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EASA exams - what is wrong?

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EASA exams - what is wrong?

Old 6th Jun 2019, 13:32
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EASA exams - what is wrong?

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, 14:44
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Welcome to EASA! They are indeed an international joke.

You cannot pass the exams without the use of a question bank, even if you are a CFII (we had one try that). Are you self-certifying or doing it through a school?
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 15:48
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I sat a few EASA ATPL(H)/IR exams about a month ago through FOCA in Switzerland and they straight up gave me 3 - 4 fixed-wing questions (I double checked Part-FCL LOs after the exam because I couldn't believe it). I agree that the way EASA is operating their ATPL theory at the moment isn't fit for purpose.
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 16:36
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You can moan all you like but itís not going to change. No doubt with feedback questions itís easier but itís not the only way to pass the exams. I was on the first wave of Heli pilots taking the all new jar exams 20 years ago. Now that was difficult. The providers didnít know what to teach and there were no feedback questions available let alone a database. Youíve got it easy now in comparison.
Out of an initial class of 32 (only me doing H) only 2 bright sparks passed the first wave of 7 exams. About 20 passed no subjects at all.
Now it seems itís the opposite.
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 17:00
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Actually, whereas the old JAA questions were static, now they are adding 1500 per year and adjusting 2000, and you have to type in the actual answer in many cases rather than having multi-guess. It's not really any better - the schools still don't know what to teach because they haven't bothered to issue a proper syllabus, just learning objectives with no indication of references or depth of knowledge.

As you say, it ain't going to get better.
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 19:34
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Choose the least incorrect answer from the following options...
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Old 6th Jun 2019, 19:57
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When I did my JAA ATP written exams I had to study and perform Boeing 747 loading, planning and performance ... just because the IR rating written text didn't exist (at that time) for helicopters: once you got the IR it was the same regardless you were flying rotor of fixed wings.

Back to your topic pilot_tolip I guess that's the "price" you've to pay to have and EASA licence, and isn't by chance that EASA licences are the most requested and prized by companies and recruiters around the World.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 06:15
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Having to learn 737 Type FMS, all there is to know about Inertia Navigation Systems (INS), Loran-C Navigation and navigation and associated weather flying from Paris to Rio, I can relate to the frustration here. Mind you I did the EASA ATPL-H subjects

Last edited by muermel; 7th Jun 2019 at 08:21.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 06:24
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You have to "play" the game to pass the exams , if it means revising the question bank to death , then so be it.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 10:04
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Stop winging. Piece of cake now. In my day, we had the wonderful fuel planning - Falklands and back. Everyone failed as they forgot to allow for the weight reduction after the bombing run At least I was too young for the astro navigation paper, but I remember the principles of flight had no syllabus and simply wasnt taught. Add in sudden death with morse code off a ghetto blaster and it is clear nothing has changed. This is a test of how well you can learn how to work the system and not about knowledge. Same in medicine and many other areas.....
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 13:21
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I did my exams in 1980, courtesy of UK CAA. The questions were mostly ridiculous and often (as mentioned above) it was the least wrong answer, questions were totally pointless and irrelevant, written by people either with bees in their bonnets about some fatuous point or no idea of what they were talking about. So it seems nothing has changed, but at least you know you have no reason to feel hard done by! You just need to learn the answers, as opposed to learning the subject!
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 13:57
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Yes, just what you need in a cockpit - people who can memorise trivia without context rather than people who have actual subject matter knowledge and can apply principles and logic
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 16:51
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Question banks and rubbish questions killed off many "highly certified" people in the IT industry 10 years ago.

We went from people who knew their stuff to hiring people who didn't have a clue, but could memorise questions and come out with a certificate.

People made money training others on how to memorise these banks.

The manufacturers only solved the problem by bringing in the people that know their stuff to write the questions and update them regularly.

Sorry state of affairs to see the aviation industry in the same state. At least all we condended with is massive IT outages as the clueless called the clued up for help.
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Old 7th Jun 2019, 18:13
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Yep, that's when "Microsoft Engineers" turned up.... No idea how to make a floppy cable with a hammer and a bit of wood, and only familiar with one type of FDISK....
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Old 8th Jun 2019, 07:11
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Best summed up by my daughter who asked me while doing a practice paper for some help who ,10 minutes later said " you were no help at all as you couldn't answer many of the questions "
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Old 8th Jun 2019, 09:40
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Originally Posted by PlasticCabDriver View Post
Choose the least incorrect answer from the following options...
I was going to type something very similar but it's not only the UK/Europe where this happens.

I once narrowly failed the aircraft tech paper for a helicopter type rating in a foreign country. So did the people (Flying Training Manager and the Chief Engineer of our department) who had originally supplied the questions and answers to the authority! Something had obviously gone awry with the translation.

For example, one question I failed (and so did everyone else) was about generator failure. The "official" answer required by the exam was to switch off the generator switch, reset the generator and then switch the generator back on. However, there was no reset switch. Switching off the generator actually reset it. Other questions were similar. If you knew the aircraft, you would probably fail the exam. Most of us did. Once the "dodgy" questions had been re-written most of us passed with flying colours - except the Chief Engineer!
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Old 8th Jun 2019, 11:53
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Know your stuff, then question bank, question bank, question bank. After 20 plus years of flying elsewhere in the world I took my EASA exams 4 years ago; the question bank I used was invaluable. OK, it didn't give me all the answers by any stretch of the imagination but it did give me some. Equally as important, you actually learn subject matter from reading the question bank, and it gives you exceptional insight as to what type of complete and utter rubbish to expect.

At the time, in the UK the exams could only be taken at Gatwick, and all the exams were paper as it was right before they switched to the new format and started rigorously altering the questions and adding new ones. I'm sure the usefullness of the question banks will be somewhat diluted by now with all the new material so there is no longer a magic solution, however, for me the question bank was great assistance in more than one way, and money very well spent!
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Old 9th Jun 2019, 00:24
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Can anyone come up with a more ridiculous requirement than an examination on pressurisation for a ATPL(H). Was the case in Oz, perhaps still is.
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Old 12th Jun 2019, 11:53
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Great replies from everyone thanks. An interesting spectrum of comments. I am studying with a "well-known" provider in the United Kingdom.
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Old 12th Jun 2019, 21:57
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Of course some of the blame lies with the folk who set the rules, not the folk who write the exam. I wrote Bristow’s exam for the EC225 type rating but was constrained by Mr EASA’s rules. For example we had to have x number of questions on aircraft limitations. So we inevitably had to have some numbers for airframe, transmission, engine and system limits, even though the relevant point was only about the green, amber and red markings on the gauges (and who cares about the numbers!).
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