2006 (Change 1, February 2016)
Flight Standards Service
Knowledge Tests
Communication between individuals through the use of words is a complicated process. In addition to being an exercise in the application and use of aeronautical knowledge, a knowledge test is also an exercise in communication since it involves the use of written language. Since the tests involve written rather than spoken words, communication between the test writer and the person being tested may become a difficult matter if both parties do not exercise care. For this reason, considerable effort is expended to write each question in a clear, precise manner.

Preparing to Study for the Knowledge Test
Your instructor will direct you to the textbooks and other sources of training and testing materials that are available from the FAA's Airman Testing website.

Your instructor may use commercial publications as a source of study materials, and these materials may be desirable, especially for aircraft categories where government materials are limited.

Study Materials
The FAA develops and makes available to the public various sources of aeronautical information. Some of this information is free; other information is available at a nominal cost. Of particular interest and value to those persons getting started in flying are:
FAA-H-8083-27A, Student Pilot Guide;
FAA-H-8083-3, Airplane Flying Handbook;
FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge;
Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM);
and Practical Test Standards (PTSs).
In addition, many aviation publications are available from commercial sources.

Suggested Study Materials
*NOTE: The Airplane related Books that are available for Free Download on our website link to the PDF files:
.14 CFR parts 1, 61, 67, and 91
.Aeronautical Information Manual
.AC 00-6, Aviation Weather
.AC 00-45, Aviation Weather Services
.FAA-H-8083-1, Pilot’s Weight and Balance
.FAA-H-8083-3, Airplane Flying Handbook
.FAA-H-8083-11, Balloon Flying Handbook
.FAA-H-8083-13, Glider Flying Handbook
.FAA-H-8083-21, Rotorcraft Flying Handbook
.FAA-H-8083-25, Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
.FAA-S-8081-3, Recreational Pilot Practical Test Standards
.FAA-S-8081-14, Private Pilot Practical Test Standards (Airplane) *NOTE: Superseeded by the ACS (June 2016)
.FAA-S-8081-29, Sport Pilot Practical Test Standards (Airplane, Gyroplane, Glider and Flight Instructor)
.FAA-S-8081-30, Sport Pilot Practical Test Standards (Airship, Balloon, and Flight Instructor)
.FAA-S-8081-31, Sport Pilot Practical Test Standards (Weight Shift Control, Powered Parachute, and Flight Instructor)
.FAA-S-8081-32, Private Pilot Practical Test Standards (Powered Parachute and Weight Shift Control)

How to Obtain Study Materials
The current Flight Standards Service airman training and testing material and questions banks for all airman certificates and ratings can be obtained from the FAA's Airman Testing website.

A listing of all current Advisory Circulars is available on the FAA's website.

The Airport/Facility Directory and Aeronautical Charts are available on the FAA's website.

*NOTE: The Airport/Facility Directory has been renamed the Digital - Chart Supplement (d-CS), and can be found:

The National Transportation Safety Board Regulation part 830 is available on the U.S. Government Printing Office's website at

Most airport fixed base operators and flight schools carry a variety of Government publications and charts, as well as commercially published materials.

How to Study for the Knowledge Test
You should follow your instructor's advice on what and when to study. You should recognize the advantages of planning a definite study program and following it as closely as possible. Haphazard or disorganized study habits usually result in an unsatisfactory score on the knowledge test.

The ideal study program is to enroll in a formal ground school course. This offers the advantages of a school with professional instructors, as well as facilities and training aids designed for pilot instruction. Many of these schools use audiovisual aids to supplement classroom instruction or provide individual computer-based instruction.

For the applicant who is unable to attend a school, the self-study method can be satisfactory, provided the proper study materials are obtained, and a reasonable amount of time is devoted to study. The applicant should establish realistic periodic goals, and equally important, a target date for completion. Self-discipline is important because it is too easy to "put off" the study period for some other activity.

Study Habits
The use of a training syllabus is an effective way for the flight instructor to lead you through the proper steps in learning to fly safely.

When beginning flight training, the development of good study habits includes the practice of visualizing the flight instructor's explanation plus those of the textbook.
Study habits should include time spent with cockpit familiarization. This includes reviewing checklists, identifying controls, and learning the cockpit arrangement.

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Table of Contents - Back to introduction

Role of the FAA
Flight Standards District Office (FSDO)

Page 3 Choosing a Flight School
The Role of the Instructor
What Flight Training Requires
Instructor and Student Relationship
Medical Requirements
Knowledge Tests
Preparing to Study for the Knowledge Test
Study Materials
Suggested Study Materials
How to Obtain Study Materials
How to Study for the Knowledge Test
Study Habits

When to Take the Knowledge Test
Where to Take the Knowledge Test
The Knowledge Test Content and Format
Practical Test Standards
Most Frequently Asked Questions
General Questions
Student Pilot Flight Training
Student Pilot Requirements: Medical and Student Pilot Certificates
Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot Knowledge Tests
Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot, and Private Pilot Practical Tests