How do I Prepare for the Private Pilot Test?

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  • Written By: Jessica Hobby
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2019
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Those who are aspiring professional pilots or who wish to only fly recreationally start by obtaining their private pilot's license. Prior to taking their final check ride to receive their license, student pilots must pass the written private pilot test. The written exam tests student pilots on multiple subjects, such as Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs), weather, airspace, and aerodynamics. Once a student pilot is prepared for the private pilot test, his flight instructor will sign off so he is able to attempt the test. There are multiple ways to prepare for the written exam.

The most common way to prepare for the private pilot written test is by attending private pilot ground school. Ground school is offered in structured environments such as community colleges and universities that offer professional pilot programs and degrees. Pilots who wish to fly recreationally may prefer a less formal ground school that is offered at a fixed-base operator (FBO). Although they are rare, some companies cram all of ground school into a two- or three-day seminars for those who have trouble making a weekly commitment for ground instruction.


Another way to prepare for the private pilot test is by purchasing a home study course. They cover the same material that is covered in ground school but give student pilots the flexibility of preparing on their own schedule. Home study courses usually include a text and accompanying videos. In some cases home study courses include online resources to help students learn the required material. Private pilot exam home study courses may be purchased online or at many bookstores. Many FBOs and aviation schools will carry or have information about recommended home study courses.

Students who wish for one-on-one help to prepare for the private pilot test may choose to receive additional ground instruction from a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified flight instructor. The downside is that hiring a flight instructor will cost a minimum of $25 US Dollars (USD) per hour, causing this to be much more expensive than other options. On the upside, the extra money may be worth having a flight instructor spend time going over more difficult concepts.

Many students choose to combine all of the methods available to prepare for the private pilot written exam. In addition to attending ground school, they will purchase a home study course to supplement their education at home and save questions for their flight instructor. In addition to gaining knowledge and studying, it is important to remember to get a good night's sleep prior to the day of the test.



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Post 1

Well, I did start off with a college course, but it spanned over several months, and since I had not flown yet I had forgotten the first moths material by the half of the second month, but the university had a solution for that, too. They supplemented their ground school with a dvd course from Pilot Training Solutions, and I have to say that I found their course to be very helpful, with simple tricks that take out the nonsense. I scored a 98 on my test and am quite happy with the experience. Now for the flying part. --Derek

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