Being a little concerned about my performance in the upcoming FAA Exam, I wrote the following email to Sander to get some pointers as to how he prepared and what to expect. Below my email, you’ll see his reply.
How are you? Congratulations on the results of your FAA Knowledge Test! Sander, please tell me about how the test was, how you prepared for it and what kinds of things you were allowed to take into the test with you e.g. calculator, plotter, E6B, scratch paper etc.
I’ve been reading the beginning of the Test Guide to get an idea of what to expect, but would like you to tell me a little as you now have firsthand experience. Finally please let me know if there’s anything I should pay particular attention to, even though I know that I will not be taking the same test as you.
Thank you and enjoy your holiday in Hawaii.
Thanks! And nice hearing from you.
What I did to prepare was read the book once (for the past 2 months I read each chapter that Dan would cover) and then just study the questions of the “Test Guide”. All the questions on the exam were just like Dan said so 60 questions and they can all be found in the “Test Guide”. If you know all the answers to the questions in the “Test Guide”, you’ll easily pass the test. What I also did was do some practice exams on http://exams4pilots.com/. I specified that I wanted 60 questions and that I wanted to cover all topics, so just like the real test. I think I did like 7 practice tests.
One thing that you should keep in mind is that during the test they will actually give 65 questions, and of these 65, 5 are new questions that the FAA is testing. They will not count on your final score, so it doesn’t matter if you get the answers to these questions wrong. They will explain this once you do the exam.
What you can take with you is a calculator, plotter and E6B. They will provide scratch paper and a pencil. You need 2 types of ID (I took passport + driving license). They will then take you into a room with a computer. You will get a long introduction of how everything works. It’s all quite basic, so don’t worry about that. After the introduction you can start with your test and as soon as you’re done, click Finish, walk to the proctor and tell him/her you’re finished and you’ll immediately get a grade and a certificate that you passed the exam. You’ll get 2.5 hours for the exam I think.
Regarding anything specific that you should learn, I can’t really say. There were questions from all chapters. I guess if you have trouble with a certain set of problems, pay some extra attention to that. In my case there were quite some “map” questions (so how long does it take to fly from A to B? What is the magnetic heading to B if you’re at point A? Etc). Also a couple of weight and balance questions. So many chapter 8+9 questions. So if you know your E6B, these questions should be straightforward. If you practice the questions of Chapters 8+9 you’ll become quite proficient in using your E6B.
I hope this helps. When is your test? Next week? Good luck!!
This indeed was very helpful information for me and I hope its helpful for others who are also preparing to take their FAA eaxm. One thing I should mention though, and it’s what Sander said about knowing all the answers in the Test Guide. I wouldn’t recommend and nor is it helpful to the person taking the exam to learn rote fashion, and I’m sure Sander didn’t mean it like that. But I’m stating it here for those that may think that is what was meant. Further, the FAA changes the options for every test e.g. the answer to question 1, will not always be answer A (in multiple choice), another reason not to learn anything rote fashion. To be a successful and safe pilot, it’s imperative that you understand everything.