Real Answers from Real Pilots

What can a person expect when taking thier written exams?

Hi I was just wondering how the whole test experience is. Is it the environment the same as my college testing center? Also are the test open book or are you required to memorize everything?

Michael,

FAA tests are administered at FAA approved testing centers. You will use a computer to answer various multiple choice questions. The tests are most definitely not open book. You will need to study pretty thoroughly for the tests in advance of taking them. Most students spend several weeks studying for each test.

Chris

Michael,

As Chris said the tests are most definitely not open book. While some of the material may require memorization, the more of it you can learn and understand, the less you need to memorize. Just a thought.

Adam

thanks for the reply guys, I just always see people with 90 and above on there written and always wondered how that got that score. are the questions difficult? I also had another question to add on, when you finally complete everything and you’re working with an airline how often do you have to retake written exams or check rides? what do you have to do to maintain and hold all your ratings and licenses?

Michael,

Trust me, not everybody gets 90s (although they should). The questions are not particularly difficult and more important ALL the questions are readily available in a variety of test preps. There are no surprises and nothing you hadn’t seen before provided you study. Study hard you’ll do well, don’t well…

Once you have your licenses and rating you have them for life but you need to remain current. When working for an airline you’re required to successfully complete recurrent training (commonly once a year but some airlines are on a 9mos cycle). The recurrent can vary from airline to airline but it generally includes some home computer based training (CBTs), a day or 2 of actual ground training, and usually 3 days of simulator. The CBTs and ground school will often contain exams but they’re usually open book. Sim can vary as well but most airlines have transitioned to AQP (Advanced Qualification Program) which means less jeopardy (but you can be put on “special tracking” if you fail to qualify which will require additional training at a more frequent interval, say 6mos). As with anything else, study, prepare and you’ll do fine. Those that don’t don’t and suffer the consequences.

Adam