Instrument Written Exam Passed!
Locked my self in Starbucks for 9 hours of straight studying today and then rushed over to the airport to write and pass my instrument training written exam today – with a score of 90%! The crazy thing is that I am not sure tonight I have all that much more knowledge and skill for instrument flying than I did last night, but I was able to cram and fill my short term memory with the exam material and master the test.
As a bit of background, the FAA has produced a series of 950+ multiple choice exam questions and has provided the question database to flight schools and exam prep software companies and they have built training materials – which I used today. The official exam is then composed of 60 random questions from the question bank. The exam then becomes an interesting mix of knowledge recall and exam preparation.
For today’s exam I used a different training software than I used for my private pilot written exam and I spent more time researching the study tips and reviewing the questions bank by reading the question and then preparing my response and then reading only the correct multiple choice answer. I found this particular strategy to be quite effective because it was able to mix my recall of the knowledge with familiarization with the wording and style of correct response that the exam was looking for. I’ll also admit that the training materials taught a few rote memorization tricks for a few of the longer questions that were rather obscure and having those in hand proved very effective.
Although the training materials did also provide practice exams, I elected this time to avoid taking any prior to the actual exam so as to keep myself focused on the content knowledge and memory recall of only the correct responses without getting distracted with strategically designed multiple choice options.
When the exam began I quickly found myself a bit distracted because the very first question was worded slightly differently from the question bank so I decided it was best to skip it over and continue on to build confidence and momentum. The testing software itself made it really easy to jump around and even mark questions for later review – I did this on about 15 questions and then returned to give them more scrutiny.
My last strategy was once I had answered all questions to return to the start of the exam and carefully reread every question and answer and it was in doing so that I picked up on a few silly mistakes which I was glad I returned for.
While some might question the effectiveness of this style of testing, by providing students with a question bank, after today’s experience I was pretty intrigued to see how it was truly a combination of recall and memorization required. Both skills very relevant to the daily activities of a flying pilot.
Next step is the instrument oral examination followed immediately by the flight exam, hopefully scheduled for Tuesday the 24th, a little over a week from now.
Driving out of the airport, I was treated with an excellent display of aviation eye candy as further incentive to keep pushing forward…
I had no doubt you’d pass.