2801 E Spring St
Ste 110
Long Beach, CA 90806
T 855-55-PILOT
F 714-844-9020
Testing Trouble?
There’s a lot of buzz about changes to the FAA written test questions. It’s pretty common for
pilots of all levels to worry about passing the “new” written tests. What’s the best way to
study? If you want to pass the written test and your check ride, you need to follow three
simple steps; Read, View and, Review.
As a testing center supervisor, I hear most people that fail written test say, “There were a lot of
questions, I never saw before.” Instructors, websites and, programs that teach people to
memorize answers are at fault. There are a lot of students who score high on their written
tests, but fail their check ride because they can’t answer basic private pilot questions. Students
need to learn the content, not just memorize answers.
Reading the material is a great place to start. The FAA textbooks are low cost, but can be
somewhat hard to read. ASA, Jeppesen, and my favorite Rod Machado, all have excellent
textbooks that you can use to start the learning process. Ask what textbook your instructor
uses and recommends for flight training. A professional flight instructor will cover the ground
topics as part of your written training curriculum. If your instructor doesn’t use a textbook and
a written curriculum, check with other instructors to see what they recommend.
View the core knowledge in an organized “ground” school. Community colleges, computer
programs and, instructors can all teach you the theory. Pick the one that is best for you and
your learning style. King, Sporty’s, and ASA are the most popular “self-study” video programs
and have an excellent track record. A community college, weekend course, or live online
course with live instructors, has the advantage of being able to ask questions when you need
Review the knowledge from reading and ground school with some practice exams. Both ASA
and Gleim have excellent study guides. Also www.Exams4Pilots.org is just one of many free
practice exam websites. There are several excellent paid programs as well. There is one
really important caveat to the practice exams. After each practice exam review missed
questions with an instructor so that you learn what you’ve missed.
I guarantee any student that studies a well-written textbook, participates in an organized
ground school and, takes practice exams will easily pass the written tests. Much more
importantly, those who review their knowledge with an instructor online or in person will be
much more likely to pass their check ride and be a safe pilot. Remember, taking shortcuts with
your training will always hurt you the most in the long run.
About the author:
Gary D. Reeves is an Airline Transport Pilot, Flight, Instrument and, Multi-Engine Instructor
with over 4,500 hours. He owns a flight school and written testing center in Long Beach, CA.
A member of the FAA Safety Team, and an active public speaker on aviation safety he is the
director of the Pilot Safety Institute. If you have any questions or comments for the author
please contact him directly at [email protected]. or visit www.PilotSafety.org
Page 2