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Changes to pilot knowledge test cause low scores

March 14, 2011, 04:12 pm

Unannounced changes that the Federal Aviation Administration has made to the question bank that they use for written airmen tests has resulted in a spike in failing scores for those applying for certain pilot certificates, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Though the group states that they are not opposed to the changes the FAA made to the test bank, they are concerned that flight schools and independent trainers were not notified, making it difficult for them to adequately prepare students for the exam, the group says.

According to the AOPA, many students determine what to expect on test day by taking practice tests. However, given the unannounced changes, those tests are now outdated and are not providing sufficient preparation.

"Unannounced changes in evaluation standards accomplish nothing for learning; it only results in increased student failures, lost time, travel expense and an extra $140 [to] $150 paid by the students to retake the exam," the group said in a joined letter with the National Association of Flight Instructors.

The group is asking that the FAA revert back to questions used prior to the changes in test banks and allow retakes for those who failed the new test format.

Training is an essential aspect of flight safety. However, even pilots with extensive training should invest in pilot insurance, to provide for their families in the event of a fatal accident.  

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