PPL Written Exams – Are They Difficult?

If you’re new to the world of the pilot; you may not be familiar with the PPL written exam. Just like learning to drive; you’ll be required to pass an exam to determine your readiness to partake in flight.

PPL Written Exams – Are They Difficult?

It’s not uncommon for a newbie pilot to think that all a pilot needs to do is the hands-on stuff; and whilst this is obviously the fun part, you are still required to show that you are competent with all the technical parts that flying requires.

In today’s article, we are going to give a rundown of the PPL is, who can qualify for the written exam; and one of the most popular questions we get: how difficult is it to sit?

What Is The PPL Written Exam?

The PPL, or Private Pilot License, and the written exam is the first step on your aviation journey.

The PPL written exam tests you on the theoretical aspects of what you’ve learned during training.

So if you haven’t been trained in the skills needed for a safe flight, you can take the test to help boost your knowledge when it comes to flight school. More on when to take the test in just a moment.

Passing the PPK exam will help you on your way to piloting a private aircraft with non-commercial passengers.

Although a written exam for the PPK is a lot like obtaining a driver’s license, you are required to take a medical exam, and you will need to keep your rating current to maintain, which requires several hours flown per year.

You might be wondering if the PPL written exam is difficult: well this will all depend on a few factors, which we’ve broken down into a few categories below as there is no simple answer to this question.

How Can I Practice For The PPK Written Exam?

There are many resources you can use to help you pass the exam, and most of them can be accessed online.

For example, the King’s School will give you access to a number of resources to help you sit the exam.

You can purchase a bundle that has over 800 questions as well as a number of practice exams for you to sit and review.

You can also randomly generate a number of exams which allows for a more in-depth review of the PPK Written exam.

Depending on your level of knowledge, will depend on how much you will need a resource like this.

But generally speaking, we recommend that everyone go through some form of the practice test to help build their understanding and increase their confidence levels.

There are two ways you can approach the written exam, by checking through practice papers.

You can look through each section and try to work out which ones you need to study more thoroughly, or you can prepare by studying specific subjects that you feel unconfident about.

Both approaches have their merits. It’s certainly important to learn everything you need to pass the written exam, but knowing which areas you aren’t confident about helps you focus your preparation time.

One last tip for exam preparation is to read through the Federal Aviation Regulations manual, or FAR. Everything is covered from rules and regulations to illustrations that cover signals and signs.

When Should You Take The PPL Written Exam?

In terms of when to take the written exam, there are a few factors to consider before sitting the test that should be considered. 

You obviously don’t want to take the test before you are ready, and we recommend that you take the time to study just in case you fail and have to re-sit it again.

This will save you a lot of time and will help boost your confidence.

This is because the score you get will go on your permanent record moving forward; especially important for those that want to make a career of flying.

There are two options of when to sit the test. You can either take it before you get into your flight training so that it’s one less thing to worry about, and you can get it out of the way.

Another common method is to go through your flight training, and then sit the test.

The advantage to carrying it on in this order is that you get a deeper understanding of aviation which can cross over to the written exam.

Miscellaneous Tips For PPK Written Exam Preparation

PPL Written Exams – Are They Difficult?

Now that we’ve covered the two most important elements of the written exam, you can follow the below points to gauge where you are in terms of your level of knowledge.

This will act as a barometer to determine how much more studying you need, or whether you can sit the exam sooner rather than later.

Take A Practice Test

The first step is to sit a practice exam in full exam conditions and see how you get on. Your final score will determine how far off a pass you are, or whether you scrape a pass or smash it with little effort.

It’s very common for your first test to go badly, and many budding learner pilots won’t pass the test their first time; which should hopefully give many [pilots some confidence as nobody likes to fail!

Break Down Your Studying

We know how motivated learning to become a pilot can be. But you don’t want to cram all of your revision into one day as you’ll be less likely to retain all the information.

Instead, what you should do is break down your studying and only do a selection of learning per day.

One easy way to do this is by taking 25-50 questions and going through those, making sure you know each point inside out.

Then, once you’ve hit your target for the day, you can stop studying, and return to it the following day.

Another quick tip is to return to the questions either the next day or the day after and see how much knowledge you have retained.

Repeat The Exam

Once you’ve gone through all the questions you have, you can repeat the exam and see how much you have improved.

It’s not uncommon for many pilots to improve their score by up to 20% the second time around.

The most important element here is to review the answers you got wrong, as each answer will have a rundown of why the answer is what it is. This allows you to understand the reasoning behind the answer.

From here you can repeat the process until you are consistently scoring over 85%, at which point you can decide to sit the PPL written exam.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, the best tips for preparing for the Private Pilot License written examination.

If you’re not quite ready to sit the exam yet, do not push yourself to take the exam and make sure to go through each of the questions in turn.

You may find that if you slow down and study in stages instead of trying to tackle everything at once, you will feel more confident as you approach the exam date.

Then; once you’re finally ready, you’ll pass the exam with flying colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should You Memorize The Answers To The Questions?

We recommend that you do not memorize the answers, as the questions will change over different exams, and will often change the wording slightly to throw you off.

It’s best to develop a deep understanding rather than relying on memory recall of questions.

Jacob Stern
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