View Full Version : Marine Corps vs ATPL Groundschool

5th Feb 2018, 09:50
So I think this belongs in Jetblast..

I was thinking the other day that ATPL Groundschool (roughly 9mo can be longer) where does it fit in terms of other qualifications out there? I know you can't compare the Marine Core to flight school (these guys are heroes, infact all of our forces are) but where would it stand in terms of toughness for the exams per se?

Examples would include..

1. ACCA (accounting qualification)
2. Marine Core, basic training (roughly 9mo)
3. Medschool (probably a lot longer than 9mo)
4. Actuarial sciences

Again, this is not intended to open a whole can of worms, I am just curious to see what others with different qualifications would think?

Thanks !

5th Feb 2018, 10:13
Yup @Prophead in agreement so far!

5th Feb 2018, 10:36
Check out London Metropolitan University for their ATPL on-site course. It takes about nine months, including two short breaks, so that it's done in three phases that focus, each one, on one very tough subject and some that are somewhat easier. There are cheap digs in the East End, within walking distance of the school; I enjoyed my time there; and most importantly I passed all the tests on the first try.

It's the Marine Corps, pronounced "core." (Our previous President once gave a speech that mentioned corpsmen, pronounced "core men," when he said "corpse men" instead, showing how much he knew as Commander-in-Chief.)

The Marines will take you and turn you from whatever sort of human you are into a US Marine, which is a somewhat different breed of cat. In fact, there are no ex-Marines, just former Marines. It's not for everyone, and if having a good chance of dying or being horribly mutilated in some war nobody much cares about is for you, then go for it. (It's a fact that young men who go into the military are considered to be expendable; ask me how I know that.)

Medical school? You may only be fully qualified in your early thirties. It's a very long haul, and many fall by the wayside. Here in Germany it's so that of those who enter dental school (dentistry is a specialized branch of medicine) only about 30% make to the end, and that's not as big a struggle as medical school, taking a mere six years.

Another thing is that the practice of medicine can be nothing like what you imagine it to be ... pretty much the same as aviation can be, I guess.

If you aren't sure what you want to do, why not pursue a liberal arts BA and wait for inspiration to strike?

Accountancy and actuarial sciences? Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4h-wVe9a6rQ

Pontius Navigator
5th Feb 2018, 10:46
Or the old joke, one has books to read and the other has books to colour.

Hat, coat , scarf

pax britanica
5th Feb 2018, 11:11
Of course if you don't spell Marine Corps correctly the course only lasts a day.
Apologies if Engiish is not your first language

5th Feb 2018, 11:24
Well with a handle of "k.swiss" and a location of "Winterthur", I don't think he's from Streatham. :ok:

But then again, Marine Corps in Suisse?


5th Feb 2018, 12:41
Good point. Nowadays you need a Green Card (resident alien status) to enlist in any branch of the US military.

Oh well ... there's always the French Foreign Legion. That's just as tough as the Marine Corps, I bet. I think that they do take foreigners.

My mother was a Navy nurse who was in charge of medevac flights during the latter stages of the war in the Pacific, using the R5-D (C-54, Douglas DC-4). She said she would have these young Marines missing arms and legs on her plane who "were only upset because they had not killed their share of Japs." Now that is indoctrination!

Mother told me, "Whatever you do, don't join the Marines!" so I didn't.

I had a colleague who said that when it was time, after Officer Candidate School, for them to choose a branch in the Marines they first showed them all "The Sands of Iwo Jima," a war movie starring John Wayne (a draft-dodger in real life, but a very big American hero in the movies) as Sergeant Stryker USMC.

Right at the end of the movie, though, a Jap sniper kills Sergeant Stryker stone dead. The End.

Then came the pitch for choosing the infantry, playing John Wayne for real, with real bullets, when my colleague pointed out that in the movie they had just showed John Wayne ended up dead, so? He went for Transport instead.

Pontius Navigator
5th Feb 2018, 16:33
We had a US Marine Corps F4 Nav instructor. When his tour ended his next was FAC in Vietnam.

Windy Militant
5th Feb 2018, 17:26
Sorry to lower the tone It being jet Blast and all but have a look here
sheffield-university-beng-pilot-studies.html (https://www.pprune.org/professional-pilot-training-includes-ground-studies/117479-sheffield-university-beng-pilot-studies.html) Might be enlightening ;)

5th Feb 2018, 18:25
I took the old fashioned way to my ATPL, getting a PPL first and moving up through the ranks. My high school flight instructor, formerly active duty, was in the USMC reserves. He inspired confidence in all of us and despite his gruff persona, was a really nice guy and probably the best CFI I have ever known.

There is no comparison on testing (mil vs ATP) unless you are moving up in ranks, finishing tech school, or going for a commission. The amount of useless information one must learn in the military to gain that next stripe or those bars on the shoulder is utterly ridiculous and would make the ATP written seem much less of a mental accomplishment by comparison.

The difficulty in college level accreditation really depends on the school. Ivy League and serious science institutions will have much higher standards than the typical state universities. Having accomplished gaining both an ATPL and a Bachelor's, I would say the ATPL course work was much easier for me, basing it on one semester's worth - aided by my passion for flying and the lovely machinery. It should be noted that an EU primary education places graduates somewhere around the second year college student in the states in breadth of knowledge.

Corps - from the Latin "corpus" and French in origin, hence the silent consonant.

West Coast
5th Feb 2018, 19:48
There is an indoctrination into the Marine Corps and an ethos that doesn’t leave you till the day you’re planted. The cult status however is a bit OTT.

The amount of useless information one must learn in the military to gain that next stripe or those bars on the shoulder is utterly ridiculous and would make the ATP written seem much less of a mental accomplishment by comparison.

Not all services have direct testing requirements for advancement. What I was required to know however wasn’t ridiculous, it could save my life, or more importantly the guys to the left and right of me.

5th Feb 2018, 20:00
There is no comparison between the FAA ATP writtens and the European ATPL writtens.

I studied for a week and got 94% on the FAA test (one test, about 5 areas of knowledge, circa 1979). Ditto for the Flight Engineer written: one week, 93%. Nowadays the tests might be more difficult. Too, you can't just show up to take the test nowadays; now I think you need to have done an approved course.

I studied for more than six months for the ATPL (14 separate tests) and also got 94% on average, but the amount of effort that took was comparable to studying at university level in a way.

Studying then was a series of sprints, accumulating a lot of knowledge over a very short span of time, when doing that required intense focus and a lot of effort. Test passed, that knowledge would then go forgotten rather quickly because you had to move on to some other area whose facts also had to be mastered. Of course real academic learning confers some sort of deep knowledge and some new ability. This was just gorging on stuff and then vomiting it onto a multiple-choice answer sheet, when they gave you just enough time to write the answers and then check the answers before it was "Pencils down, please."

We had one guy who scored 74% on one test, failing by one lousy point, which had to be heart-breaking, but there was another guy who scored 99% on average. Maybe a genius, but certainly a real hard worker who was very, very organized.

Pontius Navigator
5th Feb 2018, 20:36
West Coast, I quote, "what is the colour of . . . ?" Duck Egg Blue.
"What is the colour of . . . " the same. "No it is French Power Blue".

WTF. OK, they are bombs, but shade of blue?

West Coast
5th Feb 2018, 22:03

Yes, I've been chastised for mixing cyan with blue and magenta with red.

6th Feb 2018, 05:10
Thanks all, now I wish there was some way to edit the title. :ugh:

Marine Corps it is! And yes although English is not my first language I should have run a cross check! :E

6th Feb 2018, 05:41
It should be noted that an EU primary education places graduates somewhere around the second year college student in the states in breadth of knowledge.

EU primary education takes place from 5 years old to 11 years old, so an EU 11 year old is as educated as a second year college student in the USA?

6th Feb 2018, 12:56
That's an easy mistake to make. High school in the States is "secondary education."

In Germany, for instance, pupils are streamed after Year 4, when about 40% enter a Gymnasium. Those who do, and who graduate, finish at Year 13 (recently changed back from a 12-year program), to receive their Abitur, roughly equivalent to an American AA degree (two years of post-secondary education) and what is required for admission to higher study.

(Someone with an Abitur will normally be fluent in both German and English, both spoken and written, along with having studied a third language such as French or Spanish to a fairly high level. That's probably beyond what your average American with an AA has achieved.)

Some courses of higher study have what is called an NC (Numerus Clausus), the requirement to have completed your Abitur with a certain numerical grade. (These run backwards compared to the States; it's 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 for A, B, C, D, and F in Germany.) Medicine, for instance, usually requires a 1.0 or 1.1 (A+), because places in medical school are few and demand for them is high.

A big difference between training in medicine in the States is that there's no "pre-med" four-year degree associated with that in Germany. You go straight into medical school from Gymnasium.

In medical school in Germany you have many tests. If you fail one test then you repeat the associated course, when you then have one more chance to pass the test and continue in your year. If you fail again then you must repeat the entire year, and if you fail that same test after that then you are out. After all that there is a series of tests that review all that you have learned, in order to graduate. I think it's only about 30-40% of students who manage to complete their studies and qualify.

Another curiosity is that a German doctor or dentist is not a "Doktor," but an Arzt or an Ärztin,, or a Zahnarzt or a Zahnärztin, male or female respectively.

The title of Doktor is gained separately by doing research, writing a thesis, having that accepted for publication, and defending it in an oral exam. Several prominent politicians have come unstuck recently after evidence came to light that they had not done all of this properly; getting and using that title is very tightly controlled.

Loose rivets
6th Feb 2018, 14:09
My American grandchildren worked too hard. Most of the parents that could afford it, sent their kids to special schools. The entrance exams were very stiff.

I took my ALTP (yes) some years after my CPL, which made it much easier. It was still an old-fashioned style of exam. A Cambridge Physics graduate next to me at Cass looked stressed out. He said, There's nothing particularly hard about it, it's just that there's so much of it.

Can anyone make a comparison between the old style and modern ATPL exams? I hear the latter is more Americanised now.

Talking of which, When I took my ATP, I worked quite hard to recap a lot of old stuff. I walked into the room and someone called Randy* said, 'Hi Rob', 'You've got six hours'.

After an hour, I started rechecking everything. I wrote a long note about a performance question, explaining why all four of their answers were wrong. Since up to that point I'd got 100% the computer didn't feel obliged to discuss it with me.

At Boeing school, one instructor said to someone, And that's why no one ever gets 100%. I don't know what 'That' was, but I've always wondered if I'd chased it, if I'd have been the first.

Best not know, bragging about it would have probably got the odd pint tilted down me butt cleavage.

*I knew his name because it was cast in 2" brass letters on his buckle.
He never looked out from under his cowboy hat and at no stage removed his cowboy boots from his desk.

Just the ultimate antithesis of the tweed jacketed London invigilators.

6th Feb 2018, 15:46
I did a FlightSafety Twin Otter recurrent at Downsview, Ontario with another company pilot, a young woman who was very, very sharp. (I was sure that when we got back to base our course results were going to be compared, when I was not expected to finish first.)

When it came to the final written, a multiple-choice test of 100 questions (I think it was), the hairs on the back of my neck were erect. I figured that there was no way FSI wanted us to get to 100% "just like that," but each question was pretty straight-forward, and we had plenty of time, so ... where was the hook?

I got through all the questions, no real problem, and then thought a bit about that hook. Then I went back to have a closer look. Ah, one question had two correct answers, so that I then ticked both.

I scored 100%. My colleague had come to the first right answer, ticked that, and had gone on to the next question; she scored a very good 99%.

Somehow you just don't expect that sort of sneaky behavior from Canadians, do you? She was a bit put out by being thrown that curve, a question with two right answers.

We had tests in Nigeria where you had to learn the appropriate answer, not the correct answer. You really wanted to get to the testing room early to see if you could get the one steel chair with a backrest. The rest had lost their backrests to rust, so that if you sat back to think over a question you disappeared backwards ass over tit!

6th Feb 2018, 16:15
At my RAF Tech training school the instructors put together a new final test paper consisting of 100
Objective type questions. Apparently they asked the Padre's wife to take it and she got 74%! The pass mark was 60%.

Pontius Navigator
6th Feb 2018, 19:29
Chuks, in UK a GP usually has an MB - a bachelor degree I think. Doctor therefore appears a courtesy title although they do take a lo ng time getting it. OTOH our local GP refused to acknowledge other doctors, maths etc.

Um... lifting...
6th Feb 2018, 20:13
We had tests in Nigeria where you had to learn the appropriate answer, not the correct answer.

Ah, Nigeria. Company I worked for introduced a new type into the country, so they (we) generated the type rating exam for the Civil Aviation people.

Although no one in Civil Aviation was qualified on type, we were all required to sit for the type rating exam. Of course we knew every answer, every typo, every jot & tittle. Civil Aviation simply made photocopies of the exam we provided them.

However, in Nigeria, no one ever gets 100%, and no one ever wants to be the first to turn in the paper and leave the exam room. Both are red flags for cheating.

So, we dithered and scribbled and knit our various brows until some young Nigerian fellow taking some other exam headed forward to turn in whatever exam paper he was taking.

We all got 99%, and later compared notes on which question we had decided to answer incorrectly.

Paul Wilson
6th Feb 2018, 22:10
A doctor in the UK actually has an MBBS, or MBChB or a number of other possibilities, all depends on your medical school, they award different degrees just to keep things complicated. This of course does not give you the right to add MD after your name, that's a different post nominal entirely. MD is essentially a doctoral level post graduate qualification. Your GP on the other hand probably has an MBBS or similar (5years), followed by a couple of years as a Foundation Year doctor, 6x4 month placements (2 years) then 4 years GP training taking a number of exams along the way and ending up with an MRCGP (Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners).

Your consultant on the other hand, does the same until the end of the 2 Foundation Years, then picks a specialty, trains for 2 or 3 years as a Core Trainee, then sub-specialises for another 3-5 years (depending on specialty) leading to a minimum of 6 years in specialty training (often 7-8 as they seem to love taking a year of 2 for a PhD, or a Fellowship) so the youngest you are are likely to see a "fully trained" doctor 25+2+6 = 33 and much more likely to be late thirties early forties.

This is all a gross over simplification...

Oh and if you see a doctor with the post nominals LRCP, LMSSA, LRCS, and they went to medical school in the UK - they more than likely failed their finals a couple of times, then took the Conjoint exams to avoid the "third strike and you are out" rule of medical school. A lot of foreign doctors have these exams and the failure bit doesn't apply to them, these were the exams foreign doctors used to have to take to practice in the UK, but UK educated people could take them instead of their medical school finals.

And let's not get started on the UK Mental Health Act - we've not got one, there are 3, one each for England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. Separate training for each, separate approvals required for each, except in the case of Wales which has the same Act as England but a separate approvals prices. The Scottish system is great, they require re-training every 5 years (which is fine, England and Wales do the same) the difference is that they introduced their new Act over a decade ago, and there have been a grand total of 0 refresher courses in that time.

Wow - that got a bit ranty and off topic (ish)

7th Feb 2018, 03:42
In the States everyone gets to be a Doctor.

I was up in Portland, Maine with a brother-in-law and his son, my nephew, when we went into a nice bar for a few after-dinner drinks. It was crowded, so that we ended up sharing a table with a pretty, young, very talkative and personable blonde, who told us that she was a local doctor with her own clinic.

I was on the fringes of the conversation, not paying a lot of attention. Nothing against bars and blondes, but I don't drink and I'm married, so .... I got to thinking then about how this bint was in her late twenties, at a guess, so how did she manage to become a doctor and establish a practice in such a short time? Something seemed a bit fake then, but I did not want to spoil the fun for my flirty brother-in-law by pinning her down about just what sort of medical background she had.

When we left she gave each of us her card: Doctor Jane Doe, but her area of expertise was holistic medicine, or aromatherapy, or some such.

Here in Germany I have done that same "fly on the wall" thing at dinner sometimes, when it's a physician and a dentist, who are both entitled to Frau Doktor, and this friend of ours who does alternative medicine in her own (very busy) clinic: straight-up massage, lymph drainage, and physiotherapy, but also aromatherapy, homeopathy, and I bet you could get your aura adjusted there too, if that was what you wanted to have done.

Sometimes I sense a certain tension over the lasagna when some bit of rampant hocus-pocus is mentioned in the same way as conventional medicine. On the other hand, you can get homeopathic pills to make you (feel) better when you have been to the dentist, paid for by the German health insurance providers, so that there must be something to homeopathy ....

When it comes to alternative medicine, make mine a cheeseburger. It seems to work for Donald Trump, the cheeseburger diet, and it beats having to diet and take regular exercise.

Pontius Navigator
7th Feb 2018, 16:51
I think my chiropractor is a doctor, certainly better at bones than my GP from Bombay