Should I take my knowledge test first before going to a flight school?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Jah-Christo Decembre, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. Jah-Christo Decembre

    Jah-Christo Decembre Filing Flight Plan

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    I have the sporty’s learn to fly course provided to me by the EAA Young Eagles Program. I wanted to complete the course then take the knowledge exam to Avoid paying for ground school at the flight school I plan on attending. The sporty’s course comes with practice tests and I have access to instructors I can talk to if I have questions. So should I just study my butt off and pass the knowledge test before I sign up to a flight school? I have 2 hours of flight time so far
     
  2. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    You can knock the Knowledge Test out prior to flight training, but ideally, you study simultaneously with your in-the-air program. That allows you to apply what you learned. Otherwise, much is just abstract info.

    Also note that a ground school program should cover more than just written test prep. So, from that standpoint, you want to continue to use it as you progress through your flight training. That is, it shouldn't be your goal to "finish ground school" early.
     
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  3. Bacho

    Bacho Pre-Flight

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    You need an endorsement to take the test. I studied and took the test without any formal ground school and did fine. I felt I was pretty familiar with everything covered in the test guide. That said, recently an issue came up when a controller asked me to do something I was unfamiliar with. It was not covered in my studies, however I think a real live instructor would have covered it. In hindsight I would have taken one of the “group” ground school classes. I still might do that.
     
  4. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sporty's will prep you fine to take the exam. If it's going to weigh heavily on your mind and distract you haven't taken it yet then go ahead.

    You'll then learn things with your instructor that won't have been covered in the course and the flying will enforce and expose you to things you learned in the course but between the course and the instructor you'll be ready for the practical when it comes time.
     
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  5. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    There is nothing wrong with studying up and taking the knowledge test on your own. The more time and effort you put into any kind of self study, the better your training will go IMO. One thing to keep in mind is the test expires. Once you pass, you have to take the checkride within two years. That's lots of time so it shouldn't be an issue for most, but could be something to consider depending on your situation.

    But whether you take the knowledge test now on your own or not, I would still recommend doing at least some ground instruction during your training. Hands on instruction is always a good thing.
     
  6. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Get your medical first.
     
  7. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    I would say it depends on how long you expect train prior to your check ride. I did my written in the 3/4 range of the process and I felt like it was a good choice to have the info still on the fresh side for my check ride. Then again, I took 2 years to complete my cert, if you're planning on knocking it out in less than 6 months I don't think that would be an issue.
     
  8. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I did my written first - mainly because of my medical. I was deferred on my first medical until I could get my SI squared away. I didn't want to start flight training until that was all resolved, so I did my written while I waited. It all worked out.

    There will be questions and topics that won't make sense until you see them for real.
     
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  9. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    You didn't ask about this, but it is a good point. Make sure you can get the medical before you invest too much, there are strange gotchas that defy logic. My solo was delayed probably 6 months while I sorted mine out(put it off, worried about it, got paper work in order, etc), luckily I read about it on POA so I knew I had to have it in order before going for the exam, don't find out afterwards that you have a snag!
     
  10. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    I have taught many ground school classes in which one or more of the students had not yet begun training....their (understandably) clueless questions slowed the progress of the class. My recommendation is that you get a few hours in the airplane before taking the knowledge exam, just to connect the dots between terminology and tangible experience.

    Bob Gardner
     
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  11. geezer

    geezer Pre-Flight

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    OP has 2 hours logged, so the basics are already in his head. I did self study, then signed up for a commercial pilot ground school class, as there was not a suitable PPL class available at the time, and 3/4ths through, took the FAA PPL written, and passed, so that I could take my PPL check ride. Finished the commercial school, and passed their final with an even better score than on the FAA written PPL, weeks after I had my PPL. I was not taking the class lust to pass a test, but to learn all I could from the two airline FO's who were teaching it. Years later, primarily self study and passed the Commercial written by a large margin.

    I would recommend that the OP complete the Sporty's course, especially since he already has it. No study of quality materiel goes to waste, it just provides a foundation for the new to be built on, ans increases the likelihood of understanding the new materiel. I am sure that the pilots in the EAA Young Eagles program will give him quality advice as he has questions along the way.

    Best wishes for a long and happy flying experience.
     
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  12. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would suggest considering getting the medical done as soon as you are truly committed to getting PPL. Then I would suggest completing the written prior to estimated mid point in flight training, maybe before dual XC? Reason being that for me, it helped me ask "next level questions" of my instructor because I had more knowledge. don't forget to go back to the sporty's modules after a lesson that may have been more challenging for you. Sometimes, it just clicks in your mind better the second or third time. Btw, I finished sportys and passed exam after dual XC and wish I would have completed a bit earlier. That was my experience but, we all learn differently. I think someone else mentioned that if you feel that completing the exam earlier will make you more comfortable mentally, that very well could be the best way for you.
     
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  13. ByrdmanFL

    ByrdmanFL Filing Flight Plan

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    That is what I am doing. Make sure you keep track of things that you dont quite get and your CFI will cover those in greater detail with some hands on training.
     
  14. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    This.

    You’ll take the test with a much better understanding of each concept after you’ve been exposed to it in your flight training.
     
  15. Sport Pilot

    Sport Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I took my written knowledge exam on January 2018. I started flying in May 2018. I am now at 35 hobb hours, and am taking the written knowledge exam tomorrow. Taking it again assisted in my ground school studies; if you don’t use it you lose it.
     
  16. Tommar98

    Tommar98 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Everyone learns differently. I like reading material and then seeing it happen in real life. I can’t imagine studying navigation for the test without having been up in a plane an experienced things like heading and wind correction, etc. But, that’s how I learn best. Also, and I think this is key, you are always learning in aviation. I still read lots of material and watch videos like IFR mastery. There is a ton of information to learn and weather will always be a challenge. Good luck in whatever route you take.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  17. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    What type of school are you going to? If it's part 141 then there's no reason to take the Sporty's course because you'll have to take the ground school anyway. If it a part 61 school then get a few more hours and dive in. Good luck!!!
     
  18. crawdaddyjc

    crawdaddyjc Filing Flight Plan

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    I planned on taking the written early as well. I have been studying and using sportys. I believe that i could pass it right now. Now that i have a few flights under my belt, i am seeing where experience can help solidify the information that i have seen but had nothing to relate to in real life. Exposure to real life has helped some topics click. I have decided to wait to take the written since there is no real need to get it done.
    Good luck on your decision!
     
  19. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    I did my IFR written and Commercial written before starting training for those certificates.

    Here's my opinion. Most of what's on the written tests is useless once you get in the airplane. You aren't going to learn to use a VOR in the plane or how to do Lazy 8s based on something on the written. Even with the oral, it's not very helpful and you'll have to do a lot of your studying for that anyway.

    Get the written out of the way so you don't have it as a distraction while you are learning to fly.
     
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  20. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    To expand on Bob’s advice - Before you drove a car you were an observer for 16 years. Part of the FAA written contains operational questions. Unless you grew up around airplanes, fly some before the test.
     
  21. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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  22. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    Educationally, the written study materials will make a lot more sense once you have done some flying and experienced various flight tasks. I think I took my written about half-way through my training, about when I started doing solo XC flight. Ideally, you study all along with the flight syllabus and at some point you can go ahead and get the written out of the way so you are ready for the checkride without delay.
     
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  23. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    While I still stand by my recommendation to go ahead and do it now, I completely disagree with this particular sentiment. I did my written while I was also doing my flight training and I did not find it to be a distraction at all.

    My experience was that you learn from both individually and the learning from one compliments the learning from the other. I does not matter the order you do them in. What matters is that you do them both. If you do either without the other, your learning will be incomplete. Do them in any order, all learning is good learning.
     
  24. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    No need to take the test now, but that doesn't mean you can't go through the groundschool material and study now. Don't focus on the test, just focus on learning. If you have trouble understanding a topic, you can come back to it after you start flying.
     
  25. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Again, get your medical. Especially these days when schools push ADHD diagnosis like candy, make sure you qualify. Look at the medical questions and if there is anything that isn’t a no, ask about it before your medical.

    Then fly a little, it does make things make more sense. But otherwise, knock the written out and go do the fun stuff.
     
  26. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I tend to side with those who advise ground in conjunction with flight to give context.

    But this is more about you and how you learn than any one-size-fits-all answer. There are those who do very well knocking it out early, understanding they are just cramming without learning. In some of those, remnants of the cram stick in their minds to be actually learned in the course of training, In my own case, I did it backward. I finally took a weekend course and knocked out the test when my instructor told me he was going to schedule my checkride so I better get it done!
     
  27. FlyingTiger

    FlyingTiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Prefer and recommend doing the written early and I have always studied for understanding, not just to get the test done. This gives you a base of knowledge to begin your training with and allows you to focus more on flying. In addition, the subjects your instructor talks about in the lessons will make more sense and allow you to ask better questions.

    Another benefit is that you can start preparing for the practical oral. Get a good study guide and go over that as you do your flight training. It will cover and expand on things you learned studying for the written and will help with your flight training much more than studying for the written.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  28. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Think about your own learning experience throughout your life. Ground school is, or should be, an integral part of a continual learning process. It is a step not the destination. Seek your CFI's guidance and talk with your Young Eagles pilot they know you, or are getting to know you, and can help you determine the best course for you.

    Good luck and much success!
     
  29. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Cleared for Takeoff

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    In 7 years of running a Part 61 flight school, we only had one guy come in with the written done. He sat his checkride at precisely 40 hours TT, the oldest to do so by far -- most of our 40-ish hour trainees were very young with squishy brains. This dude was in his 40s if I recall.

    Impressed the heck out of me. We tried a ground school as a result of his showing -- but most people don't want to do bookwork, they want to fly airplanes, so it was a flop. :D
     
  30. Deelee

    Deelee Pre-Flight

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    Everybody is different... but for me I took the written after my first xc. My CFI's thinking was I had acquired enough knowledge to get signed off for xc (and had been studying like crazy), so the information (both studied and practical) would be fresh. Also would be close to the practical test, so I would be able to apply all that knowledge to the oral part of the practical. Again, everybody is different, but I got a 97% on the written and (the DPE said this) did amazingly well on the oral part of the practical.
     
  31. write-stuff

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    Some of what is on written tests has little value for pilots, but I certainly wouldn't say most. Most of it clicks right into place with the ground and air training that a CFI should provide. And many instructors provide little-to-no ground instruction anyway, so, all the more reason to learn as much as you can while preparing for a knowledge test.
     
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