How To Pass Your PPL Theory Exams


Learning how to chug away merrily through the sky is pretty fantastic when you are actually in the sky. But the party doesn’t end there – ground based excitement also abounds in your pilot training course. This article will be looking at how to pass these thrilling aviationally related papers of joy in the easiest manner, while also actually learning what they are talking about. That’s kind of important too.

Otherwise you'll be flying towards this scene. If you're into that kind of thing.

If you don't know your stuff, you could well be flying towards this scene. If you're into that whole weird Jesus thing.

You can read about what’s involved with the PPL exams in the PPL Theory information section. I have also already written about what skills you need to become a pilot too, so I will not bore you regurgitating that all over the place again here.

But how do you learn all that stuff? Read on!

Choosing the tools for your trade

First up, you are going to need to choose which set of books to learn from. There are two main camps: the Trevor Thom series of books, and the Jeremy Pratt books. Mr Thom and Mr Pratt unfortunately have not had an aviationally related theory fight to the death, so it has to be up to you which books you buy. I personally used Jeremy Pratt because there were more pretty pictures, and as you may have noticed, I do like my photoshops.

To emphasise this fact, I have created a picture of the flu swine - the REAL source of swine flu.

Here is a random photoshop of the flu swine - the REAL source of swine flu.

You will also need a few other trinkets to perform some of the more practical elements of the theory exams. This means flight computer, ruler, protractor, Southern VFR 1:500000 procurement too.

Now it is quite possible to pass you exams just using these books and accessories; the core of your plane theory arsenal. However, knowing that aviation is not the cheapest of endeavours, there are plenty of companies offering products to help you with your studying (as well as enabling them to douse themselves in cash). A few of these are mentioned below.

One of the handier items that are nice to own is the PPL confuser. In fact, I would nearly suggest this belongs in the required section up there. This book of practice exams was written by Nung Sornying, and most of it’s questions are remarkably similar to the questions you will get in the actual CAA test. How Nung Sornying managed to get a hold of the CAA questions, I am not sure.

I can only assume it was like this.

I can only assume it was like this.

The confuser also has little explanations to go along with the answers, so should help your education somewhat, although not as much as the Thom/Pratt books. It’s currently out of print, but I am sure there will be a few aviators eager to unwither their wallets a little on eBay.

Another product I recently came across are the David Cockburn books from Pooleys. These books condense and whittle everything down to about a 1/4 of the size of the larger textbooks and make good reading for the night before the exam as it covers all the main topics. They also make a nice addition to your flight bag when flying, as they do not cause as much chronic back pain when carrying them around as the other textbooks do.

There are also a number of flashy CD based programs for learning on your computer too, although these are obviously quite a lot more expensive. I personally have never used these, however the level of detail that the textbooks have is adequate for passing the exams – so the only real benefit I can see for these is that you get some gripping animation for your money. (And you can actually get some much cheaper aviationally related animation action by watching the profpilot video series!).

Where you can look forward to witnessing harrowing scenes such as this.

Where you can look forward to witnessing harrowing scenes such as this.

Lots of flight schools have evening classes that you can attend too, which are a good way to get to learn things without having to do any of this pesky reading.

How to study

Generally, a good way to learn things is to read a chapter, then go back and make brief notes on that chapter. Then do the questions on that chapter in the chapter’s section of the textbook. Then try and find questions relating to that chapter in the corresponding chapter in the confuser.


Once you have done that for the whole book, go back through all of the confuser questions for that subject and keep doing them until you get over 90% each time. You should then do fine in the exam.

One thing you should not do is just keep hacking away at the confuser without reading the books, like I have seen people do in the past. These exams are there for a reason, and you do need to know the stuff!

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2 Responses to “How To Pass Your PPL Theory Exams”

  1. Andres says:

    Thanks for the ionformation. I am on day two of training (just now getting into engines systems etc. And I find your whole website informative and entertaining (I’ve watched all of the vids on YouTube too!)

    I’m learning in California, training in a sirus 20 and reading the Jeppesen textbook — and using you for backup, so thanks and I hope you continue to post vids!

  2. profpilot says:

    Probably a wise decision not to use my videos (with their associated high concentration of cats per minute) as your primary source for knowledge, otherwise California would be at very serious risk of aerial bombardment. Glad you’re liking the site and vids. Good luck with your training!

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