View Full Version : PPL v. ATPL Ground Studies

Vee One...Rotate
24th Aug 2004, 18:53
Evening guys,

Quick question: in your view, how do the PPL ground exams compare with the ATPLs? As someone who is currently about to start his PPL and hoping to be at the ATPL stage not long after that, I'd be interested to know.

Of course, I know there's more of them, more material and (no doubt) more detail but any personal observations from those who have done/are doing both would be interesting.

Cheers chaps/chapesses,



oxford blue
24th Aug 2004, 20:38
Frankly, the level of actual academic ability is pretty similar. It may sound unlikely, but both require about GCSE level in maths and physics and they are not very different in that respect.

The big difference is just the sheer amount that you are expected to learn at ATPL level. Most people, even if they are not very good, manage to hack the PPL merely by learning all the answers off by heart. You go out and buy the 'PPL Confuser' and just get down to it.

You can't do that with the ATPL. Not because it's more difficult - it isn't, much. It's simply that there's too much to learn off by heart and, actually, it turns out to be really easier to understand and work it out for yourself than learn it parrot-fashion. That requires that you actually have to understand it.

It's a hard lesson and some people never learn it. They then post on pprune moaning that "the feedback let them down".

Vee One...Rotate
24th Aug 2004, 21:17
Thanks oxford blue. I've just finished a physics degree and it was very similar in that there tended to be a lot of material (think formulae :( ) - it was far easier to really understand the concept then (hopefully) the detail would come out of that understanding with a little bit of graft.

Cheers for your reply, very illuminating.


25th Aug 2004, 07:54
I have just sat 8 out of the 14 exams and failed two.
I would say that they are difficult but not impossible.

The fact I failed any was most likely down to the volume of stuff I pushed into my tiny brain which in turn obviously pushed more out that I would of hoped, it also did not help working full time, but on a positive side I still bagged six and the other two will also be in the bag soon.

If you have the time, commitment & desire these exams can be achieved.

Good Luck

25th Aug 2004, 09:15
I agree with Oxford Blue's reply in general, but it's also worth adding that understanding the material doesn't work for all subjects. Air Law and Operation Procedures, for example, are two exams which can only be passed by learning the answers to the questions.

What this means is that most candidates will either struggle with the more technical exams, or they'll struggle with the memory exams, depending on whether they are better at understanding or memorising. I fell firmly into the latter category - I've always been good at understanding things, and had no problem with the technical exams, but I really struggled with Air Law and Ops Procs. Plenty of people on my course had similar problems, while other people had no problem with these exams but couldn't do the technical ones.


High Wing Drifter
25th Aug 2004, 09:26
In short and in solation the ATPLS are not difficult. As stated, it is the quantity that can be a problem. However, the danger subjects are Met and Gen Nav.

Met (and to a much lesser degree Principles of Flight) is just fuzzy logic and isn't feedback friendly simply because you have to consider the combined effects of several factors and then choose the best answer as there are usually several correct ones!!

The key to Gen Nav, from my experience, isn't brains but how quickly and accurately you can use the whizz-wheel.

The next biggest problem is reading the question properly :uhoh:

You'll be fine. Good luck :ok:

Vee One...Rotate
25th Aug 2004, 18:29
Thanks for all of the replies :)


25th Aug 2004, 19:23
Beg to differ about Principles of Flight being \'fuzzy\'. Aerodynamics as required at ATPL level are not fuzzy at all.

However the construction of the questions asked by the JAR examiners is a different matter...

High Wing Drifter
26th Aug 2004, 06:19
I didn't mean "fuzzy" but "fuzzy logic" where several factors have to be considered for you to choose the best of the available answers when more than one maybe technically correct.

If anything deserves the isolated "fuzzy" label than I nominate Performance :8

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