Skip to content
Home » News » How to prepare for the private pilot written exam

How to prepare for the private pilot written exam

  • by

Planning and setting up a schedule

If you are a student enrolled in a distance learning course with a flying school to obtain your EASA private pilot license, planning and setting up a schedule for studying for the private pilot theoretical knowledge exam is crucial. Here are some steps to plan and execute your study schedule.

The PPL exam with Austro Control.

Understand the requirements.

Before setting up a study schedule, it’s essential to understand the theoretical knowledge requirements for the EASA private pilot license exam. The syllabus covers air law, aircraft general knowledge, flight performance and planning, human performance and limitations, meteorology, navigation, operational procedures, and principles of flight. Reviewing the learning objectives and outcomes can give you a better idea of the knowledge you need to acquire.

Check out this great link to PPL Syllabus and example questions our partner Aircademy offers. We use their question bank to train our students.

Choose your study materials.

Choosing reliable and up-to-date study materials is crucial when studying for the private pilot theoretical knowledge exam. Your distance learning course provider may provide you with study materials, but you can also find additional resources online or from aviation textbooks.

At Skypilot Academy, we have chosen to use the E-books from Padpilot. There are several learning materials providers out there, but we think they are the best for the moment. But you should not limit yourself to the books only. There are plenty of free resources on the web. Just search, and you will find it.

Padpilot recommends going through each subject twice, with the first read-through being faster and the second being more thorough while also working through all the examples. This approach would require approximately a hundred hours of study time.

This is how Padpilot calculates reading time.

  • Initial Read in Minutes (180 wpm) 18 hr 40 min
  • 2nd Read in Minutes (180 wpm/difficulty factor) 69 hr 45 min
  • Total 88:25 rounded up to 89 hours.
SubjectWord CountInitial ReadDifficulty Factor2nd Read
Maths and Physics19 0001062.1222
Air Law and Ops Procedures31 0001722.1362
Human Performance33 0001831.6293
Meteorology58 0003221.8580
VFR Communications8500471.361
Navigation and Radio Aids65 0003611.8650
Principles of Flight52 0002892578
Flight Planning and Performance41 0002281.6364
AGK1: Systems and Engines42 0002331.6373
AGK2: Instruments and Electrics38 0002111.6338
  18 hr 40 min 69 hr 45 min
Table showing suggested reading time for books.

But do not forget that this does not include solving the Padpilot progress tests and final exams. And in addition, you must add time for working with the Aircademy question bank.

Set realistic goals.

Setting realistic goals is essential to stay on track with your studies. Break down the syllabus into manageable chunks, and allocate sufficient time for each topic. Keep in mind that you’ll need to balance your study schedule with other commitments, such as work or flight training.

EASA suggests that distance learning courses should be based on students studying 15 hours per week

So let us consider how much time you should plan for the course. Take the calculated 89 hours and round it up to 100 hours to read the books. Then add another 100 hours to to do the progress test, final exam and the question bank. That makes 200 hours for the course.

Remember you are not ready for the written exam with the aviation authorities until you can do each question from the question bank in less than two minutes, the usual time allocated on the exam.

So 200 hours divided by 15 hours a week gives you approximately 14 weeks, rounded up. Or about 3.5 months. Add some slack to that, and you are looking at four months for the whole course.

We have rounded up the numbers in every step. So obviously, if you can dedicate considerably more time to studying, the course can be completed in less time.

Create a study schedule.

Once you have an understanding of the requirements, set realistic goals, and choose your study materials, it’s time to create a study schedule. You can use a planner or calendar to allocate specific times to study each topic. It’s important to schedule regular study breaks to avoid burnout.

Great tip is to use the free version of ChatGPT to make a schedule for you. Use the calculated reading times and make your own plan.

DayTime SlotActivity
Monday1800 – 2100Human Performance
Tuesday1800 – 2100Human Performance
Wednesday1800 – 2100Human Performance
Thursday1800 – 2100Progress test
Friday0900 – 1200Meteorology
Total15 hours
A typical schedule for studying

Review and adjust

It’s essential to regularly review your study schedule to assess your progress and make adjustments if necessary. If you find that you’re not meeting your goals, you may need to adjust your study schedule to allocate more time or change your study approach.


In summary, planning and executing a study schedule for the EASA private pilot theoretical knowledge exam requires careful planning, goal-setting, choosing reliable study materials, creating a schedule, and regularly reviewing and adjusting your progress. By following these steps, you’ll be better prepared to ace the exam and progress towards obtaining your private pilot license.

When it comes to doing the actual exam, read this entry.

And get notified everytime we publish a new blog post.

Theoretical knowledge course for the private pilot licence

Included in the course

  • Three years of access to the e-books via the Padpilot e-Reader
  • One-year access to online progress tests and final exam
  • One-year access to the examination question database from Aircademy
  • Instructor support throughout the course
  • Course completion certificate

Online Theoretical Knowledge Course for the EASA Private Pilot Licence

What is included in the course? Three years of access to the e-books via the Padpilot e-Reader When enrolled in the Skypilot Academy course, you receive three-year access to e-books…