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About the Exams

Background on the Question Pools

  • FAA releases updates to their question pools about three times a year.
  • In these releases the FAA only includes a small set of ‘representative’ examples of their questions, not the complete pool. Consequently, no one can guarantee 100% that they have the whole set of questions.
  • Our database of questions is far more extensive than the current publicly released question samples. To stay as current as we can we compare the questions released by the FAA to our existing question database and then add any new questions and update modified questions as appropriate.
  • To ensure we have questions that cover all of the subject areas recommended by the FAA, we compare the subject areas of our questions (as defined by the FAA’s Learning Statement codes) to the prescribed subject areas detailed in the official Knowledge Test Handbooks. This ensures that we have questions that test all the subject areas that the FAA recommends.
  • We only delete old questions if their contents are no longer valid or are misleading. We also cross check with the popular test prep guides to ensure we’re in sync with other written test prep materials that you might be using.

Background FAQ on the taking the written tests

How old do I have to be to take the recreational pilot or private pilot written test?

At least 15 years old. If you want to pilot a balloon or glider, you must be at least 14 years old. Before taking the knowledge test, you may have to show proof of age, such as a birth certificate.

How should I prepare for the knowledge test?

You should study the materials identified by your flight instructor or included in a home-study course. The specific aviation knowledge you need is laid out in the FAA’s rules, the Code of Federal Regulations, part 14.

  • For Sport Pilots, the aviation knowledge you need to cover is listed in section §61.309
  • For the Private pilot test, please see section §61.105
  • For Commercial Pilots, please see section §61.125.
  • For the Instrument Rating, this is covered in §61.65.

Where can I take the knowledge test?

There are two major companies that provide FAA knowledge test, CATS and LaserGrade. Talk to your instructor to find a testing center near you or visit their websites to find a center and book a time to take the test.

What document or documents must I present before taking a knowledge test?

You have to present identification that includes your photograph, signature, and home address. Any one of the following:

  • A certificate of graduation from a pilot training course conducted by an FAA-approved pilot school, or a statement of accomplishment from the school certifying the satisfactory completion of the ground-school portion of such a course
  • A written statement from an FAA-certified ground or flight instructor, certifying that you have satisfactorily completed the required ground instruction
  • Logbook entries by an FAA-certified ground or flight instructor, certifying satisfactory completion of the required ground instruction
  • A certificate of graduation or statement of accomplishment from a ground school course conducted by an agency such as a high school, college, adult education program, the Civil Air Patrol, or an ROTC Flight Training Program
  • A certificate of graduation from a home-study course developed by the aeronautical enterprise providing the study material

If you can’t provide any of the above items, you can have the home-study course you have completed reviewed by an FAA inspector to assure you are competent to take the desired knowledge test. Contact the local FAA Flight Standards District Office to get an appointment with an FAA inspector. The inspector will review your study material and may question you on some of the material. If you are found qualified to take the test, the inspector will issue FAA Form 8060-7, Airman’s Authorization for Written Test. You must present this form when you take your knowledge examination.

If you have to take the test over again, you must present either the unsatisfactory AC Form 8080-2, Airman Written Test Report, or an airman computer test report (if the test was taken at an FAA-designated computer testing center).

If I fail the knowledge test, is there any way to determine the areas in which I need additional work so I can study for a retest?

Yes. You will receive either AC Form 8080-2, Airman Written Test Report, or an airman computer test report (if the test was taken at an FAA-designated computer testing center). The test report will contain your test score and will also list the subject matter codes for the knowledge areas in which you were found deficient. An outline of the subject matter codes is located in the appendix of each written test book. You may refer to the appropriate written test book to determine the areas in which further study is needed.

If I pass the knowledge test, will I receive the same information concerning weak areas as I would if I failed the test?

Yes. (Refer to the previous answer.)

How long is a satisfactorily completed knowledge test valid?

A satisfactorily completed knowledge test expires two years from the day it was taken. If a practical test is not satisfactorily completed during that period, another knowledge test must be taken.

Will my instructor review the areas in which the test report showed I was deficient?

Yes. Your instructor must review the areas in which you were deficient and must endorse the written test report or provide a written endorsement indicating this review has been completed.

  • List of current Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs