Real Answers from Real Pilots

Rate at which to complete FAA knowledge exams

(Matthew Damm) #1

Hi everyone,

My start date is scheduled for this August at the Addison, Texas location. With roughly three months between now and then, my plan is to complete the first three FAA knowledge exams beforehand, and to finish the remainder of the exams while in training. This allows me about a month to study for each of the first three exams I’d like to complete before beginning training.

My question: is it preferable to try to complete more than three of the exams before training at a faster rate? I’m scheduled to take the PAR in six days, and at the current rate at which I’m studying, I feel like I’m gaining a real, sincere understanding of the subject matter that will benefit me greatly during the program.

I’m willing to pick up the pace in terms of studying before beginning training; I’m already in love with the self-study routine, and I spend eight hours a day at work excited to go home and spend time learning material that actually interests me. Any insight is appreciated!





I’m not sure who said it, but there’s a famous quote that states “never put off for tomorrow what can be done today”. The fact is that none of the FAA Knowledge exams are required to be completed prior to training BUT there’s no question that doing so will significantly lighten the load. Three is great, but four is better and all six is obviously best, PROVIDED you don’t sacrifice quantity for quality and end up with low scores.

Now you say your plan is to complete the first three and by that I assume you mean the PAR, IRA, and the CAX? If that’s the case everyone will tell you that the IRA and the FII are almost identical tests and share the same bank of questions. That’s why virtually everyone who knows that takes both tests back to back because studying for one is really studying for both. So now you’re at four tests taken without even trying!

In Hawaii there’s an expression, “if can can if no can no can”. My advice is to keep doing what you’re doing, bang out the four and if you’ve got the time tackle the last two. If no can it’s not the end of the world, you’ll be fine and you’ll have plenty of time to do so during the rest of your training. BUT if can, you should.


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(Tory) #3


For sure take the PAR, IRA/FII and CAX as quickly as you can, but don’t compromise a good score for efficiency. After you’ve taken those 4, see how much time is left before you start and determine if you have enough time to take more.

Remember there is also self study that will be assigned to you. You may decide that you’d rather focus on your self study with the extra time you have before you start.




I would say that if you score 90% or better on the writtens, then yes, you should try to do more. It sounds to me like enough time to finish all of the writtens, which would give you s huge advantage in the program.


(Michael Taft) #5


The PAR is what will take you the longest since you are becoming familiar with all the ins and outs of being a pilot. The same can be said for the IRA, but once you get those down pat the other 4 should be a breeze. Sheppard Air wont help you understand concepts like King Schools does, but it will help you memorize the questions and answers.

I will say that you need the fundamentals learned from private and instrument for the questions on the CAX, FIA, and FII to make sense. FOI is a whole different ball game and deals more with the psychological and philosophical aspect of teaching aviation. However it is the shortest test bank.

I had my PAR and IRA done since I’m already a Private w/ Instrument pilot. Sheppard Air helped me get 100s on all my test scores besides my CAX, but that’s because I went too fast through the test and second guessed myself on a few questions ( Hint! Hint! Don’t make the same mistake as me! :wink:). Sheppard helped me get through my CAX, FIA, FII, and FOI in about a month. I took the IGI the same time as my FII as they are a similar test bank minus a couple helicopter questions. It is important you follow Sheppard’s study guide method as it will give you the best results.

I usually spent about 3-4 hours a day studying the question banks. With 2 1/2 months out from August you’ll have plenty of time to get these writtens knocked out. You’ll be glad you did and feel a sigh of relief after they are done.

Study hard and you’ll get the results you want. Best of luck! :slightly_smiling_face:


(Matthew Damm) #6

Hi guys,

It’s nice to wake up the next morning to a wealth of information about this. I’ll try my best to complete them all before August!



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That is what we are here for. Feel free to ask us any more questions that you think of.


(Tom Tolento) #8


I litterally took my IRA and FII last weekend. I didn’t have a single unknown question on my FII, actually I had 2 wrong IRA questions pop up which gave me 2 less questions to guess at and because of which got a higher score on my FII than my IRA.

I definitely suggest taking both either back to back (or FII the day later if your testing center doesn’t have enough slots)

(Payton Crawley) #9