dead_stick created the topic: PPL Exam Success - Thanks Bob! + Some Tips For Those Studying...
So I sat my PPL exam on the weekend and scored 97%! I'm very pleased with the result, and I'd like to extend a big thanks to Bob for writing such great texts that explain sometimes tricky concepts in terms a dummy like me can understand.
I had promised myself that if I did well in the exam I'd pass on some tips for those going down the PPL path.
STUDYING / PRE-EXAM
- Keep it intense! Check out apps like 'Focus', which are effectively the pomodoro method - think 25 minutes of intense studying followed by 5 minutes of breaks. I would read and make very brief notes on a chapter, then try and punch out the review questions in 25 minutes. I would hit the books straight after dinner until about 10pm - it is amazing how much you can cover in just three hours a night.
- Know your weak areas. Remember that we all struggle with different things. I stuggled to understand some stuff about VORs as I hadn't used them much in practice. If you find a concept mind-bending or really difficult to get through, write down the subject area and move on. Then...
- Get some quality ground time in. I'm super pleased that I did this the day before my exam. I spent nearly three hours with my instructor who is awesome at explaining things in terms I can understand. In addition to covering my list of 'problem areas', we went through a bunch of practice questions, which gives the instructor a chance to check your workings in the case of W&B and P-charts.
- Practice exams are awesome BUT not all are created equally In addition to Bob's texts, I used OnlineAviationTheory.com, Aviation Theory Centre, Ground Effect, and Rob Avery for practice quizzes/tests. I have to be honest - Rob Avery and OnlineAviationTheory are the best as they explain answers with working. Ground Effect exams have no explanations or workings and we found a number of wrong answers which can be really frustrating.
- Know your flight computer backwards! I've always been pretty shit at maths and in fact didn't even do maths for my HSC. Intimately knowing the capabilities of your whiz wheel (in my case an E6B) will not only benefit you in exams but even in your navs. But, keep in mind you should also...
- Know your key formulas! Having the E6B is great, especially for checking answers you have worked out on a calculator. But it may not give the level of accuracy needed for certain types of questions e.g. density height.
- Get some sleep! There may come a point the night before the exam when you realise that there are certain subject areas you just don't know as well as you'd like. Try and accept that there is no point losing sleep over it, you'll perform better in the exam if you are properly rested than if you stayed up cramming all night.
- Double check that you have everything you need. You wouldn't fly away without pre-flighting the aircraft, so consider doing the same with your permitted materials. Are your charts in date? Is your AIP the current version? Do you have the most recent VFRG? In my case I borrowed all the regs from my flight school which they had kept up-to-date. Make sure your calculator is basic enough. Sounds like obvious stuff but if you turn up to your exam at a full on exam centre you're stuffed if you don't have everything.
ON THE DAY / IN THE EXAM
- Get there early. You'll be less nervous if you arrive at least an hour before. Read through some topics that you know you are weak on - you may still pick up something that will be useful in the exam.
- Bring snacks/water/coffee. I can't speak for full on testing centres but I was permitted to bring in a banana, some water, and a coffee. The banana came in handy as a quick sugar hit about 90 minutes into the exam.
- TAKE YOUR TIME! Thankfully most candidates find that there is more than ample time in the PPL exam. You have three and a half hours to answer not more than 70 (it varies, I think this is the upper limit) questions. So why would you rush through?
- Stuck on something? There is a flag that can be placed on the question. Flag it, and come back later when you know you have plenty of time up your sleeve. Personally, I worked my way through all of the 1 mark questions before I tackled the 2 mark questions. Interestingly, I had no 3 mark questions at all.
- RTFQ. Seriously! CASA are renowned for writing questions that are read a certain way. You could call them trick questions even. I'm a fast reader but I made sure that I read every question at least three times before I considered answering.
- Still stuck on something? Narrow down your options. Have you exhausted all of the materials available to you like the AIP, regs, and so on? If so, try and eliminate answers that you know aren't right and hopefully you will end up with a 50/50 chance of selecting the correct answer.
- Finished? Go through it again. In my case I was properly finished with more than an hour to spare. So I painstakingly went through each question again just to double check that I'd read and understood what they were asking and my answer. By the time I had done this I knew there was no point going through to the buzzer so I finished around 15 minutes before the time was up.
Good luck to anyone that is studying for their PPL and I hope the above is helpful for you.