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EASA Exams

Old 6th Jun 2019, 14:30
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EASA Exams

I'm curious... I'm doing the EASA Commercial Helicopter Exams.
The questions seem like they are not fit for purpose.
The questions and answers are written badly and gives the impression they were written by non-English speakers (no disrespect meant).
I've been told that the only way to pass the exams is to use a Question Bank provider.
Has this always been the case for the Commercial Helicopter Exams or each year is it getting worse?
For the exams, 20, 10, 5 years ago - what are the differences to the theory exams now? Were they tougher/easier? Were the questions more appropriate and written better?
Would a Commercial Helicopter pilot who passed their exams 20 years ago, be able to pass the exams without using a question bank if they went to do an exam tomorrow?
The exams give the impression that a Frankenstein monster has been created that is getting worse and worse, each year with more dodgy questions/answers. Not only for the Commercial Helicopter Exams, but I've heard from students flying fixed wings that the ATPL exams are a joke.
What is going wrong? What's the solution?
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 16:48
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Well if very few active first officers or captains can pass the ATPL(A) theory if they were given the task again without long refreshing work then the exams are clearly not good enough because they ask about stuff that is not practically useful. So there should be a total revision of the examinations and the theoretical examination should probably be done in an oral form for example in a simulator with real life topics. Then people would actually learn the useful theory and not learn how to answer questions with 4 answers.

But it would probably cost a lot to create such oral examination system even if the students were to pay the salary to the examiners by exam fee. So EASA just continue to use what they got and hope the students will learn the practically useful knowledge from their instructors, be examined from it by the practical examiner and learn the rest at MCC/JOC or APS MCC + at the type rating and line training.
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 18:07
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An oral exam is how we plan to conduct the new KSA 100 exam
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 19:53
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Originally Posted by paco View Post
An oral exam is how we plan to conduct the new KSA 100 exam
When will this be introduced?
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 20:02
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Sometime in the latter part of 2020
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 20:48
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@paco: But it will not change the rest of the exams that maybe should get some more modern questions since more modern methods are being practically used. And by the way will everyone who already got ATPL(A) theory done have to pass KSA100 or if we are done with our exams and got the subsequent licenses then it will not be necessary?

An another question since it looks like you have something to do with EASA. What do you think about the Performance exam (I am going to do it next week it is one of my 4 last exams) is it proper time given for the exam for people to perform the tasks on the graphs like they should be done (printed and with a pencil and not remembered from the question bank) or is the goal that people shall do approximations on screen using the mouse? Because someone can draw 9 graphs from the 35 questions while another person draw 17 then its kind of unfair amount of time that can make a difference on the result that the airlines later will see when determining who to call for an assessment.

And is it possible that different CAA got different answers to the same kind of question with the same numbers? Because that would be totally wrong if for example LDR (Landing distance required) shall be factorized in one CAA while the other one still want you to answer with the Landing Distance without factorization unless its written "commercial" on the graph for a SEP flight. Because it is correct to perform the factorization when its asked about LDR so I would definitely be unhappy if I give the correct answer but it is not what the question creator had in mind. It would be nice with a clarification of what is being expected the correct solution by the book or the solution the question creator had in his mind when creating the question?
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 06:33
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The current database will be reduced to around 10 000 questions all sparkly new and with the copyright owned by EASA instead of the stakeholders. As far as I know KSA 100 (knowledge Skills and Attitude) will not be retrospective - it would appear to have been requested by the airlines as they don't seem to be happy with the current quality. I have always been in complete disagreement with it, as anyone at the EASA meetings I attended will tell you, because, not only is it an area any State should not be involved in (if the airlines want it, they should provide it), it also opens up a whole legal minefield. I happen to be a CRMI and therefore have some sort of training to be able to certify people in that area, but others cannot. It means that it is possible to pass all the exams and still not get your licence because your attitude at the school is suspect.

Some schools will be using teamwork to build nuclear devices out of lego blocks, but they would be large ones with some sort of exposure to students over long periods. Some of us get personal exposure for three days only and even then sometimes only one in the classroom. In addition, most of our students end up in odd places working by themselves, so such an exam is less relevant. So we will dispense with traditional mock exams and use a mixed oral, and look at areas such as whether progress tests were submitted on time, or out of order etc.

I have nothing to do with the exams themselves - I was merely on the committee that established the new syllabuses.

Different authorities shouldn't get different answers, as, in theory they all draw from the same central source, but they are allowed to make alterations. That's the problem with EASA - in reality we're no better of than with JAA, where Authorities could pick and choose which laws they implemented. Now, they can pick and choose which laws to ignore.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 11:47
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@paco: Ok thanks for your reply, in other words it is not possible to get any answer about what is the syllabus for the performance exam in the actual CAA and how they understand it. Well I will do the exam according to the book backed by question explanations in the question bank, in case of failure I will contest it if the authority believe the book is wrong and LDR = LD and no factorization (and there are enough such questions drawn to fail the exam, will not bother to contest if its passed even if I get wrong on such a question).

As for the future KSA 100 I did not completely understand what you mean. From what I understood it will be examined by the CAA just as an oral exam (like the English exam for level 4-6 ) and from what I understood the point was to check the attitude towards solving a problem and not only the answer but it was to be done during the exam. From what you write I understand it as CAA is gonna also examine the school if they teach proper attitude or ask the school about the students attitude while training? As it is today some airlines wish to get a report from the school + info whether the student got a first time pass on all practical flying exams (and if not then why) too. So now the CAA will be doing it instead of the airlines who wish to do it?
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 13:08
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KSA 100 will not be examined by the CAA but by the school.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 14:07
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@paco: Oh then I understand it, that is why CAA will have to check the schools if they do it properly, since every school probably wish for its students to learn as much as possible and then achieve the best possible results. So it will then be checked if the best possible results are done fairly from school to school.

But I believe if its not CAA doing it then its "butter on butter" (hard to translate wordplay to English) because the schools are already assessing the students in each exercise (only time building is without assessment but for example at my school you have to deliver an envelope after each cross country flight with weight&balance, performance vs each airfield in the plan + weather info + actual airspace + flight plan for the flight) + most I believe also make practical intern theoretical examinations before certain exercises during both PPL(A), MEP(L), IR/ME and CPL(A) training. And then in the end the practical examiner also ask questions before and during the flight. Then its MCC/JOC or APS MCC, the assessment at the airline and type rating.

I believe EASA should concentrate more upon making the theoretical exams more modern with questions like in radio navigation about the PBN etc. and less stuff that is not being practically used for 50 years or knowledge about parts that the pilot can neither assess before flight or fix during flight and that only mechanics get to see in reality when performing maintenance. And to make the exams less random in workload that is for example if performance exam is 1 hour for 35 questions then it should be for example 9 graphs draw for each student not that one get 5 and another get 17 and they have the same time to finish the exam. Of course in the real life stuff happen randomly BUT if the exams are to compare student results then its like comparing "emergency vs normal flight" but giving the same % result.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 16:33
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I agree with you 100% - that is what we tried to achieve with the new syllabuses - a lot of stuff went but a lot of stuff was added as well, although the main effect is the rearrangement of learning objectives.

In some ways I see their point - if the exams were just need to know then a lot of schools wouldn't teach the nice to know. But I still think it could have been done better.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 18:08
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@paco: Since you have before heard about some questions did you maybe hear if EASA did something with this one:

Consider maximum range speed and speed for maximum angle of climb. How will headwind affect those speeds (everything else remain the same).

What seems the right answer is: Maximum range speed increases and speed for maximum angle of climb remains the same

BUT the correct answer according to comments and an another question bank is: Both speeds remain the same......

Have EASA corrected the question or we shall answer both speeds remain the same to skip contesting the question etc. itd. ? Seriously this is totally strange that other exams got their questions in shape while in this one no one knows what the CAA expect and whether or not they care about what is correct by the book.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 19:15
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I'm not allowed to tell you, sadly....
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 19:49
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Seriously its not allowed to tell whether or not a question have been corrected? Not even to say that correct answer is correct? Well then I assume it is corrected and give the correct answer (and hope its not critical to passing the exam). Because if its not corrected then it should be EASA duty to tell the students the correct answer is wrong. Because otherwise its crazy if the wrong answer is right but its not allowed to tell it to the students.... then what is the point of the exam to make someone fail because they give the correct answer.

I believe if it was not corrected then it would be told that it is not corrected so I assume it is. If I encounter the question pick the right answer and get it wrong because wrong answer is what CAA wish I will totally go to the newspaper with it if it fails my exam and I have to use time on contesting instead of learning the last 3 to be done in July. I have not encountered a subject with so many fails on EASA side as Performance that totally confuse the students.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 20:51
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Performance many fails?
I find that strange, it was one of the easiest subject we had when I did it. It was one of those exams you expected most to get around 100% score on.
But you are going to Groundschool for ATPL's, why are they not teaching you this properly? The Flightschool Goldwings, that you say is so great, should be able to provide you help with this. And if the answer is wrong with EASA, they should be able to get this clarified by the CAA if in doubt.
Not all QB's have the right answers, so the CAA will not tell you that the answer in the QB is wrong, that is not their duty.
They only QB I trusted was Bristol, and I tried a couple, that was less than reliable. Although long time ago now.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 21:38
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@2unlimited: With many fails I mean question fails from the CAA marking wrong answer as good for example. Its not that I do not understand what to do but I do not know what the CAA wants answered and the people writing comments in the question bank are just as confused.

As for the Ground school as I said Goldwings do not have an integrated program just a course with lectures its not integrated school but modular, the integrated is just starting in cooperation with an university. The flight school is great for flying and learning you the practical knowledge, I never said it got an integrated ATPL ground school. But the problem is not about not knowing what to do but about the CAA expecting strange answers. So if the answer CAA mark as correct is wrong and it was reported to EASA but they did not change the answer to the good one yet then they should inform about it like "we know the right answer by the book is this, but by mistake our exam want this answer we are sorry and will change it in the future".

As for the question banks Bristol is good for the theory lessons in the online ground school (that is what we get for free in the modular course) but their questions are extremely few and totally unlike those in Aviation Exam and ATPL questions and totally unlike the real exam questions. So I do them just to check how I do with unknown questions. The whole problem is that the 2x question banks had a discussion going on about this question and students reported that for example Czech CAA wanted the wrong answer, the Aviation Exam got the correct answer marked as good one.... but ATPL questions claim that almost all CAA want the wrong answer but that EASA was supposed to look into it in 2018. So I hope they fixed it because I am totally not wasting time on contesting a question.

PS. Most people do not like the Performance (but only Performance got answers where CAAs choose their own wrong answers and people totally write pages of comments about it and someone got the point granted after contesting the question) and Planning exams, some also the General Navigation. Myself I liked General Navigation just had to learn the formulas and easily cruised through all question banks and the real exam. But question banks were good for some theory like that sun is going around the earth because the question creator imagined how it looks like for someone standing on earth. While like 95 % people say on instinct earth is going around the sun and do not think how it looks like from the surface.

Either way hopefully I will not draw that question so it wont destroy my performance score. Oh and may I ask when did you do it? If it was like 10 years ago then all you had to do to pass is the question bank because there were like no new questions on the real exam, so people learned for themselves but remembered the question bank for results (some people did it all in 1 month). Today there are new questions so you have to actually understand everything if you are going to pass the exams with 90 % average and first time pass. Question bankers only will ofc. also pass the whole ATPL(A) but they may have to redo some exams and count on a lucky draw to get more than 75 % known questions.
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Old 8th Jun 2019, 10:40
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Performance an easy exam? I wish I had your brain because that was quite difficult in my opinion, very technical and easy as well to select the wrong answer. I think it's the hardest exam personally speaking
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Old 8th Jun 2019, 16:48
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I found performance the hardest exam. But that was many moons ago when PPSC correspondence courses written by Mike Longhurst, were the normal method for self improvers working, with studying on days off etc. The notes were not the most user friendly? These days internet access : junior birdmen don't know how lucky they are. Far better learning medium.
No short cuts. Put in the effort and you will pass.


It would have been so much easier to have a good teacher using talk & chalk explaining the LOGIC (and the rules) of it all.

Then, pass Performance A, and there was no need to pass any other performance group exam -aeroplanes.

That changed in1988 when this "exempt all others" rule was ended by the UK CAA.

Grandfather rights applied to ac changes within perf A, but new smaller ac types required the specific group performance exam. Eventually I ended up passing performance exams in C,D, E.

Prepare really well and success will follow.
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Old 8th Jun 2019, 17:37
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@parkfell: There is no problem with understanding what to do as you see. The problem is the CAAs expecting different answer to the same kind of questions plus EASA giving the wrong answer as good and the good as wrong. So now how are we supposed to know they corrected the question so the correct answer is correct? No one wish to contest a question if the exam is passed.... so its like 2,86 % lost in total percentage if someone draws the bad question and chooses the correct answer but the CAA failed to make the correct answer correct and the incorrect is marked as correct.

But no one will mark the incorrect option because in case they changed it then there would be no option to contest..... (in case someone lacked one question to pass the exam, because as said almost no one protest after a pass even if they lose 2,86 % because of a CAA failure).
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Old 8th Jun 2019, 19:27
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If you & the instructors believe that an answer is not correct then the Head of Training / CTKI need to take appropriate action either with other Providers and/or directly with their Regulator.

It is clearly not equitable if the incorrect answer is required to achieve marks for a Q.

At least penalty marking for an incorrect response is a distant memory.

Mí learned friends might well sense a feeding frenzy if crowd funding ever got organised. Might judicial review ( or EU equivalent ) ever be an option ?
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