ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Passing PPL Flying Theory Tests

Updated on May 25, 2017

Exams - a necessary evil

I am yet to meet a person who likes studying for examinations! There is always that feeling of worry, of unpreparedness and the very real possibility of failing. When you sit your PPL examinations, you will likely see many candidates taking and re-taking the examinations. I once met a fellow who had sat the navigation paper 10 times. He needed a passmark of 75% and the last 3 attempts, he consistently scored 74%. Sad state in deed.

Plan to Pass

The first thing you need to do to pass your PPL theory exams is to plan to pass. Sounds obvious but you will be surprised at the number of people who actually plan to fail. Without a plan, you essentially give up control and when you give up control, bad things happen. The tips below will help.

1. A Study Plan

You know all the material that you must cover. The PPL curriculum sets out the various topics that you need to master. If you read randomly, you can rest assured that you will miss out something. The way out of this situation is to make a plan and write it down. List down the various topics and when you will read up on them. For example, every Monday evening between 7pm and 9pm, you may slot in Navigation, every Tuesday 8pm to 10pm you will study aircraft systems. The plan becomes your guide and you know when you are falling behind. It is a companion who reminds you of what you need to do. One more thing, place the plan in a place that you can see it. Don't put it under a sheaf of papers. Let it nag you into action every time you pass by it. Lastly, your plan should have the sources that you will be studying. There are many texts to help you out. In the US, the FAA has handbooks that are to be used in the study. In other jurisdictions, you may need to identify the material that you need use. There are sets of flying instruction manuals such as Pooleys Air Pilots manuals and these often go deeper into the topics.

2. Read before Practical

Assuming you have about 50 hours of PPL practical training, it is important that before each practical lesson, you identify the theoretical reading that precedes it and actually read before the practical. The practical will thus reinforce what you already read. It makes it easy for the instructor to guide you through the exercise if you have already read up on the lesson. The repetition during the practical also helps fix the material in your mind, ready for that day when you shall pass your exam as a well-prepared candidate!

3. Use Your Instructor

Your instructor has lots of experience. She has seen many situations, has sat the same examinations (and even tougher ones). If you are struggling, do not suffer in silence. Set time to discuss with your instructor but do not just show up unprepared. Write down the specific items that you have not properly understood. Instructors are only too happy to help you get that lightbulb moment. A good instructor lives for that.

4. Use Question Banks wisely

In flight school, I saw many students who had subscriptions to online question banks. There is nothing wrong with that. Question banks are a rich repository of possible questions that you will encounter in the examinations and getting the practice is wise. The problem is that many students use the question banks to replace reading. They wade through question banks guessing the answers and attempting to memorise the answers when the blue tick appears. This is a recipe for disaster as it attempts to short-circuit the process of actually understanding the material. So use question banks to polish up the loose ends after you have read, understood, consulted instructor. Question banks are not way to become a safe pilot anyway. You need proper grounding in the PPL study material.

5. Know your weak areas and work on them

Related to point above on question banks, you will see areas where you have not met the standards. If on 5 topics you are scoring strong 90% and the 6th topic you are scoring a measly 60%, there is some work to be done on that lost topic. Work on it, take corrective action and recheck your progress. It makes little sense expecting to walk into the exam room unprepared and hope to come from 60% to the passmark of 75%.

6. Read to understand, not to memorise

This is by far the most important point and one which flying students forget. Your PPL exams are not designed to keep you from getting the license. They are administered to gauge your knowledge. That is the key right there - you need to gain a sufficient level of knowledge that will enable you to gain the license, so that you can continue learning on the job. Therefore, rather than memorise just to spew the material on the exam paper, make sure your study is all about understanding. The passing of examinations is a formality.

7. Teach others

I used this tip with a good amount of success. If you have truly understood something, you should be able to teach it to others. Approach fellow students and form study groups. Meet regularly and compare progress. If a student is struggling with an area that you understand, volunteer to offer "extra classes" for 15 minutes. As you explain the stuff to him, it concretises the stuff in your brain. In a sense, you will not only pass the exams but you will have helped out a buddy. We need more pilots in the air anyway.

There you have it, a simple plan to passing your PPL exams.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)