What is the best way to study for the Instrument Written Test?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Michael Caliz, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. Bellanca_Pilot

    Bellanca_Pilot Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    45
    Location:
    Georgetown, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dewey
    Weekend ground school!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    jsstevens likes this.
  2. FreqFlyrJr

    FreqFlyrJr Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    67
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    LuckyLindy
    I think most people here would agree that after the Private Pilot Airplane (PAR) test, Sheppardair is the way to go.
     
  3. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Messages:
    4,048
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    write-stuff
    Gold Method is a highly intelligent piece of software. It's not just a "dumb" quiz generator as virtually all of its competitors are. Built-in algorithms monitor you and determine when you have mastered a question. When that happens, the question is removed from the pool. The result is that you work on a continuously shrinking pool of questions. It forces you to drill down into the questions that give you the most trouble.

    NEVER MAKE A WILD GUESS! If you don't know the answer to a question, click the "Cheat" button. This will give you a thorough explanation of how to determine the correct answer, sometimes in text, sometimes in video, and sometimes with graphics. This is where learning occurs.

    Gold Method is designed so that you actually learn the concept, not memorize the answer. In fact, it uses a proprietary 3D randomization that actively thwarts rote memorization. If the FAA decides to reword a question or answer (which they do), no problem.

    As expected, Gold Method automatically generates a signed Endorsement for both the Instrument and Commercial Knowledge Tests. And it has a "You Pass or We Pay" guarantee.

    www.GoldMethod.com
     
    jumper, murphey and WannFly like this.
  4. 6t6

    6t6 Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2016
    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Somewhere North
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    North Bound
    I just passed mine month ago with a 90. Not perfect but good enough. I recommend using these two

    Sheppard. That will give you insight for the test itself. Tricky questions, keys to correctly answer banks of questions in a certain subjects

    Another one I recommend is a guy named Lucas Noia.
    Try some some of his free stuff on YouTube. I did and liked it and bought his course. About $100. He has it down and easy to grasp and has some very clever tricks that you can actually use not just to pass the test but practical application.
     
  5. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2018
    Messages:
    1,190
    Location:
    Bryan, Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Mark
    Subscribed
     
  6. farky

    farky Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Messages:
    95
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    farky
    So do they or do they not release the questions anymore? Everyone acts like Sheppard Air is basically the question bank and if you just memorize that then you'll be good to go for the test....but I thought that was supposedly a thing of the past?
     
  7. ZeroPapaGolf

    ZeroPapaGolf Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2011
    Messages:
    649
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ZeroPapaGolf
    The banks are no longer public and haven’t been for a while, but Sheppard pays a bounty (refunds your fee) if you provide them with any new or changed questions you come across on your actual test. That keeps it very close to perfectly accurate.
     
  8. tylerjewell

    tylerjewell Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    TylerJewell
    I took my instrument knowledge test a few weeks ago and got a 90. I studied Sporty's test bank and would do a rapid 60 question test, then study the areas that I got wrong 1-2x / day. I did that over a couple of weeks and I was consistently in the 95% on the test. The exam itself was quite different from the questions that I had prepared. The topics were of the same relevance, but there were at least 15 types of questions that asked about elements that were not in the test bank, and I had to really think through logically with process of elimination what the right answer might be. I was fairly prepared. I did my checkride 2 weeks after the exam and the examiner thought my oral
     
  9. Fast Leroy

    Fast Leroy Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2018
    Messages:
    26
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Fast Leroy
    ROTE Learning will help you pass the test but won't necessarily help you learn the material. It works by reading the question and then only reading the correct answer. The idea that then, during the test, the correct answer will stand out from the rest of wrong answers.
     
  10. Steegie

    Steegie Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steegie
    I know I'm coming in on this kinda late but my 2 cents says to pay a few bucks to attend formal classes at a good school. That's what I did and it worked well for me. In a classroom setting other students ask questions you haven't thought of yet and you benefit big time. Or.....pay a good tutor for 1 on 1. If I were doing it over, I'd still go with the formal classroom setting. Good luck!
     
  11. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Messages:
    4,048
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    write-stuff
    It is (a thing of the past).
     
  12. Steegie

    Steegie Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2019
    Messages:
    27
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Steegie
    Excellent choice!
     
  13. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    521
    Location:
    Akron, Ohio
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim_CAK
    Check out @write-stuff signature line. I used their ground school for the commercial written and did very well. The explanations are very good. You can actually learn how to do the problems from them.
     
    write-stuff likes this.
  14. Adventure Aviator

    Adventure Aviator Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2018
    Messages:
    49
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Adventure Aviator
    Just getting started and using sheppardair and goldmethod. 250nm Cross country is tomorrow as long as the convective stuff behaves.
     
    write-stuff and Jim_CAK like this.
  15. Archimago

    Archimago Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2016
    Messages:
    59
    Location:
    kprb
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Archimago
    I am thinking of ditching the prepared test prep options and study using the ACS which lists the source under each task. Is there anything that will bite me doing this?
     
  16. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    521
    Location:
    Akron, Ohio
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim_CAK
    A thorough review of the ACS is a must - but it is not prep for the written. The material for the written comes mostly from the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Information, the FAR/AIM and the Airplane flying handbook. They are all free in electronic form and the printed copies are not expensive. I think the best test prep cites the appropriate reference so you can look up the reference material.
     
  17. old727pilot

    old727pilot Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bernard
    Michael , after flying more than 23,000 hours with the airlines , CFI,CFII , Check Airman and airline instructor the best answer and advice depends on the license . Seems like you are trying to obtain the PPL license , that means that you have to take the Easa examination which is twice as hard as the FAA exams.
    For that I recommend enrolling in one of schools approved to teach EASA courses. The exams are not as easy as the FAA . Trust me I was an EASA instructor.
    On the other hand if you are getting the FAA private license all you need is to purchase the courses offerd by King, Sporty's ,Gleim etc. Study them and take the practical tests they offer and when you feel confident then take the FAA exam.
    Remember that your goal is NOT to pass the written test. Your goal is to Learn everything pertaining to aviation as much as you can , so in case you encounter a tough situation in the air you will be able to handle the problem in a safe way.
     
  18. old727pilot

    old727pilot Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    bernard
    Friend the idea is not to pass the written exam. You want to learn as much as you can in this business of flying. Get your hands on everything related to flying and learn . Join AOPA , they have a wealth of information , read as many aviation magazines and watch all aviation videos you can get your hands on.
    After retiring flying for the airlines, flying corporate and being a CFI,CFII etc,etc….. I accumulated over 23,000 hours and what I tell my students is this : you learn every single day something new in aviation ; whoever tells you that he knows everything in aviation , he/she is lying to you. Walk away from that person.
    Bernard
    bm727@bellsouth.net
     
  19. Chris Hill

    Chris Hill Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2017
    Messages:
    6
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Speardivertampa
    I used King’s ground school app on my IPad and thought it was great. Watched it a couple times and got a 92 on the written.

    Chris
     
  20. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Messages:
    9,097
    Location:
    Colorado
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    murphey
    Probably one of the better methods - learn, not memorize.
     
    write-stuff likes this.
  21. GregP

    GregP Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Messages:
    27
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GregP
    Kings, the best I have found.
     
  22. Deelee

    Deelee Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Messages:
    188
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Deelee
    Great topic! Very timely, too. I got my private certificate back in August and I am ready to start studying for IR now. I am really torn between all the great advice here. I would be doing most of my learning at night on iPad and/or laptop. Between the Sporty's, Sheppard, King and Gold Method, I can't pick. I used King for private coupled with the Sporty's study buddy. Got a 98 on the written and did very well on the practical. Actually studied FAR/AIM, ACS, PHAK a ton for the practical...

    Anyway, the King stuff just looks a bit dated. Is that the case? AAAaaaagh. Can't decide and don't want to plunk down good money on multiple ground school courses...
     
  23. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Messages:
    3,898
    Location:
    Madison, OH
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    dtuuri
  24. Bill Greenwood

    Bill Greenwood Ejection Handle Pulled

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2019
    Messages:
    302
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Bill Greenwood
    And yes, I fly vors. as a matter of fact if there is an ILS it usually has a vor. I don't have GPS so don't use GPS approaches or for vfr flying either. There are dozens if not hundreds of vors in the U S. but in out part of the country its often good vmc so not relying on an instrument. And if its real bad imc I'm relying on a car or airline.
     
  25. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Messages:
    4,048
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    write-stuff
    I believe King Schools was recently, or is in the process of being, sold. If that's the case, they may move on to a different format at some point.
     
  26. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    521
    Location:
    Akron, Ohio
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jim_CAK
    Wow - that’s news. Are John and Martha retiring? The have been a mainstay in GA since I’ve been flying.
     
  27. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Messages:
    20,181
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    James331
    That.

    So real world get both, one to understand what you need to know, the other to get the written done
     
  28. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2014
    Messages:
    1,275
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    woodchucker
  29. RingLaserGyroSandwich

    RingLaserGyroSandwich Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2019
    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Annapolis
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RingLaserGyroSandwich
    I took my IRA knowledge exam today and did well. However, there were several questions that were either worded extremely poorly or were just plain wrong as far as I could tell (consistent with what I saw while preparing for the exam). I actually wrote an e-mail to the FAA Airman Testing folks asking what they are doing about it... we'll see if they acknowledge the problem or not.
     
  30. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    17,847
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    mind sharing which questions?
     
  31. RingLaserGyroSandwich

    RingLaserGyroSandwich Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2019
    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Annapolis
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RingLaserGyroSandwich
    I'm not allowed to write down the questions or the answers and bring them out of the testing facility (as I'm sure everyone knows), so I don't have the precise questions and answers. I understand the desire for exam security, but it isn't really working since Sheppard Air and others have almost the exact question bank anyway, and it would be much easier for the FAA to improve the questions if they received good feedback. The computer asks you at the end of the exam if you had issues with any questions, but that is before you know how it graded you on the questions, and you also don't have access to the questions to review them and actually discuss them intelligently. In addition, I think most test takers are eager to know what score they got and don't want to spend half an hour struggling to type out their concerns about questions they saw an hour ago before seeing their grade.
     
  32. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2010
    Messages:
    17,847
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    If you had used Sheppard Air as your test prep, email Mike and advise him of your experience and take advantage of his no surprises guarantee.

    I had one or two questions on my IRA test that wasn't in the Sheppard Air test bank I studied. I was able to remember them and advised Mike of the situation. He promptly refunded me the money spent on his test prep and thanked me for helping to improve his information.
     
  33. Alex Batista

    Alex Batista Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2018
    Messages:
    101
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Runway25
    Hey @Cogito , I took a look at Dauntless after I read your post (as well as others suggesting it). I found 2 different ones for IFR fixed wing but I’m not sure which one I should get. It seems like one focus on the check ride and oral, and the other one on the written. They seem pricey but I like the “lifetime membership” with updates (I guess to keep me polished even after my obtain my IFR rating). I guess my question is which specific app should I get for the written?
     
  34. RingLaserGyroSandwich

    RingLaserGyroSandwich Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2019
    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Annapolis
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RingLaserGyroSandwich
    The FAA's Airman Testing Standards Branch got back to me. My main points in my e-mail to them were:

    • Many Instrument Rating Airplane knowledge exam questions are poorly worded or do not make sense given the answer choices available. Many questions are written in such a way that they don't seem to measure what the FAA was obviously trying to measure (i.e., knowledge of the concepts in the ACS). Occasionally, some questions are even outside of the applicability of the rating.
    • In most of my conversations about this with rated pilots and instructors, the feedback has been near unilateral that a good chunk of the questions used by the FAA on the IRA knowledge exam are in need of revision.
    • The feedback mechanism to allow the questions to improve over time seem to be mostly ineffectual (I go into several reasons why).
    • According to the FAA's website, the FAA recently awarded a new contract to a vendor to improve the testing process. Does the FAA recognize the problems described above, and is it the FAA's intent to make significant progress on these problems through this new contract?
    Here is the FAA's response with identifying information removed:

    Thank you for taking the time to write us about your concerns. We couldn’t agree with you more. The main reason the FAA entered into a new testing services contract is to address many of the things that you have outlined below. All of our question banks are in need of some attention. The limited resources and technology that we have utilized in the past has certainly limited our abilities to make improvements. We’re confident that our new testing vendor will provide the much needed expertise to help us make the enhancements that we all wish for. Each question bank will be assessed over the life of our testing services contract. The instrument is certainly part of this and will be assessed and improved in the future.

    Thank you again for sharing your concerns. It certainly validates why we are moving towards better solutions for FAA knowledge testing.

    Best Regards,
    I'm pleasantly surprised by the response and at least somewhat hopeful we will see improvement. However, the current state of affairs seems to be due to mismanagement on the part of the FAA, so the FAA's acknowledgement of the problem is only half of the battle.
     
  35. Hank Gibson

    Hank Gibson Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2018
    Messages:
    36
    Location:
    San Marcos, TX
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hank G.
  36. AC0000

    AC0000 Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2019
    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    IND
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    AC0000
    Gleim FAA Instrument Written Exam question book. Lists all the possible questions. Use it to guide your study.
     
  37. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    17,697
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    First time, I did a regular ground school.
    Second time, I slept with Martha (and John) King videos.
    Third time, I used Gleim's drill and kill.
     
    AC0000 likes this.
  38. ArnoldPalmer

    ArnoldPalmer Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    Messages:
    151
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ArnoldPalmer
    Sheppard. 88 with a few weeks of studying.


    Sent from my SM-T510 using Tapatalk
     
  39. Papa Pilot

    Papa Pilot Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2017
    Messages:
    2
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Andy
    Took my instrument written last week and passed with a pretty decent score.

    I started by first reading the Instrument Procedures book, FAA Instrument Handbook, and reviewed basic weather with emphasis on understanding icing. Afterwards, went through FAR/AIM to brush up on regulations, airspace, procedures and the like. I did this at a casual pace to give myself time to understand and absorb.

    I then used Sportys prep software. You need to view all the videos and pass the practice test twice with a score of 80% or better before you get your authorization slip. Videos were fine; they certainly reinforced the reading I did. I would then do the "drill and kill" thing. With Sportys you can focus on particular areas (e.g., Aircraft Performance, Instrument Procedures, Weather, etc.) and I choose to study by area rather than having the system present random questions (although you can do this with Sportys as well). My goal from the out set was to go through each area at least 3 times with an overall average score of 90%. Once I did this, I then took the practice test.

    All in all, it took about 6 weeks of dedicated time. I'd say I devoted about 10 hrs/wk to the effort.
     
  40. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,577
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    KennyW
    The book knowledge is all free. If you want to prepare for any written exam, the best way is to study the exam. You have to accept that the written test is a hurdle to jump through, not an end goal. So, treat it like a trivia quiz; like you're preparing to appear on an episode of Jeopardy. And not like your goal is to be the resident expert on the written "body of knowledge".

    Use the "free" books from the FAA for research. Then use something like the Gleim FAA test-prep material to practice the test.