Frequently asked questions about preparing for the FAA knowledge exam for the sport pilot airman certificate to fly weight-shift control aircraft (LSA) trikes.
What do I have to do to take the FAA knowledge exam?
You can do a home study, take a class or have your instructor prepare you for the FAA knowledge (written/computer multiple choice) exam. You need a recommendation from an instructor to take the knowledge exam and this can be done online also with the Prepware CD software.
When I take my knowledge exam, will I be familiar with all the questions, or will there be new questions I haven’t seen before?
There will be new questions. The FAA only releases some of the questions from their large question bank. You should know the information well enough to truly answer all questions…not just memorize the answers to the questions you’ve studied. You study the reason and the logic for the answers to understand the concepts.
When should I take the FAA Knowledge Exam?
The knowledge exam can be taken anytime before the final step of taking the practical test/checkride and obtaining the sport pilot certificate. It can be taken before, during or after your flight instruction. It can be taken before you ever see any flight instructor if you want. However, once you pass the knowledge exam you must take the practical test/checkride within two years or it must be taken again.
There are different opinions of when the best time is to take the knowledge test. For accelerated flight training courses, “get your sport pilot license in two weeks”, it should be taken and passed before you start this intense flight training course so you can focus on the flight training. Some want to take it before seeing a flight instructor so they have a leg up, this is OK also. Some instructors/students want to provide/gain the knowledge during the flight training with parallel ground schools, and take it just before the checkride. Any of these options is good, it depends on the instructor curriculum and students style.
I heard that there were some helicopter, airplane, and powered parachute questions on the trike knowledge exam?
Yes there may be a problem with non relevant questions getting mixed up on the tests. This does happen. If it does just answer the question as best you can. Usually, if you are prepared, this is only a frustration and not the end of the world. However, if you failed the test by only one of two questions and there were non relevant questions on the exam, this can be contested and corrected if you contact the testing centers and provide a reasonable complaint.
How do I make sure to pass the knowledge exam first time?
Use the ASA SPORT PILOT PREPWARE to practice the tests and get a minimum of 90% on three practice tests. There have been no known failures of the knowledge test using this formula. Typically with this formula (three times with 90%) you may score as low as 80%, a safe margin above the 70% minimum required to pass the test.
If I have a low score on the knowledge exam, does the does the examiner for the practical test question my ability to be a pilot?
The knowledge exam is a pass or fail. However, examiners like to see higher scores because they know you studied hard and/or know the material well. However if you know the material it is not an issue.
What do I do about the questions I missed on the knowledge test?
First, the instructor who recommended you for the practical test must provide a “Sport Pilot Knowledge test deficiencies reconciliation” endorsement in your logbook, specifically:
- I certify that (First name, MI, Last name) has received the required training and demonstrated satisfactory knowledge of deficient areas from the Sport Pilot knowledge test as required per §§ 61.39 for the practical test.
- J. J. Jones, 12-25-2004 J. J. Jones 610610CFI 12-06
(this endorsement can also be done on the knowledge test itself in place of the logbook endorsement)
Second, the examiner my look at the knowledge test questions missed and add additional questions during the checkride for the areas missed (weak areas) on the knowledge test. Make sure you study the subject areas missed on the knowledge test for your checkride.
How do I study the subject areas I missed on the knowledge exam?
On the Knowledge Exam official “Computer Test Report” you receive at the testing center when you complete your knowledge test, there are “Learning Codes” listed on the document such as PLT012, PLT 161, etc. These are the general knowledge areas to study. And the FAA provides the general areas for these codes in the Learning Statement Reference Guide for Airman Knowledge Testing.
The ASA SPORT PILOT PREPWARE also have these test codes plus a reference to the specific questions on the test that corilate to the questions missed. Many times there are more than one question for each knowledge area to study the missed subject area.