BY STEVEN DAUN, NATIONAL CHIEF PILOT
The average age of someone starting flight training is 31. For private pilots, it’s 48. That means the average person in the initial flight training process is probably quite removed from taking standardized written assessments, but is very accustomed to practical and real-world evaluations. So, most flight training candidates may be apprehensive about the FAA Knowledge Test.
Up until about seven years ago, one of the most accepted methods of passing the FAA’s standardized written exam was to memorize the question and answers. The question banks were all published, so applicants would prepare by taking test after test after test and simply remembering the correct answers for each question. This was an unnatural process for many of us who felt like in order to be successful as pilots, we needed to actually understand the material.
In the Spring of 2011, the FAA announced that it was changing the questions and format of the Knowledge Tests—they would no longer publish all of the questions. Since that change, there have been regular updates to the questions, and the practice of memorizing the answers without understanding the material is no longer an option.
The black and white, two-dimensional, multiple-guess knowledge test for your pilot certificate does little to test your flying skills, but those skills are only half the battle. A good pilot is always learning, which means a good pilot is continually being educated. Not only do these non-practical evaluations force you to spend some time on the why and how, but these questions are often cleverly written to force you to pay attention to detail. And while the answer— whether A, B or C —might be irrelevant, the detail-oriented and problem-solving skills acquired by pressing through the test are an invaluable asset to pilots.
So how does one conquer the FAA written? The old method of memorizing the questions and answers is no longer valid and was educationally useless. Yet, learning everything there is to know about aviation would be a very time consuming and lengthy process.
American Flyers suggests a third option: learn the specific information evaluated on the FAA knowledge test. This education is transferable to your flight training because you are learning it, you can stop fretting about the standardized test, and you can even complete this part of your pilot training in a weekend. Once completed, you can put your new knowledge to work for you in the cockpit, where a good pilot is ALWAYS learning.
Every weekend, American Flyers offers a three-day weekend preparation course to assist you in passing the FAA knowledge test. We also offer weekday courses and one-on-one courses for those who cannot tie up a whole weekend.
View courses and start dates on our calendar.