EASA ATPL Theory: The Exams are done!

Today was The Day! I passed all the rest of the EASA ATPL theoretical exams. All 14 exams are done! I am so excited about it! I remember my university master’s degree thesis, when I was studying days and nights during some months to get it done.

It took about 7 months, countless sleepless nights, hundreds of studying hours, one trip to Poland and three trips to Czech Republic, and some grey hairs.

Was it challenging? Absolutely. I did not even imagine that it would be that hard. Probably I would have taken a time off from work for that period if I knew that. But I do need money for further practical part, so I kept working too.

At some moments I even wanted to drop it (and who did not?), but in that case I would have started from scratch. I know and I always knew that I need it to be done. I had The Aim.

It was the most difficult part so far. The subjects are interesting, but under that pressure it could be a little demotivating. You should study whatever you feel, whatever happens. Every day except Monday you should take a test. Three attempts with less than 75% result is a fail. One minute after midnight submission is a fail. Three failed tests is a course fail with no-refund. You should really take it serious.

I was studying during commuting in subway, during my meals, during my weekends with parents, before work, after work, in the washroom – in any available moment. And that lasted 6 months. I had similar experience during my university exams preparation, but that usually lasted no more than 2 weeks for each session.

I passed all my tests. Some tests were passed from the second attempt, and mainly because of timeout – some questions remained unanswered. I submitted some tests literally 5 minutes before a deadline. But I passed everything with average result more than 90%.

I passed all my CAA exams from the first attempt too with a 90% rate in average. I supposed that I would have my scores from the CAA, but actually all I have is a document confirming that I passed. I kept my records by myself, and I am kind of proud of my result 🙂

Czech Republic requires online registration for the exams. Some of them were available in June, some in July, and some only in August (for example, Meteorology).

I can say that Oxford or Bristol ATPL books are really good for preparation. Apart from that, I highly recommend using some question bank to track the progress. It does not really matter which one (BGS Online, AviationExam or ATPL Questions), but I prefer AviationExam due to the best UI, large database, nice detailed explanation and large community. Of course the real exam differs, but if you know the subject and understand it, it should not be a problem.

Now I am going to describe my last session.

Meteorology

84 questions, 2 hours, my result is 93%. I found some strange question like ‘setting altimeter subscale to msl/zero elevation’. I know about altimeter subscales, but the formulation was very ambiguous.

Some questions were about ceilings, cloud base, METARs, TAFs, winds, weather maps, cold/warm fronts, true altitude computation, temperature gradients (DALR, SALR, ELR).

For me 2 hours was more than enough for the exam.

Instrumentation

60 questions, 2 hours, my result is 91%. I suppose that 2 hours is even too much, and the exam is rather easy. I remember questions about datalink, CPDLC, FMS, FMC. The rest is a piece of cake. I found even 2 almost the same questions about advisory light color.

Flight Planning and Monitoring

43 questions, 2 hours, my result is 85%. There was a thick supplementary materials book, and additionally it was the only exam where Jeppesen Airway Manual was available. There were the questions about fuel reserves, no-return points, isolated airports fuel, routes, NOTAMs, wake turbulence, equipment, charts for time and fuel for reaching the flight level. I barely made it all in time, but I really enjoyed the questions – they are very practical.

I have some additional notes, and probably I will write something more about them when I have time. Good luck with the exams for those who is on the route!