Changes to the writtens


New Member
A few months back AOPA Flight Training magazine had an article about the FAA changing the written exams. I didn't get to finish reading it, but what little I did get out of it was that the FAA will be changing all mathmatical questions and answers and not releasing them to the public (Gleim for example) and that all answers to all non mathmatical questions will be in a different order. Does anybody know when they plan to implement this?
Can you provide a link? I never heard that one. I the FAA actually does that it will make people work a lot harder to get their ratings.
I just took the instrument written last week. Basically, all thats different is the answers are in a different order. The questions are the same. The best part about my test was it was only 50 instead of 100 since it was the CFII.
It's True... I read this as well a few months ago... can't remember which month the issue was, but here is the link "No Easy Answers", but I believe it is a member's only link... so I believe the majority of you should be able to read it... But I'll post the highlights, just in case...
Most every pilot knows that the FAA traditionally made available all of the questions that can potentially appear on the FAA knowledge tests. In turn, most aviation publishers offer test preparation books that organize the FAA questions by topic area, and conveniently list the correct answer next to each question. For some time, the FAA has questioned these practices.

The FAA's concern is that pilot applicants may be spending too much time memorizing test questions and not enough time learning the required aeronautical knowledge and skills.

"We need to distinguish between pilots who memorize questions and answers, and pilots who are learning the material," says Martin Weaver, head of the FAA's Airman Testing Standards Branch in Oklahoma City, the branch of the agency that creates and oversees knowledge tests as well as practical tests. "A safe pilot is a master of the subject matter, not a regurgitator of information."

How did the FAA come to suspect that there might be a problem with the tests? It turns out that the computers that we use to take our FAA tests are capable of recording the amount of time that we require to complete our tests. "We've had cases of applicants completing the private pilot knowledge test in as little as two minutes," Weaver said. This wasn't the work of just one super-genius; there were many instances of applicants finishing the test in less time than it would take a mere mortal to even read the questions. The same two minutes were the fastest completion times for the instrument airplane test, as well. Even the high-flying airline transport pilot test saw some speed demons crossing the finish line in 10 minutes. Test-takers routinely answer the lengthy cross-country flight planning, aircraft performance, and weight-and-balance problems in as little as five seconds!

Observations like these prompted the FAA to make some changes to the tests.


When you walk in to take your next pilot knowledge test, you're going to notice two changes that were implemented by the FAA in July.

The first difference is that the answer choices for each question will be shuffled-what was answer choice A in the test prep books might be answer choice C on your test. This change is aimed at eliminating the possibility of using simple memorization tactics that associate letters with questions. For example, there's a private pilot cross-country flight planning question that starts at Addison Airport. The answer to the question has traditionally been letter A-A for Addison. No E6B flight computer needed for that one!

The second (and more striking) difference concerns the "math" type questions: those that ask you to perform flight-planning, performance, or weight-and-balance calculations. The FAA now will only release one or two examples of each type of question that can appear on the test. For example, consider a flight-planning question that requires you to use a sectional chart to perform a time en route calculation between two airports. Your test will contain a question of this type, but one that will require you to perform the same calculation using different airports on a different sectional chart. If you know how to do the calculation, rest assured-you won't have any problem answering the new questions. You just won't have the opportunity to see the questions in advance.

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Not incredibly big changes... but changes nontheless... Most likely you won't notice the changes unless you simply memorized the Gleim versus studying it.

Talk amongst yourselves...
No biggie. I used the Gleim to gauge how well I knew the material, not to memorize the questions, and worked all the math problems out anyway.
Something tells me it won't take long for Gleim to get ahold of the 'new' questions anyways...

Even then, if you're smart enough to memorize every single problem and it's answer, you're smart enough to just learn how to do it in the first place.
Thanks for the responses and link to the artical! I too use the Gleim to gauge my knowledge and as a learning tool. I think it is inevitable that the answers are memorized on the questions that may have stummped you the first time around and you have to do some reseach it to understand the question&answer correctly, especially if it takes two days to figure one question out !! HA

Thanks Again
I took my instrument and CFII writtens today and noticed a few things -

a) two questions were complete surprises
b) most of the answers were in different orders
c) one question didnt seem to make any sense (whats positive control space anyhow?)
d) I had the same hold entry and flight planning questions on both exams (what are the chances of that?)

But as people said above, if you studied the content as opposed to the letters, none of the changes were difficult and actually made me feel like I exhibited some knowledge.