How old do I have to be to take the recreational pilot or private pilot written test?
To become a licensed pilot, you must meet certain requirements. You must be at least 14 and pass a flight proficiency test. To take the test, you must know how to fly a plane safely, including knowing about weather conditions, instruments, and navigation aids. This includes having enough experience flying to recognize dangerous situations and avoid them.
You cannot fly solo unless you are at least 18 years old. For gliders, you must be at most 16 years old. Gliding requires special training, equipment, and skills. Pilots must also be able to land safely under difficult circumstances.
How should I prepare for the knowledge test?
The knowledge test is one part of the Private Pilot Knowledge Test. There are four parts to the test. Each part includes questions about the same material, but some questions focus on different aspects of that material. To pass each part, you must earn 70% or better. If you do well enough on the first three parts, you’ll automatically pass Part 4.
For each question, there’s usually a correct answer and an incorrect answer. Your score depends on how many points you earned for choosing the correct answer. Points are awarded for answering correctly on every question. Some questions require multiple correct answers to receive full credit.
You can find a list of the specific topics covered in each part here.
What document or documents must I present before taking a knowledge test?
You have to present identification that contains your photograph, signature, home address, and date of birth.
Any one of the following: a certificate of graduation from a Pilot Training Course Conducted By An FAA Approved Pilot School; 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; 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 Class; or a logbook entry by an FAA certified ground or flight instructor, verifying satisfactory completion of the required instructional hours.
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. If you failed the test, you will receive either an AC Form 8080-1, Airman Written Test Result, or an airman test report (if the exam was taken at an FAA designated computer testing center). The test report will contain the test score and will also include the subject matter codes for those areas where you did not pass.
An outline of the subject matter code is located in the Appendix of each written test book, and it will help you identify specific areas in which you need to improve. For example, if you are required to know the location of the nearest airport, you might find that you do not understand how to locate airports within a certain distance from your home base.
You may use the online version of the Airman Knowledge Test Book to review the subject matter codes. This tool allows you to view the questions that comprise the knowledge area, along with the correct answer.
If I pass the knowledge test, will I receive the same information concerning weak areas as I would if I failed the test?
Yes. If you pass the knowledge exam, you will receive the same information concerning weaknesses in your organization as you would if you had failed it. For example, even though you passed the exam, if you did poorly on one question, you could still see where you needed to improve. This way, you won’t waste time studying things you already know. You can always retake the exam later.
How long is a satisfactorily completed knowledge test valid?
A satisfactory completion of a knowledge test expiring within 24 months is considered expired. This applies even if you pass the exam again before the expiration date. However, you are allowed one additional attempt at passing the same knowledge test within those 24 months without having to retake the entire test.
If you fail to successfully complete a practical examination within that time frame, you must take another practical examination within the following 24 months. You cannot retest for the same practical examination more than once within a 12-month period.
Will my instructor review the areas in which the test report showed I was deficient?
A student asked me today about how he could know whether his instructor had reviewed the areas in which he was deficient on his exam. He wanted to know if it was necessary to ask him directly. My answer: yes, absolutely. An instructor needs to review the areas in which a student failed and either endorse the written test report, or write a letter stating that the review has been done. This is required under the rules set forth by the NAFSA: International Education Exchange (NAFSAIE).
The student should submit the request no later than 10 days following the end of the term. If the instructor does not respond within 30 days, the student should contact the director of international programs or dean of students.