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Nine exams for the PPL

Old 17th Apr 2013, 14:38
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Nine exams for the PPL - Confirmed

Changes to pilot exam syllabus announced by CAA | CAA Newsroom | About the CAA

And to quote

"The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has today published details of changes to the ground-based exam programme taken by students training for a Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). The changes follow extensive consultation with pilot representative bodies.

Under the new exam schedule the number of exam papers sat by a student will increase from seven to nine. This increase is to accommodate new regulations from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) which require students to undertake at least 100 hours of theoretical knowledge training, including a certain element of formal classroom work as well as other interactive forms of training. Each exam will feature between 16 and 20 questions, with a pass mark of 75 per cent.

The CAA also revealed it will extend the definition of a ‘sitting’ to ten days to help students cope with the increase. Rather than the current classification of a sitting being ‘one day’, the new arrangements will allow an exam sitting to take place over ten consecutive days. Only one attempt at each subject paper is allowed in one sitting, however.

The CAA said it had responded positively to industry concerns over its initial intention to define a sitting as three days, which some flight examiners felt would be insufficient for many students.

Ray Elgy, Head of Licensing and Training Standards at the CAA, said: “The new exam syllabus which will take effect in the autumn offers a practical and fair arrangement for student pilots training for a PPL. We very much welcomed input from industry in formulating these changes which represent a constructive outcome for everyone involved in pilot training.”

The changes will come into force on the 1 September 2013. The CAA will publish in due course details of arrangements for students who find themselves midway through their exams on that date."

Last edited by Mickey Kaye; 17th Apr 2013 at 16:17.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 17:57
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Am a little confused with this "sitting" and one go at one exam per "sitting".

OK, I am simple. I am a microlight instructor. So, in some respects, it is all irrelevant to me.

But I would like to understand what is happening "on the other side of the fence".

So, does one do nine (!) exams all in one sitting?

(we simple microlight chaps just sit an exam whenever we feel like it)

Is there a limit to the number of exams one can have at a sitting, or a limit to the number of sittings (either number, as in say three sittings, or time, as in three sittings in a 12 month period?)

Thanks for any clarification.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 19:34
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Umm...I knew about the nine exams, but this "sitting" business is news to me. When I think of my PPL clientele I'm filled with dread. It's hard enough to get them to do exams over a period of months. It all sounds a bit bizarre. This must have been set-up by people with no knowledge of PPL training.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 20:37
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Mind you, being able to drag out seven exams over eighteen months is pretty bonkers when you think about it.
FAA...one exam. Possibly not the worst idea ever. Well, apart from the fact that having nine exams is going to be good for the bank balance.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 21:04
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In theory...one switched on kiddie....all nine exams in 10 days...one sitting...job done.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 22:41
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The changes follow extensive consultation with pilot representative bodies.
Who precisely has been consulted?
Each exam will feature between 16 and 20 questions, with a pass mark of 75 per cent.
x 9 = approximately 162 questions when the EASA requirement is:
(1) The examinations should be in written form and should comprise a total of 120 multiple-choice questions covering all the subjects.
Does Mr Elgy not understand what TOTAL means?
Have any of the representative bodies actually endorsed the additional 42 questions?
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Old 18th Apr 2013, 05:12
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Fair questions, Whopity!

Particularly since the topic was raised at the last FCL Implementation Forum (which was attended by the CAA) - EASA confirmed that 120 questions means 120 questions and that there is no mandate for 9 individual exams.

I suspect that the real reason for the 20-50% extra CAA gold plating is that the papers were already printed - and that despite EASA's clear guidance, the cost of replacing these 9 papers was of greater concern to the CAA.

Although AOPA persuaded the CAA to increase the definition of a 'sitting' to 10 consecutive days, we were NOT involved in the 'extensive consultation with pilot representative bodies' to which the press release refers and will be asking who actually was involved.....
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Old 18th Apr 2013, 07:04
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Does anyone know how it works:

Do I do all nine exams in a 10-day "sitting".

And then if I fail some, do I just do the ones I failed - or all again?! - in another "sitting".

And is there a limit to the sittings, perhaps no more than three?

Sorry, I expected that those who had been "consulted" could explain.

I will get asked this stuff by prospective students, but I am also busy running a business and find it hard to keep up with this. Pity you folk in EASA's claws.
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Old 18th Apr 2013, 08:03
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You will have 6 sittings, each of 10 days duration, to pass all of the exams. How you arrange exams between sittings is entirely up to you, or more likely to your ATO, which has to recommend you for the examinations, having first checked that you have completed all of the elements of the 100 hours theoretical knowledge training course to a satisfactory standard.

The fact that the UK CAA continues to impose requirements in excess of the EASA Regulation, which it clearly fails to understand, should surprise nobody.
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Old 18th Apr 2013, 20:30
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Another entry for the Red Tape Challenge, methinks!

On another note, does this mean that the CAA will extend the 10 day rule for sittings to the professional exams?

At the CTKI meeting in February it was stated that they intend to move over to computerised testing for professional exams - maybe 10 days per sitting as well. Anyone got any info on this?

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Old 19th Apr 2013, 06:56
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Another entry for the Red Tape Challenge, methinks!
More a case for a legal challenge, I would have thought. EU law requires that there are 120 questions in the PPL exams and the UK CAA are clearly non-compliant with this requirement.
does this mean that the CAA will extend the 10 day rule for sittings to the professional exams?
Nope, the maximum permitted length of time for a sitting is 10 days
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 09:37
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Could you not in theory let a student do 3-4 exams in a day then just backdate them all by 1 day each?
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 10:19
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You can let them do all the exams in one day, why would you want to backdate them?

The problem is that all exams and any resits have to be completed in 6 sittings. As you are allowed 4 attempts in any one subject, if you used all 4 attempts, each being a different sitting, then you only have two sittings left to pass the rest!

Of course if they just had 2 exams to cover the 9 subject it would be so much simpler and closer to the original template which was copied from the FAA!.
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 11:02
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Perhaps applicants should choose 14 questions from each of the papers and ignore the rest?

"I've answered 126 multiple choice questions and passed 11 in each exam, giving me an average of 78.6% - which is more than EASA requires".

I suggested 6 exams for 6 sittings, but people could obviously take more in each sitting, should they so wish:

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Old 19th Apr 2013, 12:13
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BillieBob

The problem is the EU requirement is only: "should be 120 questions" (and therefore not must). This allows the CAA to use their discretion.........
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 12:41
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This allows the CAA to use their discretion.........
Yes, it can be less than 120, but not more than, as that would exceed the regulatory requirement. The CAA have no remit to be more stringent than the regulation requires!
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 13:17
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Do you not have that the wrong way round...

It should be at least 120 questions to satisfy EASA, but not less than 120
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 15:44
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All of this argument about the number of questions really is missing the point.
The real problem is that much of the material has no relevance to what a PPL holder actually needs to know and do.

Does it really make any difference if we have 120 questions on irrelevant subjects or 200 questions on irrelevant subjects?
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 16:10
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The problem is the EU requirement is only: "should be 120 questions" (and therefore not must). This allows the CAA to use their discretion.........
No, it doesn't work like that under EU law. The AMCs are 'soft law' and must be complied with unless an alternative means of compliance has been accepted. Since this has not been done, the CAA is bound by the 120 figure, as EASA has confirmed.
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Old 25th Apr 2013, 20:55
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I'd like to see exams in which you have to get 100% to pass.
The questions would be relevent, safety orientated, essential information.
You can take the exams as many times as you like to pass.
I remember years ago the commercial air law was two papers, one requiring 100% pass mark, the questions weren't hard, but essential collision avoidance stuff.
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