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The ATPLS are over!

At long last, the ATPL is over. On Thursday 19 November, I received my last set of results for the two exams I had to resit; Instrumentation and Meteorology, and I passed both of them with 87% and 90% respectively. Working out my average from all of the fourteen exams, I am sitting on 90%.

Both exams seemed to get well when I sat them and I completed the Instrumentation exam in about 45 minutes, despite being allowed 1 hour 30 minutes, and I completed the Meteorology exam in about an hour with 2 hours 30 minutes being permitted. You can often judge your own performance in an exam by seeing how many questions are unanswered after passing through the exam once and with few blank spaces on the answer sheet, I was satisfied that I had done enough to pass both tests, with seven to eight questions on both papers having not been answered.

Although some people might disagree with me, I am convinced that it would be near-impossible to complete all of the fourteen exams without a practice question bank e.g. Bristol Ground School’s ATPonline, which was a huge help. Somehow, Bristol Ground School appears to have access to the official Civil Aviation Authority question bank, and so, studying and preparing for all of the exams is straightforward. At £50.00 (or €72.00) for a 90-day subscription, it might not appear fantastic value, but when you consider that the cost of an exam in Florida is £86.00 a time, it makes sense to purchase and to take advantage of this great service. By not spending the money on the question bank, you risk wasting money on future resits and also risk using up all of your sittings and jeopardising the ATPL. Students shouldn’t rely on memorising the questions though. The CAA have been full of surprises over the past months and have put all sorts of new questions into the exams. October’s Radio Navigation exam was tough and a lot of students were caught out by the many new questions. I came away convinced that I had failed, but managed to scrape through with 80%.

Just like with my flight training, I studied for my ATPLs at Orlando Flight Training in Kissimmee, Florida. The ground school last for six months and required students to be in the classroom from 8.30am to 5.00pm every day, but it was enjoyable, the instructors were all very knowledgeable and each of them had relevant experience in the industry, and nothing was too much bother for any of them. If you found yourself struggling with anything, they were always prepared to put in the extra time to get you through the exams. For each of the fourteen subjects, progress tests took place on a fortnightly basis (three in total) and then all students would be required to pass three end of course tests during the final week of each module before being allowed to sit the real exam. For anybody looking for somewhere to study for their ATPLs, I would highly recommend Orlando Flight Training.

The ATPL was always the biggest hurdle for me. It’s hard work, requires hundreds (possibly even thousands) of hours of study, but the feeling when you have passed every exam is a good one!

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