Today I finally sat down to take the FAA Commercial Airplane exam. I did very well, receiving a 91%. A couple of people I talked to before and after the exam were talking about their keys to success, such as paying for Sheppard Air test prep, or reading related textbooks or subject matter on the various test segments. I figured I would share my personal strategies for studying for, and receiving good scores on FAA written exams.
1. Buy an ASA test prep book corresponding to the test and year applicable
You’ve probably seen these, but ASA makes test prep books which divide tests into fragments such as aerodynamics, and regulations. They usually run $20. Make sure to grab a new one if you are under a part 61 school, you can pass the pretests and receive your endorsement for very cheap.
2. Go through the book, and mark questions you get wrong with a slash
This is the most lengthy step in the process. Buckle down and start knocking out chapters. I recommend listening to the “Superior Study Playlist” on spotify.com or soundcloud.com while studying. It helps keep you engaged, and the more you study in one concentrated session, the more you will remember it later. Expect to miss about a third of the book on the first pass.
–optional: mark a squiggly line next to the questions you guessed on and got right
3. The Second Pass
After you have completed the book, you will conveniently have all the problems you have trouble with. Go through the book a second time, only looking for slashed questions. You should get the majority of them right in this pass.
4. Practice Tests
Now that you have completed the book, you can put your skills to work. Many websites offer practice exams for free. My favorite is exams4pilots.com . Do dozens of tests, they will only grill the questions into your mind. If you are under part 61, now is the time to take your ASA practice tests, get 90s, and print your endorsement. Once you feel confident in your ability to destroy tests, sign up for the soonest exam-a week a way if you can.
This is the strategy I have used for the Private, Instrument, and now Commercial tests. I received an 86 on Private, a 92 on Instrument, and now a 91 on Commercial. You don’t need expensive prep software or gimmicks to slay your exams, just discipline and effort. I hope this helps you in the future.