Maneuvers Special Topics

The knowledge test

Before you can take the practical test, sometimes called the flight test, for a pilot certificate you must pass an FAA knowledge test. Knowledge tests are also required for some advanced pilot ratings. The computer-based test for the private pilot certificate includes 60 questions, and you have two and a half hours to answer them; a score of 70 percent or better is passing.

Preparing for the test

While many flight schools offer formal ground school classes, that’s not your only option for learning about the topics covered in the test. You can choose from a wide variety of books, videos, and computer training programs to help you prepare; consider your learning style as you decide the best approach.
In addition to the numerous study guides and resources available for purchase, the FAA's test guide provides an overview of the process and offers some tips for taking the knowledge test. You can also view sample questions from the knowledge test; these are representative of questions asked in the test but are not necessarily actual test questions. The FAA also provides answers to frequently asked questions about the process here.

Taking the test

Tests are administered at authorized testing centers by Computer Assisted Testing Service (CATS) (1-800-947-4228) and PSI/LaserGrade Computer Testing (1-800-211-2753); CATS offers a discount for AOPA members. You can find an FAA-approved testing center near you in the FAA's Airman Knowledge Testing Center List, available as a PDF. When you go to take your test, make sure you have a certificate of graduation issued by an FAA certificated pilot school or an endorsement from an instructor in your logbook.

After the test

After you complete your test, you’ll receive a report that includes your score and the Learning Statement Codes of the questions that you answered incorrectly. You should review each code and use it to retrain on any missed subjects; the examiner will re-test these subjects on your practical test. Hold on to the original report with an embossed seal; you must present it at your practical test.