View Full Version : bristol ground school?

24th Aug 2007, 19:12
Searching for a distance learning school for atpls. Bristol appear to offer a comprehensive package. Any opinions or advice? Could i rely on computer based learning totally, or are the books still going to need devoured? If aimed for first 8 exams after 6 months how much study can i expect to need per week? Vague last question i know!

24th Aug 2007, 20:29
After researching for a good length of time, I decided to go for Bristol, (a) because I was planning on doing Distance Learning and (b) because their material seemed to be well presented, being recommended by other pilots and students obtaining high passes!

It's not easy doing the study along side a job, I need to push myself a bit maybe. The whole course comes on CD and also in many books. I tend to read the books first, then use both after I re-read through bits.
You do tests on the PC and the results are then submitted to the college.

Are you looking at doing full time study on a distance learning course?

24th Aug 2007, 20:45
Having just done BGS it really is an excellent place to go. Even the surroundings (i.e village etc)are superb. The OLQB is second to none and the instruction is fantastic. Yes you may pay more than other schools but bear in mind that other schols students use our questionbank. Would I go to BGS again YES, if only to listen to Toms stories which incidentally are worth a novel. Top and bottom get yourself there

24th Aug 2007, 23:40
cirrus clouds.
distance learning. all arrows point to bristol for me on this. there web site even makes it all look exciting to do!

24th Aug 2007, 23:44
trawled threads on pprune and struggle to find many bad words for bristol. atpls are one and only target right now so....

24th Aug 2007, 23:48
Same as above really.

Never heard a bad word about Bristol.GS, they always seem to get mentioned as the place to go.

25th Aug 2007, 00:04
BGS are fantastic. Good material to learn from, instructors are all great guys who really know the subjects inside out.

25th Aug 2007, 08:28
thanks for comments. opinion seems unanimous!

25th Aug 2007, 09:11
will be distance learning for me. would give myself a realistic target of next spring to be hopefully through the exams. i work a lot of hours and need to continue to do so.

25th Aug 2007, 10:14
OHH the legendary Tom his stories worth a best seller novel.....Bristol excelent instructio.

Continental Drifter
25th Aug 2007, 10:16
After a lot of deliberation I went to Bristol Ground School and found them to be superb. The course material, CD rom, question bank, and quality of instruction is second to none. I work full time, married, new baby etc but just received my mod 2 results yesterday and averaged 95%(!)
If you put in the work - they will get you through it - especially bringing everything together with the intense two week 'brush-up' course in Cheddar just before the exams. There's also a high level of support from other students through BGS's own forum.
That's my opinion mate - I wouldn't hesitate - good luck with whatever you decide.

25th Aug 2007, 10:18
I compared all the groundschool courses that are about from the many colleges. A few of the colleges use quite basic material and the presenation wasn't great. If your doing a full time residential course, then possibly it doesn't matter.
I personally was after colour rather than black and white, txt easy to read, rather than the style of reading a newspaper.
Atlantic Flight Training did have some good material, I believe with Jeppesen, but their course CD and books were rather new, so I decided to go somewhere that seems to have proved itself with other pilots (not saying anything is wrong with their material, just felt Bristol's had gained a reputation).
My final decision came down to either OAT or Bristol material.

Good luck with your decision making, I'm sure you'll make the right one for suits you best. :ok:


25th Aug 2007, 10:29
It has to be bristol for me now. have spoke to them on phone and they came across instantly as informative and interested. i know ultimately they are running a business and its there job to be but first impressions do count. thanks again everybody for taking the time to comment

25th Aug 2007, 11:00
@<hidden> Continental Drifter.

Happy to see you've passed Module 2 with such a great rate!!! :D:D
How many months did each module take and how many hours did you study each day?

Thx for the info!! ;)

25th Aug 2007, 11:32
continental drifter.
congratulations from me too on your success. sorry for my ignorance!

Continental Drifter
25th Aug 2007, 13:41
PS & McB, thanks very much.
I took quite a while to finish essentially due to my other commitments.
I started in Mod' 1 in Jan '06, finished Dec '06, started Mod 2 in Jan '07 and just finished, but of course it can be done much quicker. The amount of hours spent studying each day varied a lot with me.
It really depends on what works for you - I actually didn't take all my Mod 1 & Mod 2 exams together - you have 6 sittings allowed, so I preferred to concentrate on getting first time passes and decent marks by spreading the exams out a bit more. Other lads I met had stopped working so time was a major factor in getting them done as quick as possible - despite having to resit a few.
What is certain though - if you are committed and put the hours in - you will pass. Again, I do really recommend BGS ( and that is not to detract from other schools) it's just that I found the whole experience with them professional and even (almost) enjoyable.
Good luck again lads and start as soon as possible.

25th Aug 2007, 13:52
Tanx CD, wish you all the best with the training! :ok:

25th Aug 2007, 14:16
Thanks CD.
In my circumstances i realise im being too ambitious hoping for next spring. As you say best to take time and effort and go in confident. Good too to here exams dont have to be sat in a block of say 8 and 6 as course modules suggest. The thought of being up to speed on 8 subjects at the same time is daunting! Good luck on your next phase!

26th Aug 2007, 10:17
ANY! I stand corrected PM. There is no excuse for bad English.

26th Aug 2007, 15:30
Excellent place. As far as the question bank goes its the closest your going to get giving the CAA a taste of thier own medicine. ie making up for the extortionate charges, and them producing complete crap and nonsesne questions that dont actaully make sense! It reveals evry trick in the book they have!
At some points I was chuckling to myself in the exams. ( Having seen most of the questions before!)
There is no excuse really not to pass them all first pop.

26th Aug 2007, 22:14
Getting so much useful information. I,m almost looking forward to it all. thanks

27th Aug 2007, 15:21
Reading this I know I made the right choice.....

27th Aug 2007, 18:51
Completed mod 1 + 2 with bristol in 4 months. Went slightly doolally :} but as alex said - if you put the time in, it can be done and i did. Great school, great material and great instructos - the 2 week crammer and exam week is a grueler but certainly charachter building and hopefully worth it in the end:ok:

Hour Builder
27th Aug 2007, 19:40

Just to reiterate what everyone else has said so far. Bristol are great, I'm on my Mod 2 brush up as week speak- first time passes already gained in April with 96% average.

On another note, if you didn't know, CTC send their modular guys to BGS, so if it's good enough for them.....


27th Aug 2007, 20:33
4 Months for distance learning :eek: That must be some sort of record. Did you even go outside during that period?

From everyone's opinion on here it seems that if you are doing the ATPL's by distance learning then you really only have one option. Bristol seem to be a most professional outfit and if your prepared to meet them half way by putting some effort in then you will come out with the exams in your pocket at the end of the day :ok:

27th Aug 2007, 21:10
All very encouraging. Anybody reading these posts from BGS must feel 10ft tall!

Hour Builder
27th Aug 2007, 21:17
Mate they know they're good..........

28th Aug 2007, 10:22
On BGS web site they say hint that some exams harder than others. Obviously this must be true but which are the tricky ones? I'm guessing like ppl that air law will be a struggle?

Hour Builder
28th Aug 2007, 16:51
Everyone is different mate. I personally found MET hard, purely because there is more to read then the rest (with the notes the school supply).
However, the ATPL's in general are not particularly hard, its more a matter of quantity.

Really easy ones tend to be:

VFR Comms
IFR Comms

Pretty easy:

Mass and Bal
Human Perf
R Nav

Require more thought:

Flt Plan
G Nav

The above is my opinion.


28th Aug 2007, 18:51
all really useful points from everyone, especially for wannabees like me evaluating all my options before taking the plunge! well done to you guys getting such solid results!!

28th Aug 2007, 20:14
Yeah well done from me too and thanks for sharing your findings and taking time to pass advice on.

29th Aug 2007, 14:43
4 Months for distance learning That must be some sort of record. Did you even go outside during that period?

My Bristol GS module 1 arrived late October, and I completed my last exam (Module 2) early February, just over 3 months later.

Not counting the 6 weeks which were taken up by the brush-up courses and exam weeks, that left just 10 weeks of home study, which included a 2 week break (yeah, right!) over Christmas and New Year.

The CPL, night rating, and IR were 'in the bag' by mid June, less than 8 months after buying the Bristol GS course. Oh, and I did manage to fit in a 2 week foreign holiday between the Mod 2 exams and starting the CPL - honestly!

A very busy time, when I did not get out much! But a whole lot quicker and more cost effective than if I had chosen an integrated course - a point I made in a previous post on the subject.

Bristol GS certainly provides the means to make that type of progress possible with their excellent course. But at the end of the day, it is down to the individual to set a pace which is comfortable and sustainable for their own unique circumstances and learning rate. Motivation is the key ingredient here. I was highly motivated, being significantly the 'wrong side' of 40 before starting.

Good luck to all who choose to embark on the commercial aviation career path, whichever route that might be. And don't let anybody tell you that being over 40 is too old to start, provided you are highly motivated, and you have the ability.


30th Aug 2007, 10:25

A story of encouragement if ever there was one. Well done and hope you gain employment very soon if not already.

30th Aug 2007, 18:03

My hat goes off to you :D. Just goes to show that no matter what your never too old to chase your dreams. If you wan't something bad enough you will usually get it with a little bit of hard work.... right, enough with the cliches :ooh:

p.s. not that I'm saying your old pm :oh:

31st Aug 2007, 21:38
Just thought that I'd chuck my hat into the ring, after 22 years as a military helicopter engineer I left the daily grind and spent 5 months getting the ATPL ground school done, studying full time at home with BGS notes. I managed to pass all exams first time and averaged 93.5%, this is by no means a reflection of my academic abilities and is purely down to the standard of the BGS course, the notes are excellent but even the notes are surpassed by the quality of the instructors and the feedback questions dished out during the revision fortnights. The revision courses are hard work with 9-5 attendance and then sitting up with feedback stuff until about mid-night but it was well worth it. I cannot recommend BGS highly enough.
As far as what subjects are easiest and hardest, my own opinion is that the weight and balance and the two comms modules are easiest and that meteorology and air law were hardest with the remainder somewhere in the middle.
On another matter, as one of the older trainees out there (41 years old) it was wonderful to read the post from pilotmike who got his first job aged 43 and even shares a christian name with me (surely an omen!!!!!), well done mate if I cam emulate your achievements I will be wearing a smile so big it'll make the Cheshire Cat look like a manic depressive. Its also great to see that a working pilot is taking the time and effort to check the training posts and hand out advice......nice one.

Wee Weasley Welshman
1st Sep 2007, 10:09
I've been plugging BGS for many years now. I've never - not once - in all the time of PPRuNe being in existence heard a single whinge or complaint against them.

Never went there myself as it was a bit before my time.


1st Sep 2007, 16:32
Does anyone know if any of the usual accommodation options (or the school itself) have wireless internet access? (thinking atponline.gs here :) ) Thanks

Hour Builder
1st Sep 2007, 16:36
I am currently sitting in Brian Webber's place in Cheddar. It's on the Bristol website, and yes, if you are reading this, this is confirmation of wireless here.

I came here for Mod 1 and now Mod 2.

Best value for money, 135 per week, and then 6 on top for a really nice, hassle free home cooked meal.

Its about a 10 minute walk, or 2 minute drive from the ground school-made this whole process a lot easier.

Wish me luck for mod 2 next week...


1st Sep 2007, 17:03
Brian Webber's place

Lovely, cheers.

And good luck with Mod 2!!! :ok:

1st Sep 2007, 23:20
Pilot Mike.
Credit to you for taking the time to browse these sites. Believe me it's a big help to here your experiences, I'm sure everyone will agree. Lifts the spirits to here a success story! Thanks again.
good luck to you for mod 2!

1st Sep 2007, 23:44
the school has wireless access, as does Burnt House.

2nd Sep 2007, 00:17
Couple more questions...

1.a. What's the best way to get from Cheddar to Gatwick on a Sunday, without a car?

1.b. How painful would it be (in terms of traffic, etc.) to drive from Cheddar to Gatwick on a Sunday or a Saturday? How preferrable to using public transportation?

1.c (I'm searching for this one, but...) any recommendations where to stay while in Gatwick?

2. If you happen to forget/lose/break things such as your protractor, wizz wheel, calculator, chart, pencil... can you buy replacements for those either at BGS or in the village?

Once again, thanks in advance and good luck to those of you sitting the exams on Monday :)

2nd Sep 2007, 00:29
You will be able to get a lift from someone doing the brushup to Gatwick.

Book your Gatwick accommodation at the same place as the person you got a lift from.

They sell that stuff at the school.

Dick Whittingham
2nd Sep 2007, 10:21

Go student to student on the bgs forum for help and advice

Dick W

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