Face your DPE on your PPL checkride day with confidence because I will tell you what to study and how to prepare for the PPL oral exam.

I can tell most student pilots are anxious on their checkride day, and that’s one reason why many student pilots fail.

I will not teach you what your check pilot will ask and how to answer DPE’s questions. However, I will mention the books which have the questions your DPE may ask, likewise, the answers to any question you DPE has prepared for you.

You can carry and refer to a few of the books mentioned in this article during your PPL oral exam too. No worries, your check pilot will allow you the time to check on these books if you can’t remember a subject.

What to expect on your private pilot oral exam?

The private pilot oral exam is the verbal part of your checkride. During the oral exam, the DPE will ask you all sorts of questions to test your aeronautical knowledge.

At this stage, you would have already passed the FAA written test. If you scored more than 90% on your written test, the examiner will likely not ask you questions regarding aeronautics.

Most of the questions will be relevant to actual flying.

The DPE will focus more on your knowledge of:

  • Federal Aviation Regulations;
  • Safety procedures; and
  • Flight planning.

I can’t say that the oral examiner will only ask questions about these subjects. However, I can assure you that you will not face any questions outside the ACS.

The DPE can ask questions outside the PPL ACS, but incorrectly answering such questions will not fail your checkride.

You can be confident thinking that the DPE is satisfied with your performance and thinks highly of you. Hence the designated pilot examiner asked questions beyond the PPL ACS.

Don’t hesitate to articulate information to the DPE because you are only at the PPL stage.

Remember, a pilot can never learn everything. The best thing is to know where to look for the correct information during an urgency.

Capt. Elite.

Therefore you must always carry particular books, and student pilots and examinees can take specific books to their exam.

Which books can you take to your private pilot oral exam?

I already mentioned you could carry a couple of books to your PPL oral exam.

There are two classic books you can refer to during your oral exam. Your DPE will ask questions, and if you think you need to check the information in your book to verify whether the answer is correct or not, your DPE will give you the time to do so.

By doing so, you will not disappoint your DPE. The DPE will think you are a safer pilot and want to know what you must do precisely.

The two books are:

  • FAR/AIM;
  • Airmen Certification Standards.


This book by the FAA contains every detail on Federal Aviation Regulation and maintaining air safety.

The answers to the most basic questions such as:

  • What is the validity of a private pilot license?;
  • How many passengers can you carry with a PPL?;
  • What documents must you have as a pilot in command of an aircraft?;
  • When should you do recurrency training as a private pilot?;
  • What are airworthiness certificates and their validity?

These are the most common questions your DPE will ask, and as a student pilot, you already know the answers to these questions.

However, there are more uncommon questions you might need to verify the correct answer, and you can refer to your FAR/AIM book.

If you are hesitant about a correct answer, you must check in your FAR/AIM book to find the correct answer.

Regardless, don’t spend too much time looking for the correct answer.

Use bookmarks on your book so that you can find the answer to a question at once.

Hence it is essential to study the FAR/AIM book. Similarly, to create bookmarks in your FAR/AIM, you can use the ACS.

How to use the ACS?

The Airman Certification Standards has all the information you must know as a private pilot. This book tells you what a private pilot must learn to conduct safe flights. Many answers to the information in the ACS are available in FAR/AIM. Use the ACS as a Syllabus for your Oral Exam study.

You are not obliged to learn more than what ACS indicates for the private pilot license.

Your DPE might ask you things outside ACS, but you will know the question is beyond your stage if you study using the ACS.

You can either have a free version of ACS on your iPad/tablet or purchase an Airman Certification Standards book.

I always keep a hard copy of the book with me if my tablet runs out of battery or has any trouble.

What to study for your PPL oral exam?

By now, you already know what to study to prepare for your oral exam.

But that’s not all. There is a quick study guide to learn the questions DPE typically asks student pilots during the PPl oral exam.

Knowing the questions and practice answering the questions can boost your confidence.

People always fear the unknown. Many student pilots fail their oral exams due to a lack of confidence. You can only imagine how confident can you be during your PPL oral exam if you can only know what type of questions the DPE has in their mind.

To learn the questions and answer to the DPE’s satisfaction, you can use a little book PPL oral exam guide.

PPL oral exam guide is a book to familiarize yourself with the DPE’s expectations. Don’t memorize the questions and the answers. Use this book to practice answering and know the possibilities of passing your PPL oral exam.