I sat the CASA PPL exam last week, and was delighted to get through it relatively painlessly. I doubt I would have been able to achieve this had it not been for constant access to this forum, and of course the Bob Tait cyber exams. I would like to pay it forwards as much as I can for other people about to sit their theory exam so here is a little feedback from my experience, just in case it helps anyone in their final preparations:
Unlike the cyber exams, there are some questions that require you to type in the answer. For example, I had to type the answer in for questions on aerodrome vicinity, density height calculations, and minimum cruising height. If you calculate on your e6b that density height is 5400ft, and the cyber exam makes you change to 5200ft by process of deduction, maybe take the time to have a closer look at where the arrow sits. I am sure CASA put in a margin for error, but try to get as accurate as possible.
I am not sure if this was just a coincidence, but the questions I had that were taken from the BAK tended to lump together from 1 topic; e.g. I had 3 or 4 questions on Oil Systems (over filling & under filing), then another bunch on mixture settings – Do you know how rich you want the mixture for the best airspeed, or for take-off at high density aerodromes? These are important!
Know what Eastern summer time is! Again this reiterates to read the question, because if I had been given a choice for generic EST - 10 hours, I would have lost a mark very quickly. The only note I have ever found on Eastern Summer Time is in the Day VFR guide, in a very small footnote in the Time section.
I had a variant on the refueling question, so don't always expect the typical 'ambulatory/non-ambulatory' question. Know how many fire extinguishers you need!
I found a good hint was to check the number of marks available for a question – if there were 2.0 marks, you know immediately that there is going to be at least 2 or more parts to the calculation. If it’s just 1.0 marks and you are still dicking around with tracks, headings, and an overly complicated 1 in 60, then possibly you have gone beyond what the question asked.
I had 2 loading questions (Alpha & Charlie), each time with baggage in excess of 45kg (both times were 90kg). If you try load 90kg into 1 baggage compartment it will throw your calculation right off, plus exceeds the limits. It appears you can split the baggage in whichever way you think is best (rear, nose or even back seat). Another falling down in Charlie is that fuel is usually given in litres, not Kgs. An easy mistake that tripped me up on the practice exams.
Finally know how to draw a Trough on a PCA; I had several questions requiring subdivisions in an Area Forecast. You should also be sure you know in what situation weather is AMSL or AGL, and of course applying Inter & Tempo as per necessary.