FAA Written Test Taking Tips
Multiple choice FAA Knowledge Exams can be tough. Don’t make them even tougher by using poor test taking techniques. Give yourself the best shot at success by utilizing the following tips:
1. Bring a magnifying glass.
Several of the test questions will require you to refer to a given figure. Unfortunately, many of these figures are outdated and hard to read. Therefore, a magnifying glass can be very beneficial.
2. Write down any known formulas or helpful information immediately.
After a lot of studying, some of your knowledge might feel a little “crammed.” Therefore, as soon as you sit down at your testing station, it’s a good idea to write down any useful formulas or notes that may be trying to escape your short term memory. This will also reduce the stress of trying to recall such information when the time comes.
3. Read the question carefully.
Many questions are missed simply because of careless reading. So be sure to read each question slowly, thoughtfully, and even multiple times. Another recommended technique is to read the question aloud to yourself so that your ears hear it too. All of this will help to ensure that you fully understand the question before considering any answers.
4. Answer the question in your mind before reading the answer choices.
After reading the question carefully as discussed above, try to come up with a correct response on your own before reading the answer choices. As a result, you’ll be more likely to recognize the right answer when you see it. Additionally, the other answer choices will be less likely to throw you off track. If the question refers you to a figure, try to predetermine the specific information you need before even looking at the figure.
5. Read all of the answer choices before choosing one.
Remember that you’re looking for the best answer, not just a correct one. Two answers might be technically right, but one might be more specific or complete. Therefore, it’s important to read each and every answer choice just as carefully as you would read the question.
6. Eliminate the wrong answer choices.
If you don’t know the right answer, try to determine which ones are wrong instead. With FAA Written Tests, there will only be three given answer choices. Therefore, even if you can only eliminate one wrong answer, you have increased your odds to 50-50 – and that’s better than any game you’ll find in a Las Vegas casino.
7. Pick the answer you know to be correct or at least the one that doesn’t “feel” wrong.
If you absolutely know the correct answer, just select it and move on to the next question. However, when you’re just not sure, try vividly imagining each choice as being correct. This often results in one or more of the answer choices just not feeling right. Trust this gut feeling and it can serve you well.
8. Avoid spending too much time on any single question.
Remember that all of the test questions are weighted equally. Therefore, if you get stumped, skip the question and come back to it later. Likewise, if it’s a question that you already know will take a lot of time to solve, you may want to save it until the end anyway. If you’re running short on time, be sure to use our guessing techniques mentioned below.
9. Answer ALL of the questions.
For FAA Knowledge Tests, there is no penalty for guessing. In other words, a wrong answer will cost you just as much as a question that is not answered at all. So at least give yourself a fighting chance by making sure that ALL the questions get answered. Remember that a simple guess still gives you a 1 in 3 chance of being right while a question left unanswered gives you no chance at all.
10. Do all math calculations at least twice.
Some of the test questions may require one or more math calculations. Even for something simple, always be sure to double-check your arithmetic with an electronic calculator to avoid possible mistakes.
11. Take regular breaks.
Sitting at a desk for two hours or more can be fatiguing – especially during periods of prolonged concentration. Therefore, be sure to give yourself a one or two minute break every 30 minutes or so to help yourself stay sharp. We recommend things such as standing up, stretching, and/or taking a drink of water.
Bonus Tip: Know how to guess effectively.
If all else fails, you need to have an effective guessing strategy. For multiple choice tests in general, research has shown the following statements to be true more often than not:
- Answer choices that use absolutes such as “always” or “never” are less likely to be correct.
- The longest answer choice is often the correct one.
- Answer choices that are funny and would otherwise make you laugh are usually wrong.
- When making an educated guess, your first choice is usually the right one.