As mentioned in the previous post, my goal was to start with the CPL theory exams at the end of the summer. According to the internet, the last day of summer in 2023 was Saturday September 23rd. I did my first exam on September 28th. So I almost made it. But at least I have finally started!
The theory and exams are taking much longer than the practical FI training, but hopefully I will eventually get there.
I’ve had a break from studying for a couple weeks, before doing pretty much intense studying for the last three-four weeks. I had initially intended to do the first exam on September 21st, which would have meant that I had started before the end of the summer. But since I spent a week touring with the electric plane, to Bømoen and Leirin, I decided to give myself another week to study.
I also finally figured out how the exam periods work, and found the official list of dates (and booking deadlines).
One of the best parts of Aviationexam, is the comment section. It provide additional knowledge, and much needed comic relief. Which you need after getting a bunch of questions about random ICAO annex numbers, EASA regulation numbers - or the droplet size of a nasal spray. All of it extremely important information if you want to become a flight instructor…
The webinars was vital to me, and slowly I started making great progress - which I started to notice in the test exam history. This gave me a nice motivation boost.
The first day of the first sitting
I decided to start with 6 exams for my first sitting, spread across two exam days. I had to drive across the country to get to the exam center, as there are only two to chose from here in Norway. Tønsberg and Finnsnes. After a night at the nearby Torp Hotel, I was ready for my first exam.
Luckily for me, I noticed that you are instructed to meet 30 minutes before the exam start time. My start time was 08:30, and they let me in to start at 08:00.
All the CAPs are available to you, printed and in a binder at the test station. You can also ask to get a English-English dictionary, which I highly recommend you do - especially if you’re doing Human Performance and Limitations.
You are also allowed to bring the Jeppesen GSPRM, which I highly recommend that you do! I familiarized myself with it before the exam, and it has a lot of great information in it.
The exams the first day were 010 Air Law, 070 Operational Procedures, and 090 Communications.
You are allowed breaks between the tests, but I didn’t need any today. I finished all three within one hour. Got a couple really though questions, including some IFR questions. Not that much about annex and regulation numbers.
When I left the exam center, I got the following comment:
Wow, are you finished already? Three exams!?
This should have been just one exam
All three this day felt so similar in the questions, that it should have just been one common test. No point in splitting this into three different exams when they ask questions about the same things in all three.
You get the results right away after each test, and since I am taking this outside of any ATO I also got the results sent directly to my digital mailbox at the end of the day.
The second day
After another night at the Torp Hotel, I was ready for the second and last day of this sitting. The exams this day were 031 Mass & Balance, 040 Human Performance and Limitations, and 062 Radio Navigation.
The first day the order of the exams were fixed, but today I got to chose the order myself. I decided to do them in the planned order anyway.
First out was Mass and Balance, and the Bristol webinars taught me the “UZO Bear” - which was a great memory tool during this exam.
You get as much paper as you need during the exam, and writing down memory tools like this is a very nice way to double check your answers.
Compared to yesterday, today was brutal. A lot more calculations had to be done, which too time. A lot of time. I spent 55 of the 60 minutes I had available for the first exam. But at least it was a pass!
The second, Human Performance and Limitations, was a lot better than I had feared. I’m very glad I spent a couple hours at the hotel practicing for this one, because I recognized several of the questions from yesterday.
I’ll get it the next time
The third, Radio Navigation, was a lot worse. Several hard questions, and not much time available. A couple questions asked about things I had absolutely no reason to know, as I had never seen it during the Evionica course or in the practice exams. How should I know about things that are outside of the learning objectives? I had to guess, and guessed wrong. I also got a question about the ICAO code in mode S transponders, which I know for a fact can be changed - apparently the exam thinks it can’t.
So I failed this one. Getting the red “Ikke bestått” (failed) was a huge punch in the face, but at least I didn’t get it until the last exam on this sitting.
I ended up submitting an official complaint for this later (which I had to do myself, since I don’t have any ATO that can do it for me). I shouldn’t have gotten the IFR question, and I know for a fact that the code on Mode S transponders can be changed…
Anyway, 5 exams done! That’s still a great start!
Be there early
Use all available tools
Learn to use the DMS button on the calculator
Use the dictionary in the Jeppesen GPSRM
Use the ATC and other text pages in the Jeppesen GPSRM
Use the conversion formulas available in the various CAPs
Use the English-English dictionary, especially for Human Performance and Limitations
Use all available time!
RTFQ / RTFA (Read the fine question / Read the fine answers (and read all of them))
The plan is to continue studying in the same way as I have the last weeks, and be ready for the next sitting in about three weeks.
The progress so far is 5 of 13 exams done (38%), and 1 of 6 sittings used (17%).