Acing the FAA private pilot written exam is easy for student pilots, if they follow a step by step guide.

I passed my PPL exam with over 90% score and I followed these exact steps.

I shared the two books I consider adequate for passing the FAA knowledge test. Similarly, an essential online course that will prepare student pilots for any kind of questions in the written exam.

If passing the test is your only concern: Then all you need is the Gleims Test prep.

Nevertheless, if you intend to be a competent pilot and fly safely with your family and friends: You need a combination of an online pilot ground school course with a couple of books.

I divided the article into several sections:

  1. Books that you need to familiarize with the FAA questionnaire;
  2. Online ground school course to prepare for all types of questions;
  3. A Step by Step guide to follow and study for the exam;
  4. Tips on taking the exam for better chances of scoring high.

The only books you need to study for the private pilot written exam.

Anyone training for a private pilot license knows about Jeppesen private pilot manual.

Without a doubt, this book is excellent for learning the fundamentals of flying.

Thus, most of us don’t know about the Private Pilot handbook by Rod Machado.

Purchasing any one of these books is great for student pilots. So which book will you buy?

  • Aeronautical subjects are overwhelming in the beginning, and learning from a book like Jeppesen can be difficult;
  • Rod Machado’s private pilot handbook is written in an understandable and transparent language.

There is another book crucial to study for the FAA private pilot written exam:

No one can memorize a whole book but they can grasp the facts. Either you read the Jeppesen private pilot manual or Rod Machado’s private pilot handbook, you will need the Gleim’s test prep to familiarize yourself with the type questions FAA will throw at your written exam.

Use this book to practice answering questions that you will see in your FAA knowledge test.

You will not find the same questions and answers today, but you will pass the exam.

As a student pilot:

I memorized all the questions and answers from the Gleim’s test prep and passed the exam with 90%+ marks.

Fortunately, during my private pilot written test, I had the same questions from the Gleim’s Test prep and the same answers to select.

Today it’s more competitive and to test a pilot’s aeronautical knowledge, FAA modifies the questionnaire.

The questions are relevant to what you studied in Geim’s test prep and some questions are just fresh.

Failure to understand a topic, you may fail your private pilot knowledge test.

Therefore, to understand and master aeronautical subjects, online pilot courses are essential.

Which online course to pick?

Physical ground school is not a requirement for the private pilot knowledge test.

Hence, online ground school is a better option to prepare for the FAA private pilot knowledge test.

My preferred online pilot course is:

Why do I suggest Rod Machado’s online course for student pilots?

Memorizing all the questions using the Gleim’s test prep will help you pass the exam. Yet understanding the subject in depth will make all the difference.

If you understand each subject precisely, you will be ready for the unknown.

Similarly, you will be a competent and safer pilot.

And that is exactly what Rod Machado’s eLearning will do for you.

This eLearning course with Rod Machado’s PPL handbook and Gleim’s test prep is a powerful combination to pass the FAA knowledge test with ease.

RELATED: Online ground school vs. Classroom.

Step by Step guide to study for the private pilot written exam.

Most important is to set a deadline. Select a date on which you will take your FAA private pilot knowledge test.

The best practice is to set a date for three months from now.

Two months is adequate for any student pilot to prepare for the private pilot knowledge test.

The steps described in this article is not only to pass your exams with a 70% mark. Follow the instructions, and you will pass the exam with a 90%+ mark.

STEP 1: Buy only the books necessary.

The common mistake of student pilots is they buy many unnecessary books. Student pilots deem they have to study a lot to pass the FAA private pilot knowledge test.

And most of the time they buy books that they never read.

So only purchase these two books:

  • Rod Machado’s Private pilot handbook;
  • Gleim’s private pilot test prep.

STEP 2: Make a routine.

The routine must be like this:

  • Study for 2.5 hours each day;
  • Use an hour to memorize at least 20 question and answer from Gleims’s test prep;
  • Another hour to read the Rod Machado’s Handbook;
  • Watch 30 minutes of Rod Machado’s eLearning every day.

This system is just an example. You can make your routine which you think is suitable.

Gleim’s test prep is designed for student pilots to practice in MCQ style. The reason for an answer being correct is also explained next to the questions.

In case, you want to study in-depth about any topic, refer to Rod Machado’s handbook for better understanding.

STEP 3: Watch the eLearning course and use the tools for practice.

The purpose of an online ground school is to prepare you for everything.

Take your time and watch the online ground school course at your own pace.

Buy the online course by Rod Machado before buying your books. Online courses come with multiple available resources and you will get the Rod Machado’s private pilot eHandbook for FREE.

Likewise, the online course by Rod Machado comes with a practice test after each chapter. That will allow student pilots to take mock tests.

Pass all the exams and you will be eligible for an endorsement to take the FAA knowledge test.

Once you get your endorsement, you can schedule a date for taking the test in the FAA.

Tips for taking the written exam.

The FAA private pilot written exam is not different from any other exam.

However, it’s common to see private pilot trainees of all ages and many of them are taking exam after years.

Thus following these tips is crucial for student pilots of all ages:

  • Remember that the FAA private pilot knowledge test has 60 multiple-choice questions;
  • Each question has three choices;
  • The duration of the exam is 2.5 hours, and you have 2.5 minutes to answer each question correctly.

Prepare well for the exam and be smart while taking the exam.

If you followed the steps I describe in this article, you will indeed find many familiar questions in the FAA knowledge test.

  1. Don’t spend time on the questions you can’t answer;
  2. Finish answering the questions that you find easy;
  3. Then come back to the difficult questions.

To answer the questions you know, will consume less time. You will have extra time to think and answer the difficult ones.

Follow my instructions, and you will find no questions difficult. Even for the most unfamiliar question, you can analyze and answer.

Typically, out of three questions, there is always one choice that you can immediately eliminate.

Eliminate the most obvious wrong choice, and you will be left with two choices.


You may wonder: Why do you need to pass the exam with a better score?

Once a student pilot passes the FAA private pilot written exam with excellent scores, the check ride becomes easier for the pilot.

There are two reasons for that:

  1. You have adequate knowledge on aeronautical subjects, and can answer check pilot’s question quickly;
  2. Likewise, when the check pilot sees your excellent score in the written exam, they avoid asking too many questions.

If you follow all the instructions in this guide, you will not only ace your written exam but you will be overall a better pilot.