The 6P’s – How best to prepare for your exams

The 6P’s – How best to prepare for your exams

Capt. Picot-Watson has covered the basics of learning how to fly, this week we move onto something more theoretical- preparing for your exams.

As for the 6P’s … google it.

When learning to fly, we are often all consumed by wanting to be in the helicopter all the time. However, it is not just physical skills that will get you your licence. You need plenty of theoretical knowledge too! To qualify for you need to sit and pass nine multiple choice exams on topics such as Principles of Flight, Meteorology and Aircraft General Knowledge as well as an oral Radiotelephony test.

The nine subjects are all central to safe helicopter flight and all include information that will, with understanding help you to become a better pilot. However, some students see these exams as just a hurdle to jump over before actually getting their PPL so it’s important to understand the subject material, although it may seem extensive at times, rather than just memorising the question bank. During your skills test, you may be asked to explain some of these things in person!

So how best to prepare yourself for these exams?

There are many great books out there including the series of Air Pilot’s Manuals, Helicopter Aerodynamics Made Simple by Geoff Day, and Principles of Helicopter Flight by WJ Wagtendonk. These were books that helped me to get through my training and are useful for breaking down the information and testing your knowledge in sections along the way. Depending on how you learn, different techniques will work for you. Personally, I liked to use large posters and millions of post it notes stuck on my wall in an effort to remember everything! Quiz cards are also a useful tool, especially for subjects such as Air Law which are mainly factual, and online videos may help with some of the more complex topics.

For the most part though, as I mentioned in a previous post there is often no better replacement for an actual person. I would really recommend you take full advantage of your instructor(s), no matter how small of a query you feel have. If they don’t know the answer, they will at least be able to find out for you. This way you can hear it all explained in layman’s terms and really wrap your head around the knowledge, grilling them until you understand – remember the only question that is a stupid one, is the question you didn’t ask!

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