Real Answers from Real Pilots

Study tips?

Anyone have any study tips? Specifically for the oral exam portion of the check ride. Currently working toward private pilot, but would definitely value good study tips all the way through ATP. I’m looking for a way to retain all the information efficiently.

Kevin,

Best advice I’ve ever been given regarding orals is don’t try and impress the examiner with your encyclopedic knowledge. Answer the question as simply as possible. People have a tendency to want to go deep into things they think they know and if you give the examiner the shovel, they’ll probably take you deeper than you want. For example: “do you know what kind of engine the Cessna 172 has?”, the answer is “yes, it has a Lycoming 360-xxxx” and THAT’S ALL! Do not go into a dissertation on reciprocating engines, electrical systems etc. If you do it’s your own fault what happens next :slight_smile:

Adam

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Kevin,

My advice sounds simple, but it is just study as much as possible, but within reason. There comes a point where staring at the information over and over really doesn’t do much good. If you have somebody that can ask you questions and make sure your answers are correct that would also be really helpful. Once you are in the program you will likely have the opportunity to partner up with somebody and study together, which can be a huge benefit.

Chris

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Kevin,

The most important thing to remember is that you are being tested on your knowledge, and not your memory. A lot of students are afraid to use their resources when the answer doesn’t just roll off the tongue, and then they either give a wrong answer or no answer at all.

All of the answers are in the resources and referencing the resources (obviously with a reasonable limit) is fair game. Examiners might even see this and give you extra credit since it shows that you don’t give up easily when you encounter a problem (an important characteristic for a pilot).

Always walk in to a checkride like it’s just another training event, I have found that most examiners really want to help you and see you succeed.

Yarden

Yarden,

So referencing to the FAR/AIM a couple times during the checkride would be okay?

Yep, FAR/AIM, PHAK, AFH etc, etc…

Anything that is an official publication is yours to use.

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A couple of times yes BUT if you use the old “I don’t know but I know where to find it” for every question you’re not going to have a good day.

I’m with Chris on this one. Study as hard and as much as possible. You can never be too prepared.

Adam

Regarding this, how difficult would you say are the oral portions? I’m imagining them as the worst thing ever… Do they fail you easily?

Angel,

While I wouldn’t call them “the worst thing ever” I won’t lie, they can be a bear. What makes them challenging is obviously you’ve introduced a “human” element to the grading process. When you take a written test it’s just you and the test. You answer the question and it’s either right or it’s not, simple. On the oral the examiner has the ability to dig and ascertain not only your level of knowledge but your level of understanding. It’s easy to spew out numbers (ie.V-speeds, weights and capacities etc) but what do those numbers mean and how do we use them? Then there’s obviously the fact some examiners are just nicer and “easier” than others.

This all said I wouldn’t sweat any of this too much. ATP will prepare you for all your exams and if you work and study hard you’ll do fine. If you don’t well…

Adam

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Angel,

I never found the oral exams to be terribly difficult. There will be a fair number of straight forward questions where there is only one right answer, but there will also be questions designed to make you think so that the examiner can see how developed your thought process as a pilot is.

I would study very thoroughly for them, but also keep in mind that your instructor is not going to sign you off to take the exam if he does not think that you are ready. The exams are not designed to have tricks or be overly difficult, they are designed to make sure that your aviation knowledge is sufficient enough that you are safe flying an airplane, which is a good thing.

Chris

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Thank you both!

Anytime, keep coming back with your questions :slight_smile: