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Private Pilot Exam


I just walked out of the testing center where I scored 97% on my private pilot exam (PAR). Posting here share some tips with those still in the trenches prepping for their exam. Here is what worked for me.

Study Duration

Study duration 8 weeks. Mostly 1-2hr after work and up to 5hrs on some weekends.

Study material

  1. Private Pilot Test Prep ASA 2021
  2. Sportys Private pilot training

Studying Strategy

  1. Watch some Sportys videos, at the beginning information is very overwhelming, but go through it even if you do not complete understand. I did this for half an hour every other day approximately.
  2. In parallel, study in the ASA book the 11 chapter, and immediately do the questions. ASA book gives you a condensed summary of what you need to know. Sometimes it is not enough to understand the full picture, but it is ok, you are still new to this, after you go through everything, things will start to make more sense.
    1. I remember, not getting what an airspace is, not understanding those big circles on the map, or not knowing the difference between blue and red airport on sectional chart.
  3. 11 chapters, aim for completing 3 chapters per week with 1 chapter with question done every 2 days, you can easily finish the book in 4 weeks. In the mean time keep watching Sportys videos and doing the video quizzes afterward.

Quiz practice

  1. Once you are done with the 11 chapters, start taking FAA practice quiz.
    1. Do that on the Sportys website (unlimited quizzes) and the 5 ASA online prepware website.
    2. In total I did 15 Sportys FAA test and 4 ASA practice test.
    3. I ramped up testing in the last week, 13 tests out of 19.
  2. Most importantly, take a sheet of white paper, and write down the answer to every question you get wrong. At the end, I had two A4 papers filled with answers I want to remember.
  3. There is a lot to remember, acronyms come in handy, and this is where you A4 sheet comes in handy, so you can review the questions that you are missing often. For example, I was always missing that 60 days is the reporting period for driving under DUI.
  4. Do as many quizzes as you can, you will end up learning and digging deeper into the concept that you still do not understand. I recommend this strategy over studying more material, because the volume of information you need to know is huge. ASA chapters gives you the brief essential, the repeated testing show you where you are still lacking. You are living in this spiral up loop of test, review, understand.
  5. Once you are able to finish the test in under an 1hr while getting above 80%, it is a sign you are getting comfortable with the questions.
  6. My score started around mid 70% and climbed to hover for many tests around 80%. That is when I took the A4 sheet seriously and studied the questions I missed. I started to get scores of high 80% My best score on Sportys was 95%, my worst score was 70%. See image above.

Quiz strategies

  1. Do the non calculation question first.
  2. Aim to finish everything in 1hr, and take 30 min to review your questions twice. I caught two mistakes when reviewing.
  3. Do not change your habit during test day, do what you always have done.
  4. Take a warm up test at home couple of hours before going to the test center. If you score well it is a confidence booster. If you score lower than you expect, add the material to your sheet to review.

That is all I can think off, hope this is useful for you in planning your studies. And now I am off flying 60+ hours until I pass my checkride. I would appreciate any advice from current pilots to a student pilot (I currently have 3 hours) to improve overall learning experience.