Tips for the Commercial Written


Well-Known Member
I've got my CPL written scheduled for Friday afternoon. Anyone have any study or test taking tips? How did you do on yours? How did it compare to the other writtens? Any particular questions trip you up?

I have gone over every question in the Gleim Book 3 or 4 times, most questions more than that. I'm feeling pretty confident that I can at least make a 90%, although I might slip and get careless since this one is almost twice as long as the PPL and IFR. In any event, thanks for the help!
I have to take mine soon. I have purchased FliteSchool by Jeppesen. I hate studying strictly from a book; I need lots and lots of pretty pictures and moving images.

I used this mode of studying and I did really well on the instrument.

Good luck on your exam! Remember when you go in for your exam, your name is Neil Harrison (if you plan on passing).
Any kind of computer software that simulates the real thing is a great help when I take my tests.
How many questions are on the CAX test? I'm studying for it now with the King CD-rom course.
I really didn't think it was that bad. I took two ASA Prepware tests and went through the ASA test prep book (though not very thoroughly) and scored a 91.
The NDB and RMI questions were difficult for me, but there are so few of them you can memorize the answers from the Gleim book. I did this and missed none of them. If you do this remember what the correct answer says, not A, B, C, etc. The order may be different on the actual exam.

Other than that, hit the FARs hard. I studied diligently and did 5 practice tests with study sessions with the Gleim software, and made a 92. Now on to instrument...

Good luck!
Yes, the RMI and NDB questions are sort of weird, even harder than some the IFR questions.

Questions like:

"What will be the relative bearing when the aircraft crosses the XXX radial if it continues on its present heading?"


"Which isntrument shows the aircraft in a position where a 180 degree turn would result in the aircraft intercepting the 150 radial at a 30 degree angle?"

can get confusing if you don't know exactly what to do. I have found that it helps to draw everything out and make a little diagram with the airplane and station from an overhead view on these types of questions.

Thanks for all the advice and good luck wishes so far!
Cheapest and easiest way I've found is buy the Gleim, read through it thoroughly once, again only going over what you didn't know the first time through, and then once more all the way through the day before the exam. You literally have all the questions memorized when you take the test. Worked well for me on my instrument and commercial, 95/96%.

After looking at the ATP book the strategy may need some tweaking. There's no way you could read through that whole thing in one day. Or at least read through it and stay sane.
I'm working through the Gliem book for CAX right now (on Chapter 7 I believe).

I did this for my IA, IGI, and FOI (can't remember what I did exactly for the PPL) but anyway I kind of skim through the outlines in each chapter. Work through the questions (using the cover) and then grade each section - on the questions I miss I underline the reason for the correct answer. The sections where I did ok I tend to skip and the ones where I didn't do so good I'll go back and look over but then I'll hit the free, online practice tests ( or ) until I'm scoring at roughly 90% consistently then I'll schedule the real test.

Got an 88 on the IA, a 94 on the IGI (go figure) and a 98 on the FOI. I'm also working on the CFII written to keep me fresh for my IA oral.
I think everyone has said it already. I watched the King Commercial video series and then did all the problems in the ASA about 4 times. That got me a 96 on the written. You should be fine if you've gone through the Gleim.
I'm working on the CFI written right now and it seems to be the toughest one so far....mostly because there is more interpolation on the tables.
Thanks for those websites Pilot602. I just took a practice test on one of them and made a 91, but I think a few of the questions that I missed weren't in the gleim so maybe they're using a bit of an older pool.

I can never seem to remember what exactly the surface analysis chart depicts and what wind speeds hatching on a constant pressure analysis chart indicate. The weather questions seemed to be my weakest so I'll brush up on that.
No problem. I think webexams is a little more current than faa-test but they're free so who am I to complain.

Some of the questions the FAA asks are just outright dumb - but ya gotta answer 'em.

What bugs me is for all the harping the FAA does on safety it absoloutely amazes me that there are so many different abbreviations on WX charts. Oh well ...
for all the harping the FAA does on safety it absoloutely amazes me that there are so many different abbreviations on WX charts...

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Roger that! What amazes ME is that we're STILL using the old teletype abreviations when it's not necessary anymore.

Not in the least.

With today's technology, it's easier to print out the full text, thus alleviating the room for error and GUESS-WORK that exists now while trying to decifer the teletype codes.

What it boils down to is that the FAA won't spend the $$ to update that system because I'm sure it WILL be expensive.... so, we are forced to learn 4 or 5 different types of code to decifer the same thing.

Ahhh - beurochracy.
hey pilot 602-- did you get those helicopter questions when you took your igi? I had like three in the beginning and thought I had the wrong test?!?!?!?
In my opinion, Gleim is the cheapest and best way to go. Lets face it, you really arent learning anything by taking these tests, its pure rote memorization. Ive taken all of my checkrides through MEI and have passed all of them 1st try except my instrument on the second time. However when I took the writtens for all the ratings, I really didnt learn anything to substanial from preparing for them.
I agree. Just crack open the Gleim book. Go over each question, mark the ones you get wrong. Go over them again and again until you get them all right. Then move onto the next chapter. Do this from front to cover. Eventually you'll notice that you don't even have to look at the'll pick up keywords in the question and you'll suddenly remember a keyword in an answer. I used this method to prep for every written test, and I guarentee you will get at least 90% every time. I did buy the Gleim test prep software for the private and instrument writtens, and although found them useful, didn't really find them necessary.

However, it's all pure rote memorization, so don't think for a second that you'll breeze through the oral because you got 97 or 100% in your written.

Good luck
hey pilot 602-- did you get those helicopter questions when you took your igi?

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I got 4 or 5 helo questions on my IGI. I got them midway thru the test. Have to say I didn't really study for those.... kinda caught me offguard......
Yeah I got one or two heli questions. Didn't get any in my practice (online) which is why I think they may be a little outdated. We probably ought to send a note to Gliem and let them know the FAA tosses in a few heli questions becuase I'm pretty sure I didn't see any in the Instrument book.