You’ve dreamed about flying since you were a child. Now you’re finally in a position to make this dream a reality.
All your friends and family know you are training to become a pilot. But there is one thing standing between you and your coveted certificate: the FAA knowledge test, otherwise known as “the written.”
There is a joke I heard a few years ago that is relevant to this moment. Two shoe salesmen are sent to a recently discovered tropical island. One salesman reports back to his company that it’s no use: the island is full of people, but none of them wear shoes. The second salesman writes back to his company that they hit the gold mine: the island is full of people that don’t wear shoes!
The good news in your case is that the only thing standing between you and your certificate is the written. It’s all about perspective. To give you a little extra advantage, here are some tips and recommendations on how to prepare for, and pass, your knowledge test.
Don’t memorize the answers: Your goal going into a written prep class should be to learn the information rather than memorizing the answers. If you learn the information properly, then you won’t have to worry about what questions are asked; you will know the answers. We see it hundreds of times each year. It takes people twice as long to prepare for the written by memorizing the answers. And in the long run, they end up paying an instructor to teach them the same information anyway. Do it right the first time.
Don’t worry about your grade: Many of our students are successful business people and professionals. Their goal is to score 100 percent on the written. The truth of the matter is that any grade over 70 percent will yield you the same result: a pass. If you wait until you feel like you can score 100 percent, you will only delay your checkride and prolong your anxiety.
Get to know the exhibit book: Every knowledge test has an associated exhibit book that is given to you before you begin. Many of the graphics are embedded in the test as well. While you are preparing for the knowledge test, take some time to look through the exhibit book and make sure that you are clear on what the images are telling you. While the FAA no longer publishes the possible test questions, you can be sure that the questions are going to reference the images in the exhibit book.
Be prepared: There are certain items that you will need to show the test proctor before you can take your knowledge test. You should organize these the day before and make sure you bring them with you the day of your test. You may want to take a few minutes and call your testing center to review everything you will need to bring with you a few days before the test.
Learn the code: The FAA publishes a document called “Learning Statement Reference Guide for Airman Knowledge Testing.” While you don’t have to memorize this list, you should read through it. These codes will give you an idea of the variations in subject matter that you could see on your knowledge test.