Get Ready! New FAA Knowledge Tests June 13th

This is an urgent notice to all pilots currently in training to complete your knowledge test soon.  On Jun 13th the new ACS (Airman Certification Standard) knowledge tests go live on the computer testing sites for private, commercial and instructor level certificates. If you have trained with the old knowledge testing bank of questions, you should try to complete your FAA knowledge examination before that date! The new questions will be entirely unique and will also not be available before the test to study (or memorize).

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Ultimately, we all know this is the correct method of testing true understanding of a subject at the correlative level. Ideally, you should know the subject matter in it’s entirety and the questions should accurately reflect your understanding with a grade point reference. The pilot training process was broken and that is what the ACS is designed to repair.

Not only was the historic rote memorization game a broken system of evaluation, the material it tested was hopelessly outdated. There will be no more non-movable-card ADF questions and more focus on GPS and relevant information. The FAA has provided a list of now deleted subject areas here. Moving forward you will have to know your material thoroughly to test well, memorization at a rote level will not be available.


There is whole pilot test prep industry built around the current questions and the preparation of pilot test applicants.  This will be in turmoil until the new testing system becomes a known challenge. The FAA provides sample test questions on their ACS website and the private test sample is here. Best of luck!

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About the author

David St. George

David St. George is an FAA DPE (Sport to Multi ATP) and a Part 135 charter pilot flying the Pilatus PC-12 in the NYC area. He recently renewed his Master Instructor for the tenth time and is a Charter member of SAFE. Formerly a 141 Chief Instructor for over 25 years, with a Gold Seal CFI. David started flying at 16 and has logged over 15,000 hours. He owns a 1946 7AC Aeronca Champ and wrote the SAFE Toolkit app.

Get Ready! New FAA Knowledge Tests June 13th — SAFE Educational Opportunities! – Fly 'n Things - May 14, 2016

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Steve - May 15, 2016

The new testing goes live June 13th but the testing supplements are expected to be released June 30th ??

    David St. George - May 15, 2016

    We already have the test supplements at our testing center so I assume they are available somewhere…widen your search?

Robert A. Williams - May 16, 2016

I really like that old out dated questions are going away. I like the idea of making the tests more relevant. My one concern is that in light of the fact that there are fewer student starts/completions that we have been wringing our hands about that these “new” knowledge test don’t become so daunting that few will finish their training (especially new entrants into our aviation enthusiast group) and opt to go buy a jet ski for the same price as private pilot training with no test required. Testing is not the only road block they may encounter to entry into our fraternity but it may present the first one they are not willing to go over. The next one is aircraft ownership. Get your license and rent aircraft (if you can find one to rent) or buy one (ouch). Buy the jet ski-no license- not test- relatively cheap up keep.

    David St. George - May 16, 2016

    Hi Robert, thanks for the comment! And I agree 100% we do not want to create any additional obstacles to pilot certification that would discourage people in the training process. As a DPE I am hopeful the evaluation process should actually be *easier.* I say this based on the promises of the ACS working group. If the knowledge test questions are really properly aligned with real flying knowledge and skill, a pilot in training should be all ready when they complete their flight training. (One toolkit of knowledge should be adequate for *both* tests) Historically students had to memorize a bank of arcane, largely irrelevant rote-level questions. Now it should all be just about flying and relevant knowledge….we’ll see.

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