My own experience #05: Theory exams

After about 10 months of studying a lot, I was ready to go for the theory exams. First, I had to do internal exams at the flight school to show that I was properly prepared and as I passed them all, I was allowed to go for the official exams.

The official exams were done at Madrid Barajas airport. We did the exams on the computer. Once you were finished, you had to wait for the lady in the front who would print out your results and you would immediately see if you passed or not. The passing score is 75%, but thankfully there was a big database of questions that we could use for studying purposes, next to studying the theory books we could test our knowledge using this database of questions.

I did my ATPL exams in 3 rounds. I planned the exams in a way that I felt comfortable with and I chose the following sequence:

November 2012:

Communications VFR
Communications IFR
Aircraft General Knowledge
Human performance

January 2013: 

Principles of flight
Mass and balance
Flight planning

March 2013:

General navigation
Radio navigation
Flight planning
Air law
Operational procedures

The last round was supposed to be 4 exams, but as I failed Flight Planning (74%) in the second round, I had to retake the exam in the third round. I then passed the same subject with 97%!

The sequence of these subjects were chosen on purpose and even though it’s really up to individual preferences, I would recommend to anyone doing the ATPL exams, to schedule the following subjects together, as they are similar and knowledge of one subject will help you to understand the other:

Aircraft General Knowledge + Instrumentation
Mass & Balance + Performance + Flight Planning
General Navigation + Radio Navigation
Air Law + Operational Procedures

I had a final average score of 95% and that is something I am still really proud of. All the months of studying had paid off!

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