The three weeks since the previous sitting has been spent watching more BGS webinars, doing practice exams and reading books. Not much time left for flying, or anything else for that matter.
More insane questions
The insane questions are in no way limited to the air law and human performance subjects, they exists across all exams. The amount of useless things we have to just memorize for the exams are beyond crazy. Not only does this feel meaningless, it will in no way make you a better or a safer pilot.
How does knowing the formula behind the capacitance of a capacitor in any way help you as a pilot? It doesn’t. It does the exact opposite, by wasting your time and increasing the stress levels during the studying for the exams.
The first day
After once again driving across the country, and spending a night at the exact same hotel room as the last time, I was ready to start my second sitting.
I had two exams on the schedule this day, 022 Instrumentation and 033 Flight Planning & Monitoring. Since I was selected for a random check of the Jeppesen GSPRM today, I had to borrow one from the CAA while they went through every single page of my personal copy.
Since I started with Instrumentation, I didn’t need it until they had finished checking it anyway. For those that don’t know, you are not allowed to draw or make any markings in the GSPRM - and they do check! Luckily I knew this, and mine was as clean as it was when I first bought it.
Instrumentation is a strange subject, a lot of the questions are related to the difference between Boing and Airbus - which of course is extremely important for me to know, since I’m going to do basic training in a tiny Cessna… At least it’s interesting, and this exam was actually fun to do. Maybe because I actually knew what to answer on most of the questions. Anyway, that was a great feeling.
The second exam today, Flight Planning & Monitoring, was brutal. It was hard, but the main issue was that it was time consuming. So much that I only had one minute remaining when I finished it. When I got closer to the end, I just had to run through the remaining questions, to ensure that I at least had selected an answer for all of them. That did the trick, and removed just enough stress for me to be able to finish the rest.
I was so relieved when I passed both!
A bit of relaxation before the next attempt
Since I only had two exams booked the first day, I had time to just drive around, and try to relax a bit before the next exams. I even had time to find a couple geocaches.
I also made sure to spend some time at the hotel doing some final test exams for the last two exams I had scheduled for this sitting.
The second day
The second day didn’t start too well, as I got some disturbing news before driving to the exam center. I should have just left my phone in flight mode, as things like this can (and did) affect the ability to concentrate properly during the exam.
Didn’t start too well at the test station either, as they had trouble getting their electronic door lock to work. So they had to take us through the backdoor.
The exams planned for today was 050 Meteorology and 061 General Navigation. The first one was Meteorology, which was another brutal exam. A lot of questions, calculations and several questions I had never seen before. Interpretation of weather radar (which we don’t have in our tiny Cessna), a lot of difficult questions about frontal systems and even more interpretation of pictures of various kinds (statelite, radar, etc).
So I was prepared for it when the nasty red “Ikke bestått” (failed) showed up again. Still disappointed though.
During the previous days I’ve been here, we haven’t really been that many people. But today was busy, a lot of people. And a lot of movement. That didn’t really help on the concentration either.
It got worse
The last exam on this sitting was just as brutal as the first one today. Navigation is something I’m good at, I have even written a booklet for students, but for some reason I had forgotten a lot of the basics today. And I struggled with a lot of the questions. But I still felt that I had done relatively good anyway.
A thing that made some of the questions unnecessarily difficult, was the previously mentioned rule that you are not allowed to draw anything on the maps in the GSPRM. This made finding intercepting points between two radials for example a lot harder than it should have been.
The exam system lets you flag questions, which makes it easy to go back and double check questions you are unsure about. I had a relatively low amount of flagged questions left when I submitted the exam. So it was another huge punch in the face when I still got the red “Ikke bestått” (failed). Either I’ve done something really stupid, or I simply have to study more. Too bad the system won’t tell you where you did wrong.
I remember one question, which had a complex combination of ILS interception, high variation (Greenland I think it was) and a VOR. I have no clue how the ILS should be intercepted, and the question just assumed I knew, so that one was a pure guess.
I probably also have to practice more on the convergency calculations, and the calculations related to the different map projections (I did a really stupid mistake there, mixing the direction of small to large scale).
Doing two large exams in one day probably wasn’t the smartest choice either.
Support is important
The last day of this sitting was hard, and it didn’t exactly do wonders for the motivation. The limited amount of sittings and attempts per subject is making me increasingly nervous for each exam I take.
Having support is vital when you try to tackle these exams. Normally you would have that from the ATO you use. But since I’m doing this one my own, I am on my own. Luckily, there are some really great people in the aviation community. And Erlend Våge from the CB-IR series has been a huge support and instrumental for me during this endeavour.
Thank you, Erlend! You are a true inspiration, and my goal is to be able to help future students in the same way myself!