FAA checkride

I have two questions,

  1. What is the best way to prepare for the FAA checkride? I am taking it in Mid to late January and am just nervous that I will get some unexpected question that will mess me up.

  2. My flight instructor said that this book (below this question) is basically what they can ask you. So if it is not in here then you do not have to worry about it. How do you use this book though. I am very confused on how to use it?



Hugely important: you can find this book online, look here: https://www.faa.gov/training_testing/testing/acs/media/private_airplane_acs.pdf

The Airman Certification Standards (ACS) are, like you said, the things an examiner can ask you about/test you on, either during the oral or practical portions of your checkride. You’ll notice you won’t find anything on there about helicopters, seaplanes, or commercial ops because you don’t need to know those things for your PPL ASEL.

I’d recommend going through that book cover to cover, making sure you know every part of it. Personally, I’d print it off (all 98 pages, yes), put it in a binder, and write out answers to each and every question to a level of detail I was satisfied with. If you don’t know something, ask your CFI, another experienced pilot, or go look it up yourself.


I’ll try to condense this as much as possible. I recieved some great advice for the oral portion while I was training:

Answer the questions before they ask - when the exam starts and the questions begin, try to anticipate what the next question will be and go ahead and answer that question, and then keep going.


Examiner: “Are you ready?”

Reply: “Yes, my class (insert 1, 2, or 3) medical is up to date, I satisfy all necessary currency requirements (list them. i.e landings within preceding 90 days, go ahead and mention that your bi-annual flight review is not applicable, etc.), mention that you got enough sleep, you haven’t had a drink within the preceding 8 hours, and talk about the other relevant “fit to fly” condistions. Then move directly into your flight plan - weather at departure, arrival, en-route. Mention how the weather qualifies for VFR, talk about the relevant airspace’s you’ll be in, the nav-aids (mention that your instruments have been checked and are current),…

I think you can see where I’m going with this. I tried my best to do this on each of my check rides - and it was a great way to set the tone early and show that you are prepared and in control. It will help you direct the conversation (which it should be more of a conversation than an oral examination), and will most likely cut down the time and need for the examiner to start really grilling you. They will inevitably ask questions while you’re going through your well rehearsed speech, but you’ll be able to quickly answer those questions if you’ve studied the book in the previous reply, and then dive right back into your planned out discussion to keep it all rolling along smoothly.

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The questions in that book can basically be linked together to form the entirety of your speech so that you’ve answered all of the examiners questions without him even having to ask

This is interesting, I received the exact opposite advice: Answer the question and stop talking. The thought behind this is the more you say, the more you can mess up.

Here’s how mine have gone:

Examiner: Are you ready?
Candidate: Yes
E: What documentation do you have?
C: I have a logbook with valid sign offs, photo ID, a stamped certificate saying I passed my written, and a medical (if applicable).
E: Excellent. Do you meet the requirements to apply for this certificate?
C: Yes.
E: What are these?
C: I am 19 years old. In my logbook, I can show you I have over 100 flights as pilot in command of a glider, and over 25 hours total in gliders. I have also passed the written and received a logbook endorsement from an instructor, certifying I have received 3 hours of ground and flight instruction in the last two months and am prepared to take this commercial pilot exam in gliders.


😬😬 Well I certainly wasn’t trying to cause any confusion. I think both schools of thought have their merits. If you know your examiner - you can prob have a better idea of which way they’d prefer to go. I had the same examiner for private and instrument (the one who taught me the method I mentioned), and then a completely different examiner for the commercial, but it went over well with him too.

Side note: I would love to get some glider time in my logbook


Yah how I leaned. Answer the question and shut the mouth. The DPEs are sneaky and will nab you on tings

That’s another factor, whether or not you know your DPE. I had the same one for private and commercial, and that tactic is the one everyone on my airfield sticks to. But it might not be right all the time!

@mac104 I highly recommend it! I’m looking forward to the day I get around to power…


I do think the “answer and shut your mouth” option is more common, but I was happy with the reception I got on the “speech” method. But it definitely could be the riskier approach. I rehearsed it countless times and it helped me keep a nice ryhthem and just keep it flowing. If nothing else, it made the studying/memorizing more dynamic and interesting. Either way, it all comes down to a lot of prep


thanks guys I appreciate the help. and just in case I cannot find the answer to something do you guys mind if I would shoot one of you guys a PM?


Go right ahead

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If they want you to elaborate they will ask you

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Totally agree with this. Back to the ACS, I would make sure to have small speeches for each point on there. It does make the studying more dynamic and interesting, I agree.

@TylerShah of course, my inbox is always open. Good luck on your studying!


@tomthetank taught the same thing, If they want to know more on a question they will ask.
Just remember DPEs are instructors there to help you achieve something. I know a few DPEs personally and they want people to get to their goal, some maybe sneaky and trying get you for something but majority of the time they’re very nice!

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I also think it depends on the examiner more than anything. The one I have delt with likes to ask open ended questions, not to trick you, but rather to see what you know and how you talk about it. For my PPL I know I was asked every single question out of the standards, however most of them were not explicitly asked. Looking back I think the best way to study is know all the points that he/she can ask, and be able to use them in a conversation not just answer the question.


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