Taking your written exam for your private pilot license may seem a bit daunting but it doesn’t have to be. In this article we’ll share some key points to help with your FAA written test prep.
What is the FAA Written Test?
With every pilot certificate or rating, there is an associated FAA written test that must be taken. Keep in mind that you must meet the minimum age requirements for your specific test.
You will usually have 2-3 hours to take your exam. These exams typically have between 40-100 questions and, in most cases, you must have a score of 70% or higher to pass.
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How To Study for the FAA Written Test
This may sound silly, but you need to actually study. So many people think they can meet with their instructor, listen to them talk, and then pass the written test.
It just doesn’t work like that. You’ll need to spend time on your own prepping. We recommend taking practice tests repeatedly. If you can take three practice tests consecutively and score over 85%, you’re probably ready.
The following is a list of FAA written test prep programs available:
*Sheppard Air does not offer test prep for the private exam.
What ratings require a written test?
There are many FAA knowledge tests across certificates and ratings. For flight training, these are the most common FAA written tests you may need to take:
- Sport Pilot Airplane (only taken if you’re only pursuing a sport pilot certificate)
- Private Pilot Airplane
- Instrument Rating Airplane
- Commercial Pilot Airplane
- Flight Instructor Airplane
- Flight Instructor Instrument Airplane
There are additional exams available for those who are converting from other countries or from the military.
What to Bring to the FAA Written Exam
Before your exam, make sure you have all your necessary forms of legal identification and an endorsement from your instructor.
Forms of ID
Acceptable forms of identifications must be valid and current and include the following:
- Date of Birth
- Physical,residential address
If your ID does not state your current physical address you can still use that ID so long as you also have a form of address verification.
If you’re under 18 your legal guardian can present an acceptable form of ID and verify your identity.
Don’t forget to bring any necessary endorsements or authorizations for your FAA Test.
Prohibited and Allowed Items
Once you’ve been checked-in by your proctor you will be required to leave behind any personal items such as:
- Advanced Calculators (anything above 4 function)
Be sure to leave these items in your vehicle or, if the testing center has them, in a locked container. Each facility is different so ask beforehand.
Your proctor or yourself may provide the following for your exam:
After the Exam
After finishing the test, all materials such as scrap paper, pens/pencils, and other exam materials will be collected.
Do not leave the facility until you verify that your information matches your ID and pilot certificate.
Your proctor will print out and emboss your score sheet.
After you leave you cannot come back to the facility to make changes to your information. Make sure you hold onto your score report since you’ll need to present this to the examiner when you take your checkride.
Taking an exam can be stressful but by following these tips and being well prepared, it doesn’t have to be.
If you study your materials and follow this procedure, you’ll be more than ready for your FAA Written Test!
- About the Author
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Liz Brassaw is a first officer for a regional airline and the former Chief Pilot and Chief Flight Operations Officer for Thrust Flight. She holds an ATP, CFI, CFII, MEI, AMEL, ASES with over 2,500 hours of flight instruction given. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree from the Utah Valley University School of Aviation Sciences. She’s passionate about flying and enjoys instilling that love in the instructors on her team and the new students she trains.