Passed the IR written today...what a ridiculous test.

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by tawood, Feb 23, 2017.

  1. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Well, on to the check ride!
    I passed today with a 92%, but I have to say, that IR written test is not a knowledge test, its a debacle disguised as a test. I'm a perfectionist, so like most things in my life, I over prepared, and going into the test really I felt I knew the material down pat. For what ever reason, some things that give most others problems I found easy, like holding pattern entries. Other things that should of been easy, like the HSI, took a long time to sink in, but eventually I felt comfortable with them too. Then I take the test, and the hardest part I had with the test was just simply trying to interpret the horribly worded questions. I do not feel the FAA is trying to test your IFR knowledge, but instead just trying to trick you with stupid situations or poor wording.
    I also found it was not at all what I expected. Although I think each test is a somewhat random sampling of questions from the overall knowledge (and I realize that everyone's test will be different) I was quite surprised by the number of questions that required looking at diagrams from the test supplement...so many, in fact, that I went back through my test and counted: 41 out of 60. I was also surprised how much "carry over" there was from the private pilot's test, as my test had time/distance/wind, radio phraseology, and other "VFR" type questions. I'm not complaining about the diagrams or VFR questions, but just making an observation.
    As I mentioned above, I'm a perfectionist, and I over studied. I actually used a bunch of methods/different methods to prepare: Books, videos, an accelerated ground class, and an online class. For help to those getting ready to take it, I'd say (at least for me) the books were the most helpful...I read the ASA Instrument Flight Manual, and the FAA Instrument Handbook. The least helpful (again, at least for me) was the accelerated ground class and the online class. Both classes were still teaching "old style", requesting you repeatedly take their tests...only when you take the actual test you find out that ALMOST NONE of their questions are on the IR test.
    The videos I used were Sportys, and although their "questions" at the end of each chapter are old school, their video at least seemed to provide complete information.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2017
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  2. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    Yep, it's near impossible to get 100% just due to poorly worded / ambiguous questions....


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  3. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    41/60 requiring figures seems typical for the IR written.
     
  4. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    My surprise at seeing that many diagrams (41/60) is probably based on the practice tests given by the ground and online classes. On their tests, you might see something like 10 out of 60, not 41. Also, those tests include no "VFR" type questions what so ever. Again, just an observation and a "heads up" to those who may be preparing to take it.
     
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  5. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    I was one of the first suckers to take it after the switch to ACS mid 2016. It was terrible. I found lots of questions that were purposefully trying to trick you rather than simply test your knowledge.

    I used lots of things to aid my study, including going to the "aviation seminar" for IFR a couple weeks prior to the test. I went to that seminar with 3 other friends that all agreed with me that the seminar was a complete waste of time and $... The seminar was purely aimed at teaching you how to take the test. Lots of memorization and "tricks". Absolutely worthless for the new test.

    Thankfully I studied enough to pass by knowing enough material. I would say of the 60 questions less than 10 of them were answered because they were familiar... and I did the Shepherd Air app beforehand too.

    I'm sure as more people take the new ACS test the study aides will be updated and they'll be more helpful. My timing was bad but I passed and honestly nothing else matters to me:)
     
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  6. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, Aviation Seminar...or what I like to call, "turning $500 into a wasted weekend". Same one I took.
     
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  7. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Congratulations tawood, despite the dumb or poorly written questions. Good luck on the checkride!
     
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  8. Mistake Not...

    Mistake Not... Cleared for Takeoff

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    The way you prepared is very (very) similar to my path through this. I took a 10 week IFR ground school, I have the King online course, read a stack of books, etc. I'm using the dauntless app in flash card mode, and taking practice tests (scoring high 80's low 90's), and still don't feel prepared. Especially after the latest dauntless update. Looks like more ACS questions.

    I'm keeping a list of all the stupid I'm looking forward to never using. Not only are the questions poorly worded, I don't see any reason to know half this stuff.

    Like last night.. Apparently there's a weather chart that will give you the height of the tropopause.

    Well, I guess I'm gonna die on my first IFR flight, 'cause I have no idea why I should care, or how to incorporate that into my preflight planning. But damn if I don't know where to find it for the next few days (then it'll get wiped by the beer I intend to have after the test.)

    Edit: Dauntless, not sheppard. For some reason I always think I have sheppard.
     
  9. Mistake Not...

    Mistake Not... Cleared for Takeoff

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    In the "stupid test is stupid because" category, the stuff I -haven't- see on there is just as annoying as what's there.

    Has anyone seen a test question about when you must hold? I saw one last night on what it means if there's no "barb", but I haven't see anything about when I have to hold. (Just one example of many.)

    (I'm posting under caffienated. What I mean is, when a procedure turn is required.)
     
  10. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Reminds me of a couple of questions...one concerned VOTs...it asked you to look at four VORs numbered 1-4, and determine which one passed...number 3 clearly passes. Only problem is, you only have three answer choices: A)1, B)2, C)4...and that was it. I got it right, but it was 2, which barely also passed. Another question wanted you to determine crossing altitudes, but instead of telling you which way you were headed on the airway, the question left it out, so you first had to deduce which way you were going by analyzing the poorly worded question...what is the point of that?
     
  11. Mistake Not...

    Mistake Not... Cleared for Takeoff

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    Are the diagrams any clearer, or do they still look like 10th generation photocopies?
     
  12. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ahhh, you've seen the diagrams!

    This is no exaggeration: when I saw the VORs, I did not at first even realize that they WERE VORS!
     
  13. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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    Yeah, the diagrams and charts in the IR test are pretty horrible. Maybe the FAA is assuming the IMC conditions will be INSIDE the plane? :goofy:
     
  14. Mistake Not...

    Mistake Not... Cleared for Takeoff

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    Never smoked, but I often wonder what it looked like in a plane when someone was...
     
  15. rocketflyer84

    rocketflyer84 Line Up and Wait

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    This.

    Pass the test with a decent score and that's all that matters. Everyone knows the test is screwy and some of the questions are very poorly written (some seemingly intentionally poorly written). The oral and the checkride will really be the true test which you can now focus on. The written is more like just one of those hurdles you have to jump through and then you move on.
     
  16. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Final Approach

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  17. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    Its in the little 'home plate' looking symbol on that chart. Saved your life bro!
     
  18. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    I don't think the ACS affected the written test. There were revisions made to pull out some of the ADF/RMI/TWEBS stuff but the ACS revision is for the practical test. Unless I'm smoking crack which is possible...
     
  19. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Nope it was meant to synchronize the written and practical test.

    However the questions haven't really changed that much at least not yet.
     
  20. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    Anyone have an opinion on how the commercial written compares?


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  21. arkvet

    arkvet Line Up and Wait

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    I can assure you the change affected the written. After attending the seminar that guaranteed I would pass the written and working through shepherd air app I would have failed the test badly had I not really comprehended the material. I took a handful of practice tests (from 3 different sources) and averaged 90% without any trouble.

    I ended up with a 78 on the written and had many questions that were subtly changed in a direct effort to throw off anyone that had memorized questions and answers. It was almost laughable in that I would start to read a question and immediately think "I've seen this question before". Then upon closer inspection a word or two changed or a decimal moved. Same bank of answers but a different correct answer. The attempt to trick those that had simply memorized was blatantly obvious.
     
  22. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    So you're saying the written test should be structured around what YOU plan to do with it, rather than the privileges anyone else will exercise with their instrument rating?
     
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  23. mtuomi

    mtuomi En-Route

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    I wish they would get rid of the obsolete crap. "Your magnetic compass indicates 240 degrees but your remote compass indicator indicates 230 degrees. To get them aligned, what do you do? a) press free gyro knob and turn clockwise. b) press free gyro knob and turn counter-clockwise. c) something useless".
    Correct answer would be: Press the button and if it turns the right way, you're good. If the wrong way, turn the other way.
    There's zero value knowing stuff like that.
     
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  24. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    Yup...just ask the guys to whom I have to explain how this works in their airplane.:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  25. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Past what?
     
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  26. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    My DG precesses a little more than it should, so I get a lot of practice twisting the little knob. :)
     
  27. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

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    Did IFR(97%) written about 3 years ago and Commercial(93%) last week. Both with using King. I definitely noticed more previously unseen questions in the commercial test. Few that were not even discussed in King prep. Also a lot of questions had answers scrambled about, but I think this was the case in IFR as well. They've always used some "gotcha" wording on the test.
     
  28. RalphInCA

    RalphInCA Cleared for Takeoff

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    Wait until you take fundamentals of instruction (FOI).

    That thing is full of stuff you will never ever use.
     
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  29. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    Which is one of the reasons flight instructors are generally poor teachers...often referred to as "throwing the baby out with the bath water".
     
  30. murphey

    murphey Final Approach

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    Fortunately, as college faculty I'm exempt from thr FOI. Maybe because I really know how to,teach?
     
  31. Mistake Not...

    Mistake Not... Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes. Exactly that. Because all of those words appear in that particular order in at least one of the posts I made.

    Or you know... not.

    Let's take the posted example. Please tell me how height of tropopause affects my flight.

    (It's amazing to me how many on here will defend the need to have separate complex and high performance endorsements, but think it's unreasonable to question why a guy with a 210hp mooney needs to get the exact same IFR rating a jet jock does. I still say there should be multiple IFR ratings, and you can get the "high perf IFR" if you feel the need.)
     
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  32. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    Maybe you should petition the FAA for more regulation and expense for instrument privileges. Instrument Rating-steam gauge Archer; Instrument rating-Steam gauge 172; Instrument rating-legacy Baron; Instrument Rating-G1000 Baron, etc. Seems to be the way most CFIs treat things anyway.

    Or maybe ask them to custom-tailor an instrument privileges (and checkride) for each individual pilot...CFI applicants seem to like taking checkrides with FAA inspectors, why not run that down to the Instrument level?

    How about following the lead of countries that require a type rating for a Cessna 152?
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
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  33. Witmo

    Witmo Pattern Altitude

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    I took the commercial last summer. Not a single question on privileges of the commercial rating but I counted six questions on determining the time of arrival over a vor by turning off course and timing bearing change.
     
  34. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    They used to be even worse. There was a plate for some approach out west showing a MSA that you had to be able to read to answer one of the questions. Only the numbers in the MSA were smudged and unreadable, so I memorized the correct answer from the study booklet. All of my study materials had the unreadable plate, but when I went to take the written the second time, I actually got that question and the plate in the supplement was readable.

    Filed under "small miracles". ;)
     
  35. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    What's wrong with this picture?

    "I'm a perfectionist"

    "should of been"

    :devil:
     
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  36. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    .
    I'm a perfectionist...voice to text is not.
     
  37. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Vonage attempts to transcribe my voicemails to text, so I have seen with my own eyes how horribly wrong that can go!
     
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  38. ateamer

    ateamer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Very dry material. It really seems like it is written for people with little or no life experience who don't know what makes people tick.
     
  39. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Totally different focus, and easier. Expect a lot of similar stuff to the Private, a bunch of Commercial-specific FARs, and...

    That crap. Whoever did the nav questions for the commercial is completely in love with those and other trigonometry style math tricks. But the techniques aren't that hard to master long enough to pass the test and literally then forget them. I can't imagine ever bothering to teach a student trig tricks in the modern nav world. They're great as cocktail party fodder if you like such things.

    That used to be a peeve of mine too, but they've removed the RMI questions. They got the hint on that one AFAIK.

    FOI has SOME useful info for a 21 year old who's never taught anyone anything or managed people. I don't beat them up too much on FOI, they needed to say they'd done something to teach a kid how to teach.

    For most of us, just getting into the teaching mindset and applying stuff we know from life, will suffice, but that's not the point of a written test, so they have to test something. The FOI is outdated material on teaching adults, however, and sorely needs an update. I doubt with the amount of work the ACS will be for decades, they'll get around to updating it with modern teaching theory and techniques any time soon, however.

    I'm mildly amused at the idea that there will someday be an ACS for the CFI... it might qualify as a document only second to tax law in number of trees killed to print a copy of it.
     
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  40. JimNtexas

    JimNtexas Pattern Altitude

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    You're doomed on the oral!