giving the exam is also a professional pilot (of sorts).

Keep in mind, the examiner will have the results of the written in front of them. They know which questions you got right and wrong. They want to make sure you understand those things you missed on the written- expect questions to focus on those. Now if you have a 100% score, well, you just demonstrated due diligence, something they like to see. Things tend to go much easier with high scores rather than presenting a 71%, if you get my drift.

Just saying. This is my opinion, from experience and observations.

ATP, CE560, HS125, EMB505

(Peter Banning) #46

I agree with all about memorization for the PPL written. In regards to oral exam during a practical, I had multiple people - including a retired FAA examiner tell me they viewed a 100% score on a written as much of a red flag as a 71%, and they would intentionally make the oral exam much more difficult just to see how much the prospective pilot knew, and to provide a “humbling” experience if needed. I found it odd at the time, but I suppose that makes sense.



I have had the exact opposite experience. I went in with a 100% and was asked very few questions, because I had already proven that I knew the material. I would always try for the absolute best score possible.


(Richard Spencer) #48

Interesting perspective. My experience has always been, “Wow. 100%, good job” then a very straightforward oral discussion and flight. You still should be well prepared. Then again, people that work hard to get that 100% score usually are.

(Peter Banning) #49

That is very interesting. I suppose it depends on the attitude of each individual examiner. I was even encouraged (and took their advice) to intentionally miss at least one question if I felt like I had gotten them all correct by the end of the test. That’s kinda hilarious, and kinda frustrating at the same time, after reading your response. It ended up working out fine, and I passed the Practical my first time through, so I guess it’s a moot point now. Nonetheless, very intriguing. :smile:


I can’t imagine ever encouraging a student to purposely get something wrong, I seriously question that CFI’s judgment.


I’m with Chris. Sounds like a rogue DE with a chip on his shoulder. Always strive for excellence, ALWAYS.


(Christian L Franqui) #52

I understand that the PAR, IRA, CAX all require an endorsement in order to take the exams. Is this the reason why you can only take these exams 2-3 months before your start date?

Is there a path that would allow me to take them with more time in advance? With or without ATP? I haven’t applied to ATP yet, but will be doing so in about 6-9 months. I don’t anticipate any hiccups as I have excellent (established) credit (800+ beacon score) and already have a BA and an MA. I was hoping to cross out as many written exams as I can with as much anticipation as I can before I start.



No one says you can’t take the exams earlier (this is America and you can do what you like). Thing is ATP provides the course material after you pay your deposit and lock in a class date, which most people don’t do earlier than 2-3mos so they don’t have the materials. The only real caveat is all writtens expire if the practical isn’t taken within 24mos so you want to try and figure that into it. Let’s say you took the exams today, you say you’re looking at scheduling 6-9mos from now. Let’s say it becomes 9mos and there’s no class date available for another 3. Now you’re at 12 mos before you start. Add the 9 mos for the program and you may be cutting things a little close. Def not the end of the world but no one wants to take the tests twice. Personally I’d wait until you know for certain but again totally your call.


(Tory) #54


Where did you read that you had to take the writtens 2-3 months before your
start date? ATP’s website mentions nothing of such timeframe. It only
states that the test results are valid for 24 calendar months, and suggests
not to take them “too early.”


(Christian L Franqui) #55

Oh okay great! Thanks fellas! I guess I misread the following (I was skimming through the posts - something I definitely WON’T be doing during my studying…)

(Tory) #56

I need to clarify something. The written exams can be taken at any time. Be
mindful of their expiration though (24 calendar months).

Now, if you have selected a start date with ATP, the cost to take each
written is included in your tuition. If you have not selected a start date
and want to take your writtens, the cost is on you. The price for each test
is $150.


(Bradley W Backus) #57

Hey Tory, if I can get financed in March or April, do I have to wait 6-8 weeks, which is what I thought I read, just to get into the flight school? I’d like to start in 4 weeks from approval time.

(Tory) #58

Hey Brad,

Your start date will depend on if there is an opening at your preferred
location. I don’t know what the situation will be like, but the admissions
department will. I would give them a call when you have your medical and
finances in hand. Your start date isn’t something you can control. It’s
based on instructor and examiner availability. It’s worth asking, but just
know that if there isn’t an opening during the time you want, it’s in your
best interest to wait for the right start date selected by admissions.

How’s the studying going?


(Bradley W Backus) #59

I’ve had to move in the last 2 weeks (I found a place only 4 miles from the ATP flight school in Centennial!):+1::flight_departure:; I had a really bad sinus infection since Christmas so haven’t been able to study at all!:anguished::frowning: But I finally get to start this weekend. I think I need to watch the videos I have on private pilot and instrument ratings to understand all this stuff so I can get an idea of what all those questions are on the exams. I am also going up flying again in next 2 weeks. :flight_departure:
Thanks again Tory for all the stellar links and advice you’ve given me to prepare; you guys make this experience so much more valuable to have a mentor guiding me through this…I am very grateful and honored for you sharing your expertise and knowledge and for being very patient and understanding with all my questions ! :wink::+1:

(Tory) #60

That’s what we’re here for. Sorry about all of the delays. Good news, is
that there is still time to get ahead.


(Bradley W Backus) #61

Ya I have lots of time, at least 4-5 months to still study… time to get cracking!


I’m sorry but I have to ask, why couldn’t you study with a sinus infection?